Appreciating Canadian languages
The Canadian Language Museum was established in 2011 to promote an appreciation of all of the languages used in Canada and of their role in the development of this nation. The Museum is located on the Glendon College campus of York University in Toronto. Our exhibits have been displayed from coast to coast to coast!
Language is central to the cultural identity of every Canadian and has been integral in shaping Canada’s development. Few countries can match Canada’s rich and varied language heritage, which includes the official languages of French and English and their regional dialects, Indigenous languages from coast to coast, and the many languages brought to this country by more recent immigrants.
The Canadian Language Museum is committed to:
- promoting an appreciation of all the languages spoken in Canada and of their role in this nation’s development
- sharing information about our constantly changing linguistic landscape
- raising awareness about Indigenous languages and participating in Reconciliation
- facilitating dialogue on fundamental language issues at the heart of our society, such as bilingualism, multilingualism, language endangerment, preservation, and revitalization.
Elaine Gold initiated the founding of the Canadian Language Museum and oversees its operations. She brings to her work at the CLM a PhD in Linguistics, an MA in Art History and strong experience in arts administration and curatorial work. Dr. Gold taught Linguistics at the University of Toronto for over 20 years. She has lived in central, western and northern Canada, and is dedicated to promoting and protecting this country’s rich language heritage. She is the recipient of the 2019 National Achievement Award from the Canadian Linguistic Association and received a Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Award in 2023 for her work with the Canadian Language Museum.
Associate Curator, Exhibits and Digital Outreach
Jocelyn Kent has a Master of Museum Studies degree from the University of Toronto. She brings exhibition development experience from a range of museums, including previous work for the CLM as a student curator. She also works at Fort York National Historic Site and is the former Chair of ACO NextGen’s group for students and emerging heritage professionals. She is proud to share CLM’s exhibits with peoples across Canada.
Stephanie Pile brings skills in linguistics, archiving and museum administration. She has an MA in Linguistics from Memorial University and is working as the First Nations Language Digital Archivist at the Woodland Cultural Centre. She is a board member of the Paris Museum and Historical Society and has worked as an archivist for the Six Nations Polytechnic – Deyohahá:ge: Indigenous Knowledge Centre. Stephanie is passionate about language revitalization and intangible cultural heritage, and is honoured to be part of the Canadian Language Museum.
Eshe Mercer-James has a doctorate in English; her dissertation looked at Black women writers’ language use in novels centered around a Black woman protagonist. Eshe is excited to further explore her language interests and contribute to the Museum’s mission of advocacy and promotion of Canada’s many languages.
Touring Exhibitions Programs Coordinator
Oana Tanase is an independent curator and art writer. She has a doctorate in Art History and Theory, and is a member of AICA – International Association of Arts Critics, Canada. She holds a Certificate in Records and Information Management (University of Toronto) and is thrilled to support the Museum’s mission in connecting with institutions, community members, and audiences to create meaningful touring programs year-round.
Adrian Kawula has joined the CLM as an Administrative Assistant to the Travelling Exhibits program. Adrian recently completed his MA in History at the University of Guelph and hopes to go back one day for his PhD.
Jodee Santos has joined us to help with digital outreach and the museum’s library. She has a degree in Linguistics from the University of Toronto, and hopes to pursue further studies in the field in the future.
Tomson Highway was born in a snow bank on the Manitoba/Nunavut border to a family of nomadic caribou hunters. He had the great privilege of growing up in two languages, neither of which was French or English; they were Cree, his mother tongue, and Dene, the language of the neighbouring “nation,” a people with whom they roamed and hunted. Today, he enjoys an international career as playwright, novelist, and pianist/songwriter.
Board of Directors 2022-2023
Lyse Hébert is an Associate Professor in the School of Translation at Glendon College, where she teaches translation practice and theory at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She holds an M.A. in Translation and a PhD in Humanities from York. Her most recent research focuses on the translation of (post)colonial scholarly and literary works between French, English and Spanish. She practiced as a professional translator for over 20 years, both in the public sector and as co-owner of a private translation firm.
Michael Barrie is a linguist at Sogang University in Seoul, South Korea. He completed his M.A. at the University of Manitoba on Portuguese pronominal clitics and his PhD at the University of Toronto on noun incorporation in Oneida. His language interests are diverse and include Iroquoian and Algonquian languages, Portuguese, Cantonese, English and Korean.
Ian Martin is Associate Professor in the Department of English at Glendon College. He has been a keen supporter of the Museum since its first year and was instrumental in securing the Glendon Gallery location for the museum. Professor Martin is very active in promoting the rights of Indigenous languages in Canada. He recently organized an outstanding colloquium at Glendon on the “Indigenous Language Policy Implications of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission”.
Mary Jane Norris
Mary Jane Norris is an independent researcher specializing in the areas of Aboriginal demography, and the demographics and mapping of Indigenous languages in Canada. She is an off-reserve member of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan, in the Ottawa Valley, and resides in Chelsea, Quebec. She received her B.A. Honours and Masters in Sociology from Carleton University.
She has been a member of the Foundation for Endangered Languages (FEL) since 2003 and a co-founding board member of FEL Canada. She also served as the contributor for Canada in the third edition of the UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger.
Jeela Palluq-Cloutier is a teacher, author, role model, and mentor with a lifelong passion for languages. She has a M.Ed. from Prince Edward Island University and wrote her thesis on the history of writing systems and the views of Nunavut educators on the standardization of the Inuit language. She has translated over 11 000 words into Inuktitut words for social media, a significant part of making Facebook accessible in Inuktitut; and for her foundational work won the Canada’s Premiers 18th annual Council of the Federation Literacy Award in 2022. She has several children’s books in the Nunavummi Reading Series on the people, traditions, and geography of the Canadian North.
Shelley Tulloch is a Professor and Chair of Anthropology at the University of Winnipeg, and co-coordinator of the Indigenous Languages thematic major. She has a PhD in Linguistics from Université Laval. She has conducted community-partnered research with Inuit communities for twenty years, focusing on language revitalization, youth, leadership, and bilingual education. Her current research focuses on professional learning for Indigenous language teachers.
Lorna Wánosts’a7 Williams is Professor Emerita of Indigenous Education, Curriculum, and Instruction at the University of Victoria. She was instrumental in opening the second First Nations controlled school in Canada, Mount Currie’s band-controlled school, which taught in both English and Lil’wat. From this, she helped develop a writing system for Lil’wat, and co-authored its first curriculum and learning resources for teachers. At the University of Victoria, she led the development of degrees in Indigenous Language Revitalization, and in Counseling in Indigenous Communities. She also led the development of a mandatory course in Indigenous Education for all teacher education students in BC. In 1993, she was inducted into the Order of British Columbia; and in 2019, she was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada in recognition of her contributions to Indigenous education and language revitalization.