Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages

Country / Region


Name of Office

Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages


Name of Member

Dr. Ronald E. Ignace

Official Website



About the Member

Stsmél̓qen, Ronald E. Ignace, is a member of the Secwépemc Nation in Interior British Columbia. He was chief of the Skeetchestn Indian Band for more than 30 years. He served as Chairman of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, President of Secwépemc Cultural Education Society, Chairman of Ministerial Task Force on Aboriginal Languages and Cultures, and Co-Chair of the Assembly of First Nations’ Chiefs Committee on Languages where he played an instrumental role in the development of Bill C-91, the Indigenous Languages Act.

He completed his PhD in Anthropology, with a dissertation on Secwépemc oral history. He (co-) authored Secwépemc People, Land and Laws: Yerí7 re stsq̓ey̓s-kucw, a journey through 10,000 years of Secwépemc history.

Raised by his great-grandparents Sulyen and Edward Eneas, and despite being taken to Kamloops Indian Residential School for several years in his childhood, Ron is a fluent speaker of Secwepemctsín and has more than sixty years of practical experience in Secwépemc traditional skills on the land. With his wife Dr. Marianne Ignace, he was awarded the Governor General‘s Award for Innovation in 2019. He is the recipient of the 2024 Indspire Language Award.

About the Member's Office

With the passing of the Indigenous Languages Act in 2019 (the Act), the Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages (the Commission) is established as an independent entity to, among other things, help promote Indigenous languages and support of efforts of Indigenous peoples to reclaim, revitalize, maintain, and strengthen Indigenous languages.  Pursuant to the Act, on the recommendation of the Minister of Canadian Heritage, made after the Minister consults with a variety of Indigenous governments, Indigenous organizations, and other Indigenous governing bodies, the Governor in Council appoints a Commissioner of Indigenous Languages to hold office for a term not exceeding five years, subject to removal by the Governor in Council at any time for cause. The Commissioner and three Directors (representing the interests of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis) were appointed on June 13, 2021. The Commissioner and Directors took office on July 12, 2021.


Key Information on the Language Situation in this Country/Region