BRANDON, MANITOBA--(Marketwire - Jan. 19, 2011) - On behalf of the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, Merv Tweed, Member of Parliament (Brandon–Souris), today announced funding for the Manitoba Métis Federation Southwest Region.

The funding will support bi-weekly Michif language classes for six communities in the Southwest region of Manitoba. The lessons will be taught by an elder, and lesson plans will be developed to incorporate prayers, family relationships, and greetings, as well as other daily activities.

"Our Government is committed to the preservation and revitalization of Aboriginal languages," said Minister Moore. "We demonstrate this through our support for projects by Aboriginal organizations that increase knowledge and use of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis languages."

"Communities are best positioned to develop the tools needed to take on the challenge of language transmission," said Mr. Tweed. "These language classes are an important means of showcasing the Michif language as a living language to communities in the Southwest region of the province, benefitting them today and for many generations to come."

"Our language, Michif, is in danger of being lost as a spoken language, and we have a need to bring it back to our communities," said Leah LaPlante, Vice-President, Manitoba Métis Federation Southwest Region. "Through a multi-generational approach to promote conversational Michif in the home, the Elders, keepers of our language, will have the opportunity to share their knowledge of Michif with our people. We are extremely pleased that the Government of Canada is funding this project, and we look forward to many positive results."

The Government of Canada has provided funding of $19,244 through the Aboriginal Languages Initiative (ALI) of the Department of Canadian Heritage's Aboriginal Peoples' Program. The objective of ALI is to encourage and support community-based language projects that contribute to the revitalization and preservation of Aboriginal languages and increase their use in community and family settings.

(This news release is available on the Internet at under Newsroom.)

Contact Information: Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
and Official Languages
Codie Taylor - Press Secretary
Canadian Heritage
Media Relations