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Iroquoian Languages

The Iroquoian languages are a subfamily of North American Indigenous languages. The Iroquoian languages are spoken in Canada and the United States, in a geographical area surrounding the coastlines of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Iroquoian languages are most commonly spoken in the regions of Southern Ontario and Quebec, as well as parts of the North-Eastern United States, primarily New York State (1).

A majority of the Iroquoian language family is comprised of endangered or highly endangered languages with low rates of fluency. In Canada, a total of 2,055 people reported speaking a mother tongue belonging to the Iroquoian language family in 2021. Further, only about 355 people in Canada speak an Iroquoian language as their mother tongue. Mohawk is the most spoken Iroquoian language and the only one to not be officially considered ‘endangered’, while Cayuga and Oneida have relatively low speaker populations (2).

Pre-European contact distribution of the Iroquoian languages (3).