First Nation public libraries are an essential resource for communities to revitalize Indigenous languages through collections and programming. However, language revitalization efforts are often costly – specialized dictionaries, translation fees, programming materials, and external teachers are often expenses that go above and beyond the standard library budget. The following tabs include cost-effective programs and initiatives that all public libraries can implement on a tight budget. 

It’s essential to gather the following information during the planning phase:

  1. Determine regional dialect.
  2. Review existing external language programs and services.
  3. Identify local language experts.
  4. Re-evaluate how your library can participate in language initiatives.

Reevaluating your library’s contribution is essential because you do not want to duplicate existing services and initiatives, offer meaningless programs, or purchase irrelevant resource materials.

Researching and reevaluating your library’s language revitalization initiative may also lead to positive changes such as establishing meaningful partnerships, finding special funding opportunities, welcoming new patrons, establishing a new planning committee, or obtaining media coverage to highlight your library’s resources. 

After determining that your library is suited to offer Indigenous language revitalization programming, review the following factors to ensure your library is prepared to purchase the appropriate resource materials and deliver quality programming.

  1. Community Needs
    1. Will patrons be travelling from great distances to participate in the program?
    2. Is this the best time of the year to run a language program?
    3. Can your library offer online resources?
  2. Teaching Method
    1. How do library patrons want to engage with language revitalization?
    2. Will the information be available online?
    3. Will most participants be attending workshops at the library?
    4. Does this program require multiple partnerships?
  3. Time
    1. Will the program be weekly, monthly, or online?
    2. Are library staff prepared support the program?
  4. Library Resources
    1. How many funds and resources can be allocated to the project?
    2. Is there sufficient physical space to host workshops?
    3. Is the internet enough quality to run online language programs and resources?
    4. Are there enough computers for program participants?
  5. Budget
    1. Is the budget sufficient enough to hire language teachers (if required) and proper resources?

The following programs can be downloaded and used by patrons who prefer independent study. 

Colour Wheels and Clothespins 

This program outline was offered in the First Nation Public Library Week Activity Guide.




Anishinaabemowin Word Search prepared by Cliff Niganobe Mississauga First Nation

Chi-miigwetch to Mississauga First Nation for allowing us to use components of The Smoke Signal newsletter for this website. 

The following programs require a language speaker to be present. Speaking the language is an integral part of the learning process as participants will focus on pronunciation and will review the history of each word and sentence structure. 


This program outline was offered in the First Nation Public Library Week Activity Guide.




This program outline was offered in the First Nation Public Library Week Activity Guide.

First Nation communities have been collaborating with digital programmers to create mobile language apps. The following three apps can be downloaded onto Apple and Android cellphones. The website “Waking up Ojibwe” and the “Language Assessment Tool” are video and audio teaching lessons.

Speak Mohawk 

Mohawk Language App

Six Nations Polytechnic


Anishinaabemowin App ($11.00)

Wikwemikong Heritage Organization


Oji-Cree App

Deer Lake Oji-Cree

Waking Up Ojibwe

Rainy River District School Board

Language Assessment Tool

Ojibwe Cultural Foundation & Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute

The library can promote language revitalization resources and programs in a few simple ways: 

  1. Posters/Newsletters
  2. Social Media
  3. Word of Mouth

Tip: Creating clear and straightforward advertisements are most effective. Essential information is the program name, dates and time, location, and contact person. See the example below which also includes information about the library’s collection. 

The following translated documents were completed from the following dialect regions/communities:

  1. Anishinaabemowin
  • Dialect/Region: Manitoulin Island/Wiikwemkoong
  • Translator: Madeline Wemigwans, Anishinaabemowin Support Worker, Wiikwemkoong Heritage Organization
  1. Mohawk
  • Dialect/Region: Six Nations of the Grand River Territory
  • Translator: Nicole Bilodeau, Mohawk Language Instructor, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory

Translated Library Terms – Anishinaabemowin and Mohawk (Excel)

Translated Library Terms – Anishinaabemowin and Translated Library Terms – Anishinaabemowin and Mohawk (PDF)

Anishinaabemowin Poster – Common Terms

Anishinaabemowin Labels for Common Items

Anishinaabemowin Banners – Children’s Area, Reading Area, Archives | Our History, Electronic Resources, Librarian, New Books


Partnerships, large or small, add many benefits any project. Partnering groups are able to share resources, ideas, and cross-collaborate with different communities.

Partnerships come in many forms including:

  1. Reciprocal – “You do something for me, and I’ll do something for you.” 
  2. Financial – “We can pay for materials if you deliver programs on our behalf.”
  3. Knowledge Sharing – “You have the expertise and we have access to databases and collections.”
  4. Cultural Exchange – “We have members who are interested in participating in your program, and we can offer attendance fees.”

The challenges associated with partnerships could include one partner carrying a heavier workload, miscommunication, improper planning and execution, personal and professional disagreements.

Avoid difficulties and conflict by outlining each partner’s duties and obligations in an official partnership agreement.

Partnership agreements should list all partners involved, a detailed outline of the project objectives, timeline, budget, and detailed notes on each partner’s roles and responsibilities. 

The following list of grants will be updated periodically. Please click on the logo to access the grant portal for more information. 

Granting tips:

  • Read each organization’s Strategic Plan, Mission, Mandate, and Vision.
  • Find and outline synergies between the your library and the funding agency’s goals and objectives.
  • In some cases, partnering with other organizations makes for a stronger application. Most agencies prioritize applications with a large and diverse audience.
  • Use “buzzwords” like revitalization and collaboration. 

Deadlines vary for each program.

Last update: December 12, 2019