Language has been identified as a marker of collective identity and how culture is maintained and revitalized. Indigenous language fluency (ILF) has also been associated with lower youth suicide and improved physical health outcomes. This research uses mixed methods to explore the relationship between ILF and wellness among Indigenous people living in Canada. Key informant interviews with Indigenous language learners were conducted to identify connections between language learning, wellness and strengthening Indigenous self-identity. Causal inference with regression modelling was used to estimate the magnitudes of effects of ILF on outcomes of wellness and suicidality. Analysis shows Indigenous languages strengthen speakers and learners sense of emotional, mental, and spiritual wellness. This research demonstrates the significance of Indigenous languages to wellness of Indigenous peoples.
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Thesis advisor: Venners, Scott
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