Barren Ground adds Indigenous languages to coffee labels

A detail from Barren Ground Coffee's multilingual packaging, provided by the company
A detail from Barren Ground Coffee's multilingual packaging, provided by the company.

Barren Ground Coffee says it’s adding Indigenous languages to its packaging as it expands into Nunavut.

In a news release on Thursday, the Yellowknife-based company said it treated language rules for trading outside the NWT as an opportunity to include Inuktitut and Tłı̨chǫ labelling on its products.

“The company must adhere to federal food regulations that include bilingual labelling if it wishes to retail outside of the NWT,” the news release stated. While adding French labels, the company decided to select and accommodate two Indigenous languages at the same time.

“As we hope to soon be retailing in Nunavut, we wanted to feature Inuktitut on our packaging,” said Eric Binion, co-founder of Barren Ground Coffee, in the news release.



“In addition, there are over 2,000 people who speak Tłı̨chǫ in the NWT, and NWT Community Survey data shows that number is increasing. We took note of that.

“Ideally we would have all 11 NWT official languages, but for now we are limited to a small label space on our hand-stamped bags.”

Binion added: “As a northern business, we will do what we can to make local languages visible.”

The company says it hired local translators and artist Andrew Hall to create the labelling.

Barren Ground hopes to begin retailing its coffee in Kugluktuk, Cambridge Bay, Rankin Inlet, Iqaluit, and Baker Lake by early 2019.