First Peoples Week celebrated at Dawson College April 1-5 –

by ahnationtalk on April 10, 201965 Views

The Year of Indigenous Language proclaimed by the United Nations was one of the many topics explored during First Peoples Week at Dawson College April 1-5. “Language is the vessel that holds traditional knowledge,” said Kanentokon Hemlock during his talk entitled Language Revitalization and Decolonization on April 2. “When we lose a language, it is like watching a library burn down. It is not only the language, it is the culture, the vision, the knowledge and wealth of a people that is lost.”

Indigenous people urged the U.N. to declare the special year, Hemlock told about 100 students and teachers at Dawson. “We want to bring the world’s attention to the state of our indigenous languages,” he said.

Hemlock, who is currently working toward a master’s degree in Indigenous Language Revitalization at the University of Victoria, was part of a delegation of Mohawks from Kahnawake in 2016 that met with global experts in the field of Indigenous languages and urged the U.N. to declare the special year.

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