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Importance of indigenous languages for development, peace and reconciliation

Importance of indigenous languages for development, peace and reconciliation

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 02 Feb 2019, 07:12 pm

Ottawa, Feb 2 (IBNS): The International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL) is a United Nations (UN) observance in 2019 with an aim to raise awareness of the result of the global endangerment of indigenous languages and to establish a link between language, development, peace, and reconciliation, media reports said.

Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism, and Carolyn Bennett,  Liberal Member of Parliament for Toronto-St. Paul's, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, released a statement on UNESCO's IYIL2019 observance.

They said that due to past government laws, policies and actions including The Indian Act, residential schools and the Sixties Scoop, most indigenous languages spoken in Canada were endangered.

The Indian Act, which was enacted in 1876 and since been amended allows the government to control most aspects of aboriginal life: Indian status, land, resources, wills, education, band administration etc.

The 'Sixties Scoop' reportedly refers to the mass removal of indigenous children from their homes, communities and families of birth through the 1960s, and their subsequent adoption into predominantly non-Indigenous, middle-class families across the United States and Canada.

Both the ministers, concerned about the fading status of the indigenous languages, said that language being the cornerstone of our identity, defining who we are and gives us our voice, urgent action was required to preserve and revitalize them.

Every indigenous child, said the ministers, should grow up with a strong connection with their language which would lead to their better health, education and economic outcomes.

Government of Canada, they said, had already invested $90 million for indigenous languages initiatives, including funding for indigenous literacy programs and language revitalization projects

They were grateful, they said, to be working in partnership with indigenous people and to the many inspiring indigenous leaders who with their hard work, have contributed to the global recognition of the importance of Indigenous languages.

We have to make every effort, they added, to preserve indigenous languages for indigenous peoples' strong futures for generations to come.

(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)



Image credit: Images: Pablo Rodriguez/Facebook, Carolyn Bennett/Facebook

Importance of indigenous languages for development, peace and reconciliation

India Blooms News Service
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