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Joint statement by Ministers St-Onge, Anandasangaree, Hajdu and Vandal on National Indigenous Languages Day

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by ahnationtalk on April 1, 202426 Views


From: Canadian Heritage

March 31, 2024

The Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Canadian Heritage; the Honourable Gary Anandasangaree, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations; the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario, the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, released the following statement:

National Indigenous Languages Day is an opportunity to honour the rich linguistic heritage of First Nations, Inuit and Métis across Canada. This day is a profound reminder of the importance of Indigenous languages and the critical role they play in preserving the history, culture and identity of Indigenous communities.

Indigenous languages are the living expression of a people’s connection to their ancestors, their land and their way of life. They encapsulate the wisdom of generations and are central to the social fabric of Indigenous communities. Despite the challenges these languages have faced—stemming from historical government policies, residential schools and ongoing systemic barriers—they continue to be a source of strength and renewal for Indigenous Peoples.

Over the past year, we have witnessed remarkable initiatives aimed at the reclamation, revitalization, maintenance and strengthening of Indigenous languages across the country. As part of the implementation of the Indigenous Languages Act, the government has launched new funding models developed by First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners to provide long-term agreements, greater Indigenous control over funding decision making and better responsiveness to their distinct needs.

Consistently, we see examples of First Nations, Inuit and Métis revitalizing and championing the resilience of their languages:

  • Makivvik is undertaking a five-year plan to support strategies to develop and implement programs and services for Nunavik Inuit. As part of this project, Makivvik will fund the Avataq Cultural Institute to establish and operate an Inuktitut Language Authority, a central institution for implementing Illirijavut’s report on the state of Inuktitut in Nunavik.
  • The Métis Nation Saskatchewan government is undertaking a five-year work plan to carry out Saskatchewan Métis languages priorities, strategies and activities, such as establishing a comprehensive path for the protection and revitalization of the Michif language and increasing access and recognition of Michif in public services.
  • The First Peoples’ Cultural Council of British Columbia planned and hosted a Language Revitalization Summer Institute in Victoria in August 2023. The two-week event aimed to increase First Nations capacity in language revitalization. Further, this project supported FPCC in developing a multi-language app, rebuild a First Nations languages keyboard, and digitize language materials. As a result, First Nations communities in British Columbia will have greater access to tools and resources that will support their language learning.

The national crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse people is ongoing and systemic. To put this crisis to an end, we have to address the root causes and support language and cultural revitalization. Community efforts to strengthen cultural spaces for learning language is a key component of breaking the cycle of violence and supporting healing.

As we move forward, our focus remains on deepening partnerships with Indigenous Peoples to ensure that their languages are reclaimed, revitalized, strengthened and maintained. The path ahead is one of shared commitment and action, dedicated to enriching the linguistic landscape of our nation. Through collective efforts and sustained support, we aim to celebrate the vibrancy and resilience of Indigenous languages as living expressions of culture, identity and belonging.

Let us all recommit to learning from and with First Nations, Inuit and Métis by supporting the revitalization of Indigenous languages.

Contacts

For more information (media only), please contact:

Ariane Joazard-Bélizaire
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
ariane.joazard-belizaire@pch.gc.ca

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage
1-819-994-9101
1-866-569-6155
media@pch.gc.ca

NT6

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