As we look ahead to National Indigenous Peoples Day, guest host Prof. Veldon Coburn speaks with Prof. Frank Deer, Canada Research Chair and associate dean of Indigenous Education at the University of Manitoba to tackle the issue of disappearing Indigenous languages and delve into how much more needs to be done to revitalize them and why doing so is critical.
Language, if we are not thinking about it, can be just a way to get from place A to B, a way to order lunch or a way to pass an exam.
But language is much more than a way to communicate with words. This is especially true if you have had your language forcibly removed from you, like the thousands of Indigenous children who survived Canada’s colonial assimilation project.
Languages hold within them philosophies, worldviews, culture and identity.
Language also has a lot to do with our relationships — how we relate to other people, to our families, to our ancestors and to the natural environment.
These are precisely the aspects of Indigenous life that the Indian Residential School system was designed to destroy.
Last year, the United Nations acknowledged the importance of Indigenous languages by declaring the decade ahead to be the International Decade of Indigenous Languages.
But long before the UN declaration, First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples have been pushing to revitalize more than 70 Indigenous languages across Canada.
In 2019, the Indigenous Languages Act was passed by the government of Canada.
Still, progress — and redress — have been slow to come.
In this special episode of Don’t Call Me Resilient, Guest Host, Prof. Veldon Coburn speaks with Prof. Frank Deer, Canada Research Chair and associate dean of Indigenous Education at the University of Manitoba. They tackle the issue of disappearing Indigenous languages and delve into how much more needs to be done to revitalize them and why doing so is critical.
This week’s episode was produced in collaboration with IndigiNews
Thank you to Eden Fineday, publisher at IndigiNews, and Susannah Schmidt, education and arts editor at the Conversation Canada who contributed to this episode
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