The Innu language was written by missionaries – Jesuits, among others – who wanted to learn how to speak the language. In the 1770s, Father La Brosse published a prayer book and a primer in Innu. The Jesuits’ way of writing was passed down to the Innu over a long period of time and influenced the modern Innu writing system.

Writing in Innu was standardized after a consultation process with speakers that began in the 1980s and ended in the 1990s. As a result, there now exists a standardized spelling system for the Innu language, which is official for all dialects and communities, with the exception of Mashteuiatsh in Lac-Saint-Jean.

Innu Writing System

The Innu language is written using the Roman alphabet. This writing system has been used by the Innu for a long time, as it was used for the publication of religious works, prayer books, religious chants, etc. It’s also the alphabet that was transmitted from family to family throughout many generations, before Innu children were taught in government public schools.