Gwichʼin is an Athabaskan language with about 400 speakers in parts of Canada, mainly in the Northwest Territories, were it has official status, and also in the Yukon Territory. There are a further 300 speakers in Alaska. Most speakers of Gwichʼin are elderly, though in a few communities, the language is used by all ages of people.
The Gwichʼin language has also been known as Loucheux, Kutchin and Tukudh.
Gwichʼin was first reduced to writing by Robert McDonald (1829-1913) a Church of England missionary, in the 1870s. His translations of the Bible, the Book of Common Prayer and a hymnal are still read by middle-aged and older people. Younger people are more familiar with the new spelling system, which was devised by Richard Mueller in the 1960s.
Zhik nànkak North America gwizhìt ìidàlii ts'at khainjii dì'haii gwà'àn tr'iinlii, chuuvee ts'ìivii dì' nàa'aii gwits'àt gwà'àn gwìidìch'in. Eneekaii kat gwizrih nekhwindòo haii t'àngiinch'uu ak'oh nànkak gwà'àn. Zhehk'oo gwiinchii gwats'at gwich'in ìidàlìi, aii t'at Athabaskans nakhwitr'àhnùu, jii gwizhìt nilii kat Aachin kat, Åaii Chìk kat, Han kat, ts'àt Dachantat Kat, gwàt nakhwiginjìk ts'àt yeenoo nits'òo tr'agwiindai' gwiintå'òh ihåak gwizrih gòonlih.
We are one of the most northerly aboriginal peoples on the North American continent, living at the northwestern limits of the boreal forest. Only the Inuit live further north. We are part of a larger family of Aboriginal people, known as Athabaskans, which include peoples such as the Slavey, Dogrib, Han and Tutchone, but our language and way of life is distinct.
Information about Gwichʼin
Gwichʼin Social and Cultural Institute
Ahtna, Apache (Western), Babine-Witsuwit'en, Chilcotin, Chipewyan, Deg Xinag, Dena’ina, Dane-zaa (Beaver), Eyak, Gwich'in, Hän, Hupa, Jicarilla, Kaska, Koyukon, Lipan Apache, Lower Tanana, Mescalero-Chiricahua, Navajo, North Slavey, Sekani, South Slavey, Tahltan, Tanacross, Tłı̨chǫ (Dogrib), Tolowa, Tsuut'ina (Sarcee), Tutchone, Upper Kuskokwim, Upper Tanana
Page last modified: 20.06.22
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