Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today, Mr. Speaker, I'm going to fulfill a promise I made at the Dene Nahjo Forum while still on the campaign trail. In honour of Indigenous Languages Month, I would like to attempt to speak some of the language of my colleague from Monfwi. [Translation] Good morning. I am grateful to be here on this beautiful day to work with my colleagues for the betterment of the people of the Northwest Territories. [Translation ends] What I tried to say was: Good morning. I am grateful to be here on this this beautiful day to work with my colleagues for the betterment of the people of the Northwest Territories.
Today, I also wanted to represent the Indigenous people of the area in which I was born, the Sto:lo of southwestern B.C., so I wear a coat designed by Haida artist Dorothy Grant.
February is Indigenous Languages Month in the Northwest Territories. We are once again unique in that we are the only political region in Canada, which recognizes 11 official languages, nine of which are Indigenous: Chipewyan, Cree, Gwich'in, Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, North Slavey, South Slavey, and Tlicho.
Indigenous Languages Month is another opportunity for the Northwest Territories to celebrate our unique culture and heritage. It is important that we preserve and revitalize Indigenous languages through their use and education as well as implementing new technology to ensure these languages will survive for generations to come.
Between 1989 and 2014, the percentage of territorial residents aged 15 years and over who spoke their Indigenous language declined to 17.1 percent. Currently, that number stands at 38.5 percent speaking their traditional language, and while this increase is great news, there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure northern Indigenous languages are no longer at risk of endangerment. We must continue to support and fund language revitalization programs to increase the use of Indigenous languages by all of our residents.
One such program is ECE's recently launched Mentor-Apprentice Program, or MAP. The goal of MAP is to connect those wanting to learn an Indigenous language with a fluent Indigenous speaker for instruction. The MAP is recognized worldwide as a successful method of reviving endangered languages. This program provides over 100 hours of training for the apprentice and the mentor, and compensation is based on the completion of progress reports, incentivising both parties to be successful.
Another strategy we need to explore is the use of partnerships with established technological giants, such as Google Translate, to make use of existing services, platforms, and apps to ensure northern language is captured digitally in order to aid in its preservation. I will have questions for the Minister of ECE in this area at the appropriate time. Thank you.