Celebrating Dr. Ron Ignace, Appointed Indigenous Languages Commissioner

June 15, 2021

The Linguistics Department at SFU offers our congratulations and celebrate the appointment of Dr. Ron Ignace as the first Commissioner of Indigenous Languages.

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, has announced the first appointees to the new Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages:

Ronald E. Ignace, Commissioner
Robert Watt, Director
Georgina Liberty, Director
Joan Greyeyes, Director

"Le7 pyin te sitq̓t te swumécwilcstem re qweqwelténs re xwexwéyt te qelmúcw wel me7 yews. Ta7 me7 scú7tsems re snecwentém re qweqweltén-kt re sts̓eléwt.s ne swet.s k smenmenúl̓ecws ne7élye ne tmicw-kt. Tikwemtús me7 sucwentwécwmentem re qweqweltén-kt."

"We celebrate this day where we breathe new life into all of our Indigenous languages for the future. Our languages will no longer stand in the shadow of other languages here in our land. Let us always honour our Indigenous languages." 

—Ron Ignace, Commissioner

The Commissioner and Directors were selected for their knowledge and understanding of Indigenous communities, cultures and languages, including an understanding of language vitality and endangerment, and for their ability to represent the interests of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. They have unique strengths that will serve the interests, current needs and future direction of the OCIL. Collectively, their knowledge, expertise and leadership will facilitate better outcomes for Indigenous languages. Please see the full press release here.

Ron Ignace has published and co-published, with Marianne Ignace, several articles and book chapters on Secwepemc history, ethnobotany, language and culture, and co-wrote the epic Secwepemc People, Land and Laws: Yeri7 re stsq’ey’s-kucw (McGill-Queens University Press 2017), a journey through 10,000 years of Secwepemc history. Having been raised by his great-grandparents, Ron is a fluent speaker of Secwepemctsin and has more than sixty years of practical experience in Secwepemc traditional food gathering, having learned these skills from his own elders, who shared their stories and teachings in the Secwepemc language with him.

Ignace is Adjunct Professor in Anthropology at SFU and has taught in SFU’s Indigenous Languages Program. He and SFU Linguistics Professor Marianne Ignace have been awarded a Governor General Innovation Award for their decades of collaborative research involving Indigenous people and communities.

For more, please see Federal government appoints Ron Ignace as first Commissioner of Indigenous Languages - Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences - Simon Fraser University (sfu.ca)


Listen online to CBC Radio 1 The Current looks at The role of Language in Reconciliation with an interview with newly appointed Commisioner Ron Ignace, June 16, 2021
See timestamp 22:31

Explore the First Peoples' Map of BC  British Columbia is home to 204 First Nations communities and a diversity of Indigenous languages.  Discover all the First Nations languages and communities in B.C.