Naskapi

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A language of Canada

Alternate Names
Innu Aimun, Iyuw Iyimuuun
Population

620 (2011 census). 800 Western Naskapi, 500 Eastern Naskapi (Golla 2007).

Location

Quebec and Labrador. 2 communities. Kawawachikamach about 10 km northeast of Schefferville in northeastern Quebec at watershed. On December 15, 2002 most of the Mushuau Innu moved from Utshimassits (Davis Inlet) to Natuashish on the mainland, an isolated community in Labrador.

Language Maps
Language Status

5 (Developing).

Dialects

Eastern Naskapi (Natuashish), Western Naskapi (Kawawachikamach).

Language Use

Vigorous in both dialects. Slowly shifting to English. All ages. Most also use English [eng]. Some Western dialect speakers also use French [fra], Montagnais [moe]. Eastern dialect speakers use the Montagnais Roman orthography (Golla 2007).

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: Western Naskapi: 1%–5%. Literacy rate in L2: 50%. Ongoing community language program in Western Naskapi. Syllabic orthography taught in Grade 2 in Western Naskapi. Eastern Naskapi is taught as a subject at school (2007). Taught in primary schools. Dictionary. Grammar. NT: 2007.
Writing
Latin script. Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script.
Other Comments

Naskapi culture was nomadic and completely dependent on the migratory habits of caribou. Caribou hunting and land use still seen as important. Innu Aimun refers to both Eastern Naskapi dialect and Montagnais [moe] but not Western Naskapi. Some linguists have referred to dialect spoken at Natuashish as Eastern Naskapi but currently refer to it as Innu Aimun or Mushuau Innu Aimun.