In 2014, the GNWT has established the Indigenous Languages and Education Secretariat (ILES) within the Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) to enhance the protection, revitalization and strengthening of Indigenous languages throughout the NWT.
ILES primary responsibilities include:
- Oversee the NWT Indigenous Languages Framework (2017)and Action Plan (2018 to 2022), a four year plan that provides the blueprint for Indigenous language revitalization and access in the NWT.
- Administer the multi-year Canada-NWT Cooperation Agreement for Indigenous Languages. The agreement transfers funds directly to Regional Indigenous Governments to lead and manage their own regional language plans, while sustaining training and professional development activities, community broadcasting, and other language-related initiatives.
- Implement the Indigenous Languages and Education (ILE) Policy that ensures education bodies welcome all students within learning environments that centre, respect, and promote the Indigenous worldviews, cultures, and languages of the community in which the school is located with 5 distinct categories of funding: Regional Indigenous Languages and Education (RILE) Coordinator, Indigenous education (O&M), Indigenous language instructors (PYs), TLCs (Our Languages resource development), and Community Support.
- Provide Indigenous Languages and Education Handbook workshops - a user friendly teachers’ guide, which operationalizes the ILE Policy for culture based education and whole school approaches to language learning; and deliver the Our Languages Curriculum - a competency based curriculum that provides NWT Indigenous language instructors with the curricular outcomes, instructional strategies and assessment tools to foster language growth in NWT core Indigenous language classrooms with five language learning levels: emergent, beginning, intermediate, advanced, and capable.
- Provide administration support to two legislated boards to promote, enhance, maintain, and revitalize the NWT official languages – Official Language Board and Aboriginal Languages Revitalization Board.
- Compile the Official Languages Annual Report.
- Observe Indigenous Languages Month every February and other ECE promotional activities that celebrate Indigenous languages in media, homes, schools, and communities.
- Organize and host the Indigenous Languages and Education Symposium, a quadrennial gathering of Indigenous to celebrate Indigenous languages and education in the NWT (Most recent gathering in 2019 – next gathering in 2023)