Chief Celebrates launch of International Year of Indigenous Languages

TORONTO – Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald acknowledged the official launch of the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

The Chiefs of Ontario released a statement recognizing the UN’s declaration made official at the United Nations UNESCO on Monday.

“This is a particularly pressing and important issue internationally and within Canada as Indigenous peoples, communities and organizations make efforts to ensure the survival of Indigenous languages throughout Canada and to raise awareness of the many Indigenous languages across the globe.”

Archibald said, “I applaud the United Nations for declaring 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

“Our language and all dialects are fundamental to our identity, culture, and overall health and socio-economic well-being. The decision to dedicate 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages is welcomed by First Nations in Ontario and this recognition and promotion of our Peoples languages is a significant stride in the partnership relationship we’ve been working toward,” said Archibald.

The declaration is meant to empower Indigenous peoples, to preserve and embrace re-learning their languages, but to also celebrate and appreciate the many contributions Indigenous peoples have made to the world’s cultural diversity.

“Revitalizing First Nations languages is an essential component in self-determination. Currently, First Nations and Federal Government are working on the co-development of the Indigenous Languages Act,” said Archibald. “Working in partnership with First Nations leadership in Ontario and the Government of Ontario, we have developed a Lifelong Learning Table, a bi-lateral process that works to ensure First Nations communities work in partnerships and collaboration to bring changes and new approaches to First Nations education and languages revitalization in provincial schools in Ontario. The culture, traditions, values and knowledge of First Nations peoples are reflected in the languages that are spoken, we plan to continue to collaborate through the Leadership Committee on Languages to ensure First Nations languages are maintained and revitalized for the next generations.”

“There is no Indigenous dialect that is not in danger of disappearing. This year is an opportunity to raise awareness and to empower First Nations in Ontario, especially our youth and to strengthen our Nations,” said Archibald.

“We must continue to play the leading role in revitalizing our language, culture and identity and continue to shed a light on the connection between our true shared history and the importance of language recovery. We are in a critical moment for Indigenous peoples across the world – we must act with urgency to deliver high-quality education, this includes support for language and culture to improve outcomes for First Nations.”

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