Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde and Mélanie Joly, the federal Minister of Canadian Heritage, have hammered out an agreement on the co-development of an Indigenous Languages Act to revitalize, protect, recover, and maintain Indigenous languages.
“Language is culture and central to our songs, stories, and ceremonies, said Bellegarde. Language revitalization is a part of self-determination, he said.
The AFN looks forward to the engagement process this fall, and will ensure language rights are recognized as inherent rights, reads a statement. First Nations language champions and educators from across the country will be essential in providing input on the legislation beginning next week.
There are more than 58 distinct Indigenous languages and more than 90 distinct languages and dialects spoken in Canada. There are no Indigenous languages beyond threat.
At the AFN’s Special Chiefs Assembly in December 2016, Prime Minister Trudeau announced his commitment to “enact an Indigenous Languages Act, co-developed with Indigenous people, with the goal of ensuring the preservation, protection, and revitalization of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit languages.”