Literacy in Athapaskan Languages in the Northwest Territories, Canada
For What Purposes?
Data on fluency and literacy in Athapaskan (Dene) languages in the Northwest Territories of Canada are reviewed here, with discussion of recent policy decisions regarding implied or explicit roles of Dene literacy and the forms they might take. Emphasis is placed on evidence of trends in Dene literacy development; special attention is given to the extent to which new roles for literacy are created, and to the extent to which literacy conforms to patterns consistent with oral language use. The context is the legitimacy of Dene cultures, languages, social practices, and economic and political power in the face of Euro-Canadian pressures.