Cree Language and Dialects


Cree is the most widely spoken native language in Canada, Cree speakers forming an unbroken chain of dialects stretching across a vast area from Labrador to western British Columbia. As a member of the family of Algonquian languages, Cree is related to other Algonquian languages such as Ojibwa, Micmac, etc.


We speak a branch of Cree referred to by linguists as East Cree or Montagnais, which we share with our Innu (Montagnais and Naskapi) brothers and sisters in eastern Quebec and Labrador. Within Iiyiyuuschii, we distinguish two major dialects: the “northern dialect,” spoken in the northern and coastal communities (Whapmagoostui, Chisasibi, Wemindji, Eastmain and Waskaganish); and the “southern dialect,” which is spoken inland and in the more southerly communities (Nemaska, Waswanipi, Oujé-Bougoumou and Mistissini).