The Algonquian language family is one of the most widespread in North America, ranging from the East Coast of both Canada and the United States far to the west. However, Algonquian languages only marginally belong in British Columbia. The only Algonquian language with a significant number of speakers in British Columbia is Cree, which is a recent arrival. The movement of Cree speakers into north-eastern British Columbia represents the farthest expansion of Cree across the prairies.

The other Algonquian language spoken in British Columbia is Saulteau. The Saulteau homeland is far to the East of British Columbia. In the 1870s one band of Saulteau migrated westward, following their leader's vision. They ended up around Moberly Lake, where they gradually merged with the Cree and Beaver people already there. Today only a few elders speak Saulteau.

Two languages of Northwestern California, Wiyot and Yurok, are distantly related to Algonquian. The family as a whole is known as the Algic language family. Wiyot and Yurok are sometimes grouped together into a subgroup known as Ritwan, but it is controversial whether they in fact form a subgroup. Wiyot is esleeping; Yurok is still spoken by a small number of people.

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