Language Studies – Objectives

1. To preserve a permanent record and understanding of the Heiltsuk language by:

  • developing a practical orthography (alphabet) for writing down the Heiltsuk language;
  • recording and analyzing words in order to produce comprehensive word lists, bi-lingual dictionaries, and taxonomies;
  • analyzing and identifying the basic structure of the Heiltsuk language;
  • recording an extensive body of oral traditions, narratives, and discourses, and transcribing these into English.

2. To assist the understanding and interpretation of Heiltsuk culture through linguistic analysis of information recorded or transmitted in Heiltsuk.

3. To promote and assist in the development of Heiltsuk language instruction programs.

Heiltsuk is a member of the NORTH WAKASHAN family of languages.

Currently, the Heiltsuk language is being taught in classes from Elementary School up to the eighth grade level in the Bella Bella Community School. The Heiltsuk Cultural Education Centre collaborates with Bella Bella Community School’s Heiltsuk language program.

The Heiltsuk language is far more complicated than the English language in that the Heiltsuk language has 60 base sounds compared to the English languages 26 base sounds. Special characters have been designed based on the English alphabet to render sounds that don’t occur in English.

Our alphabet can be rendered using a unicode keyboard. You can download this The Heiltsuk Language Unicode Keyboard below. Please click the link below to download the font installer. Download and installation instructions can be found by clicking on the link below.


Below are the keystroke instructions for typing the special characters needed to type the words of the Heilstuk language.