Onkwehonwe week in Review – Week of July 15, 2015

First Nations Leaders Call for Language Recognition

OTTAWA — The call for official recognition of First Nations languages was made by National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Perry Bellegard at the annual general meeting early this week.

Bellegard called on the federal government to invest in protecting, promoting and enhancing the aboriginal languages in the country to ensure longevity and continuity.

A University of Victoria expert explained that making all 60 of the aboriginal languages in Canada is entirely doable. Over half of the 60 languages are spoken in British Columbia alone.

Director of Indigenous Education at the University of Victoria Onowa McIlvor said that the proposal has been made by Fi9rst Nations leaders many times over the past few decades, but little has been accomplished in doing so.

McIlvor explains that it is prime time for the government to take action as the release of the Turth and Reconciliation Commission’s Report recommended that the federal government be responsible for the preservation of aboriginal languages.

“It just doesn’t make sense to do it any other way, there’s such diversity across the country,” she said, as reported by CBC.


Osheaga Arts and Music Festival Announced No Attendees to Wear Headdresses

MONTREAL — The Three-day festival at the end of July announced that attendees will not be permitted to wear headdresses as accessories during the festival.

Along with the cultural value behind the adornment of headdresses in many different cultures, many outside individuals do not understand the impact of wearing one simply as an accessory.

The festival posted a statement along with a photo of a woman wearing a headdress on their Facebook page reading: “Please note that First Nations Headdresses are not permitted at the festival. The First Nations Headdresses have a spiritual and cultural meaning in the native communities and to respect and honor their people, Osheaga asks fans and artists attending the festival to not use this symbol as a fashion accessory.”

In just a half-hour, the post received over 1000 “likes” and has been shared over 150 times.

The adornment of headdresses and the kick of cultural appropriation has been criticized and unwanted in recent years since the adornment has made appearances on fashion runways and clothing stores as an “icon.”

The account also informed followers that the electronic music festival in Parc Jean-Drapeau ÎleSoniq from August 14-15 will also be adhering to the same rule.


AFN National Chief to meet with Provincial and Territorial leaders

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde will join other national Aboriginal leaders at a meeting with Premiers and Territorial Leaders in advance of the Council of Federation meeting taking place this week in Newfoundland.

The leaders will meet in Happy Valley-Goose Bay Wednesday to discuss ongoing priorities and requirements to close the gap between Indigenous peoples and other Canadians.

National Chief Bellegarde will point to the urgent need to advance action in partnership with First Nations in priority areas, including energy and the economy, education, revitalization of Indigenous languages, ending violence against Indigenous women and girls and the overrepresentation of First Nations children in the child welfare system.

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