Members of the Cree Literacy Network joined a group of about 150 academic and community language advocates at the University of Alberta this past weekend for preliminary talks about A National Vision for Indigenous Language Sustainability. One important outcome of that meeting is a Call to Action – in petition form – drafted at the end of the meeting by Skeetchestn Chief Ron Ignace and others. In calling for adequate funding for revitalization of Indigenous languages, the petition echoes the sentiment repeated at the meetings that restorative funding really ought to be equivalent to the funding that attempted to destroy the languages in the first place.
Text of the petition – that calls upon Canada to provide adequate funding for Indigenous languages – is presented below (click here for print-ready pdf) for others to add their support. Anyone who shares our concern for Indigenous Language Sustainability is urged to print and circulate the petition for signatures, and forward it to the addresses provided below. You may also email or write personally to your Member of Parliament.
A Call to Action to the Government of Canada by participants in the ANVILS 2016 workshop and friends
Drafted at University of Alberta, Edmonton on July 10, 2016
Whereas: In 2000, the Assembly of First Nations declared a State of Emergency on Indigenous Languages in Canada due to the dire conditions of Canadian Indigenous languages at the time, a state that has since that time further deteriorated, in spite of courageous efforts by community language champions, elders, youth and fluent speakers to stem the tide of Indigenous language loss with little or no resources.
Whereas: In 2003-2005 the Canadian government, through the Department of Canadian Heritage launched a National Task Force on Aboriginal Languages and Cultures (TFALC) to long-term revitalize Indigenous languages in Canada, many of which were and still are critically endangered.
Whereas: In 2005, the TFALC submitted its detailed task force report “Towards a New Beginning: A Foundational Report for a Strategy to Revitalize First Nation, Inuit and Metis Languages and Cultures.” This report contained 25 recommendations.
Whereas: The Canadian Government in 2003 earmarked $160 million as interim funding towards the TFALC findings and recommendations.
Whereas: In Fall 2005, the newly elected Conservative government shelved the Task Force Report and removed the $160 million funding from the fiscal framework.
Whereas: In the Fall 2015, the newly elected Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, said in his mandate letter to Minister Carolyn Bennett, the newly appointed Minister of Indigenous Affairs, “No relationship is more important to me and to Canada than the one with Indigenous Peoples. It is time for a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership. To support the work of reconciliation, and continue the necessary process of truth telling and healing, work with provinces and territories, and with First Nations, the Métis Nation, and Inuit, to implement recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, starting with the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
In addition, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated in his mandate letter to the Hon. Melanie Joly, the newly appointed Minister of Canadian Heritage, that he would “Work in collaboration with the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs to provide new funding to promote, preserve and enhance Indigenous languages and cultures.”
We, the undersigned therefore urgently call on the Government of Canada to:
- implement the mandate given by Prime Minister Trudeau in his mandate letters to the Hon. Carolyn Bennett and the Hon. Melanie Joly to provide adequate funding to revitalize the Indigenous languages of Canada;
- implement the UNDRIP and the TRC calls to action with legislative protection and regulation, and with adequate long term sustained resourcing for Indigenous Languages in Canada;
- implement the recommendations of the Task Force on Aboriginal Languages and Cultures and reinstate the interim funding of a minimum of $160 million. The TRC Calls to Action, the UNDRIP and the TFALC report provide sufficient information for legislative protection and implementation, therefore no new studies are needed.
Please copy and circulate more copies of this petition as needed and send signed petition(s) to the following 5 addresses (ANVILS_petition):
|Office of the Prime Minister
|Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
80 Wellington Street
K1A 0A2 Canada
|Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada||The Honourable Carolyn Bennett MP
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
Terrasses de la Chaudière
10 Wellington Street
K1A 0H4 Canada
|Canadian Heritage||The Honourable Mélanie Joly MP
15 Eddy Street
K1A 0M5 Canada
|Assembly of First Nations||National Chief Perry Bellegarde
Assembly of First Nations
55 Metcalfe Street
K1P 6L5 Canada
|Chief Ron Ignace||Skeetchestn Chief Ronald E.Ignace PhD
P.O. Box 460
V0K 2J0 Canada
Please save our languages for our future.
I would like to see indigenous languages offered at the CÉGEP level across Quebec.
These courses should be part of general instruction. and thus obligatory. I would hope the Quebec government would take action.