Lii Michif: The Michif Language
The Michif language, an endangered Métis language born in the early 1800s, is rapidly disappearing. Michif developed during the early 1800s along the Red River in what is now Manitoba and North Dakota, the Michif language is a distinct language that is a mix of Cree, Ojibwe and French that emerged as a unique cultural/linguistic expression of the Métis people.
After over a century of persecution, residential schools, poverty and assimilation, the Michif language has been largely forgotten by the descendants of the original speakers. It is estimated that there are currently only about 1,100 people in Canada who can speak Michif, and about 500 in the United States (mostly at Turtle Mountain).
Michif is spoken in all three Prairie provinces, and into Montana and North Dakota. Michif-speaking communities include those in central and southeastern Saskatchewan (from the Battlefords north to Debden and southeast towards Yorkton and into Qu’Appelle), southern and central Manitoba (St-Lazare, Camperville and Duck Bay), and northern North Dakota, where, in the Turtle Mountains, the language is known as “Turtle Mountain Chippewa-Cree.”
A Conversation in Michif
Michif Language Links