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Language Family: Language Isolate

Language known as: Kootenay, Kootenai

The Ktunaxa A people have lived on the lands adjacent to the Columbia and Kootenay Rivers and the Arrow Lakes of British Columbia for more than 10,000 years. Their traditional territory extends approximately 70,000 square kilometres within the Kootenay region of BC (southeastern corner) and also included areas in Alberta, Montana, Washington and Idaho. The Ktunaxa people travelled within the territory according to the seasons and availablity of food.

When the Europeans settled in the Kootenay region, around the 1800s, the Indian Reserves were created and lead to the present Indian Bands. There are seven bands within the nation that can be found in the traditional territory.

Five of the bands are found in British Columbia and two are located in the United States.1

State of the Language

First Nation Population Fluent Speakers Understand or Speak Somewhat Learning Speakers
ʔakink̓umǂasnuqǂiʔit (Tobacco Plains Band)2199103850
ʔakisq̓nuk First Nation3258908
ʔaq̓am (St. Mary's Band)451342094
yaqan nuʔkiy (Lower Kootenay)523644450
Footnotes / References
1. unknown (n.d.). About the Ktunaxa People.
2. Language Data from Tobacco Plains Indian Band (2014), Language Needs Assessment #3457
3. Language Data from St Mary's Indian Band (2009), Language Needs Assessment #1188
4. Language Data from St Mary's Indian Band (2014), Language Needs Assessment #2628
5. Language Data from Lower Kootenay Band (2014), Language Needs Assessment #3459

Audio Clip References
A. Ktunaxa - Gravelle, Liz (n.d.). Ktunaxa Archive.