Cree, Plains


A language of Canada

Alternate Names
Cri des plaines, Nehiyaw, Western Cree
Nēhiyawēwin, ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ‎ (nēhiyawēwin)

3,070 in Canada (2016 census). Total users in all countries: 3,170.


North central Manitoba, scattered west across Saskatchewan and central Alberta to the foot of the Rocky Mountains; isolated enclave in British Columbia.

Language Status

5 (Developing). Statutory language of provincial identity in NWT (1988, NWT Official Languages Act, Chapter 56 (Supplemented), Section 4), restricted official use. Language of recognized indigenous peoples: Ahtahkakoop, Alexander, Beardy’s and Okemasis, Big Island Lake Cree, Big River, Bigstone Cree, Blueberry River, Canoe Lake Cree, Chiniki, Driftpile Cree, Enoch Cree, Ermineskin Tribe, Flying Dust, Fort Nelson, Frog Lake, George Gordon, James Smith, Kahkewistahaw, Kawacatoose, Kehewin Cree, Little Pine, Little Red River Cree, Loon River Cree, Louis Bull, Lubicon Lake, Lucky Man, Makwa Sahgaiehcan, Mikisew Cree, Ministikwan Lake Cree, Mistawasis Nêhiyawak, Montana, Moosomin, Muskeg Lake Cree, Muskoday, Ochapowace, Okanese, One Arrow, Onion Lake Cree, Pasqua, Paul, Peepeekisis Cree, Pelican Lake, Pheasant Rump Nakota, Piapot, Poundmaker, Red Pheasant, Saddle Lake Cree, Samson, Sapotaweyak Cree, Saulteau, Sawridge, Stoney, Star Blanket Cree, Sturgeon Lake, Sunchild, Sweetgrass, Tallcree Tribal Government, Thunderchild, Waterhen Lake, Wesley, White Bear, Whitefish Lake, Witchekan Lake.


Plains Cree, Western York Cree, Northern Alberta Cree. Nonpalatalized y-dialect within Cree-Montagnais-Naskapi language complex or dialect subgroup. A member of macrolanguage Cree [cre].

Language Use

Vigorous in many communities mainly in the north. Used by all. Also use English [eng]. Used as L2 by Blackfoot [bla].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L1: 1%–5%. Literacy rate in L2: 50%–75%. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 1861–1908.


Latin script [Latn]. Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script [Cans], uses western finals, dot after, primary usage.

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