Language and Culturesiss

Inuit Tapariit Kanatami and Inuit Nunangat

Why?
Sept. 26, 2019 – Inuit Tapariit Kanatami have established a standard orthography to write their language to replace a patchwork of nine different, often mutually unintelligible scripts. Inuktuk Qaliujaaqpait writing script will allow Inuktut speakers across Canada to read their language.
Comment
Since the 1970s the discussion around promoting and supporting the continued use of Inuktut in schools across Canada’s four Inuit regions has included a deeply rooted debate about introducing a unified Inuit writing system to promote communication across dialects and the development of common learning materials.  

The First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation and the First Peoples’ Cultural Council in partnership with the Canadian Commission for UNESCO

Why?
Feb. 21, 2019 – In celebration of the United Nations 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages, these groups will host HELISET TŦE SḰÁL (pronounced ha-LEE-sut-te-skwayl) – ‘Let the Languages Live’ – 2019 International Conference on Indigenous Languages in BC from June 24-26. The focus is on Indigenous language revitalization.
Comment
Indigenous languages around the world continue to disappear at an alarming rate. Approximately 40 per cent of the estimated 6,700 languages spoken around the world are in danger of disappearing. The fact that most of these are Indigenous languages puts the cultures and knowledge systems to which they belong at risk. More than 60 Indigenous languages exist in Canada and all are considered endangered. The greatest language diversity exists in British Columbia, which is home to more than 50 per cent of all Indigenous languages in the country. 

Government of Nunavut

Why?
Jan. 31, 2019 – Uqausirmut Quviasuutiqarniq – Inuktut Language Month: February, 2019. This year’s theme of Nunavut’s month-long celebration of Inuktut is Inngiusiit Innginnguarusiillu: Traditional Songs and Chants.
Comment
Inngiusiit Innginnguarusiillu were traditionally used by generations of Inuit parents to teach their children about Inuit culture, traditions and language. These songs and chants often include sophisticated terminology in Inuktut, encouraging children to learn and strengthening the use of Inuktut at home and in the community.

UN International year of Indigenous Languages 2019 

Why?
Jan. 29, 2019 – Article 13 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples [the Declaration] calls upon nations to take effective measures to protect the right of Indigenous peoples:
·   to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places and person. 
Article 25 of the Declaration states:
“Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain their distinctive spiritual relationships with their…lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources and to uphold their responsibilities
Comment
“Indigenous Languages are the essence and fabric of Indigenous cultures and are fundamental to our survival, dignity and well‐being as Indigenous peoples. Language is our inherent right and is central to our cultural and spiritual identities as First Nations. Furthermore, language plays a fundamental part in indigenous peoples’ identity by connecting individuals to communities, therefore providing cultural and spiritual context in the daily lives of Indigenous peoples. Grand Chief Edward John, member of the First Nations Summit Political Executive and Co‐chair of the UNESCO IYIL2019 Steering Committee “
B.C. is home to the greatest diversity of Indigenous languages in Canada (more than 50 per cent of all Indigenous languages in the country), with 34 unique First Nations languages and more than 90 dialects. 

Inuit Circumpolar Council 2018 General Assembly represents Inuit of Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Chukotka (Autonomous region of Russia)

Why?
July 16 – 19, 2018 – The 2018 Assembly – held every four years – concluded with the Utqiaġvik Declaration which includes a section on Education and Language.
“Our languages are the foundation of our culture and identity. Legally protecting and revitalizing our languages is urgent and paramount.
https://www.inuitcircumpolar.com/wp-content/uploads/2018_Utqiagvik_Declaration.pdf
Comment
For our languages to remain strong, lnuit language schools and learning institutions need to be established…Effective education requires new pedagogies that reflect our values, culture and languages. For our language to remain strong the lnuit language must be the primary language of instruction in our schools. Language and education support our culture and lnuit hunting, gathering and food practices are a way in which our culture is taught. ICC supports that indigenous harvesting practice should sustain and enhance Inuit cultural practices”

Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) and Inuit Uqausinginnik Taiguusiliuqtiit (IUT) in partnership with Facebook 

Why?
July 9, 2018 – Facebook Canada, in partnership with NTI and IUT, announced that it is opening Inuktut for translation so that the community can help translate Facebook into their language. Giving people the ability to connect in their own language on Facebook is essential to helping people build more meaningful connections on the platform.
Comment
Providing an interface and allowing communications in our language is one of the ways we can encourage our people to use our language in all areas including the very widely used social media,” said Mary Thompson, Chairperson of the Inuit Uqausinginnik Taiguusiliuqtiit, Nunavut’s Inuit Language Authority.

Tessa Ericson, Nak’azdi Whut’en First Nation

Why?
Jan. 7, 2018 – Creating an application and organizing a summer camp to help get younger people in her central BC community speaking the Nak’azdi dialect of the Dakelh language
Comment
Members were fluent in the dialect about three generations ago before the advent of residential schools. “A huge amount of local understanding of culture, ecology, relationship with ancestors, with the past and with the land id all encoded in language” Mark Turin, chairperson of the First Nations and endangered languages program at UBC.

Province of British Columbia

Why?
1990 – BC is the only province to establish a Crown Corporation dedicated to leading First Nations language, culture and arts initiatives
Comment
First People’s Cultural Council was established in 1990 to provide funding and resources to communities, monitor the status of First Nations languages and develop policy recommendations for First Nations leadership and government.

Government of Northwest Territories

Why?
In 1984, the Legislative Assembly passed the first Official Languages Act. Modelled after the Federal Official Languages Act, it had two essential purposes; the Act guaranteed equal status for English and French by members of the public using government programs and services, and the Act officially recognized the Aboriginal languages in use in the Northwest Territories. 
Comment
In 1990, the Legislative Assembly made major amendments to the Act to give greater status to northern Aboriginal languages. Recognizing the official status of Aboriginal languages was intended to preserve and promote Aboriginal cultures through protection of languages. Under section 4 of the language legislation, the official languages of the NWT in addition to English and French are Chipewyan, Cree, Gwich’in, Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, North Slavey, South Slavey and Tåîchô.

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