Cree, Woods


A language of Canada

Alternate Names
Cri des bois
Nīhithawīwin, ᓀᐦᐃᖬᐍᐏᐣ‎ (nīhithawīwin)

1,840 (2016 census). Ethnic population: 53,000 (1982 SIL).


Far north Manitoba into Saskatchewan, inland southwest from Churchill.

Language Status

6b* (Threatened). Language of recognized indigenous peoples: Barren Lands, Beaver Lake Cree, Bunibonibee Cree, Chemawawin Cree, Cross Lake Band of Indians, Duncan’s, Fort McKay, Fort McMurray, Lac La Ronge, Montreal Lake, Nisichawayasihk Cree, O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree, Peerless Trout, Peter Ballantyne Cree, Red Earth, Shoal Lake Cree, Sturgeon Lake Cree, Sucker Creek, Swan River, Woodland Cree.


Nonpalatalized th-dialect within Cree-Montagnais-Naskapi language complex or dialect subgroup. A member of macrolanguage Cree [cre].

Language Use

Also use English [eng].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L1: 1%–5%. Literacy rate in L2: 50%–75%.


Latin script [Latn]. Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script [Cans], uses western finals.

Other Comments

Use of Roman orthography has been gaining ground at the expense of the older syllabic system, due to university language and teacher education programs (Golla 2007).

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