Native American language * Indian books * What's new on our site today!

  * Find Native American ancestors in your family tree

Most Common Native American Languages of the US and Canada
(by number of speakers today)

This chart lists the fifteen Native American languages of Canada and the United States which have the most native speakers. Note that this is only a chart of Native American/First Nations languages, not ALL languages spoken in these two countries. Among all languages, the top three languages spoken in the US and Canada are English (with 235 million speakers,) Spanish (with 28 million speakers,) and French (with 8 million speakers.) Other non-indigenous languages spoken by more than a million people in the US and Canada include the Chinese languages, German, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Italian, Korean, Arabic, Russian, and Polish.

Also, be aware that in some of these cases, a "language" may actually include several related, but not identical, languages. For example, Inuit people in Alaska and Quebec really can not understand each other (although both of them may easily understand an intermediate form of their language.) We have included them together here for convenience's sake, since the different forms of these languages are not listed separately on the US or Canadian census. A good source for demographic information about individual languages, sublanguages and dialects is the Ethnologue of Languages.

Most Popular Native American Languages of the US and Canada

Language name Country/region spoken Approximate number of speakers
1. Navajo Southwestern US 150,000
2. Cree Canada 70,000
3. Inuit languages Arctic region 65,000
4. Ojibwe Canada and the northern US 50,000
5. Sioux (Dakota and Lakota) Great Plains 26,000
6. Cherokee Oklahoma and the US Southeast 22,000
7. Yup'ik Alaska 17,000
8. Apache Southwestern US 12,000
9. Choctaw Oklahoma and the US Southeast 11,000
10. Keres New Mexico 11,000
11. Innu Eastern Canada 11,000
12. Dene Western Canada 10,000
13. Tohono O'odham Arizona 10,000
13. Mi'kmaq Eastern Canada and Maine 8,000
14. Zuni New Mexico 7,000
15. Hopi Arizona 5,000




Back to the list of most common Native American languages
Learn more about Native American cultures and tribes



Native genealogy * Native American Indian art * Tribal tattoo designs

Would you like to help support our organization's work with endangered American Indian languages?

or buy some books through this link:

Native Languages of the Americas website 1998-2012 * Contacts and FAQ page