#AFN; #IndigenousLanguages; #FederalGovernment; #vitalConnectionToTheirAncestors; #InternationalYearOfIndigenousLanguages; #UNDelegation
Ottawa, Dec 17 (Canadian-Media): Speaking today at UN Headquarters in New York City, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde said many action needed to be taken from the federal government and the wider international community to prevent Indigenous languages facing extinction, media reports said.
Perry Bellegarde. Image credit: Facebook page
Our languages connect us all to our ceremonies, to our lands, to our waters and to our right to self-determination as Indigenous peoples...For our languages to survive they must be taught ... Work with us to help bring Indigenous languages back from the brink of destruction." he told UN delegates gathered for a day marking the end of the International Year of Indigenous Languages.
In the last few years there had been some progress, said Bellegarde, as elders were eager to reclaim part of their identity and started teaching their languages to young people.
More action is needed, added Bellegarde, to repair the damage done by residential schools, where English and French were forced on Indigenous students.
While addressing the UN on Tuesday, Indigenous Service Minister Marc Miller pointed to Bill C-91 as a way forward in allowing for the translation of federal documents into Indigenous languages and interpretation services.
Three out of four of the 90 different living Indigenous languages in Canada are said to be endangered.
"If we do not act now to protect these beautiful languages, many of us will not hear it for ourselves in the years to come..I look forward to seeing the work continue with all Indigenous partners in Canada for the co-implementation of the [languages] act in a spirit of mutual trust and respect," Miller said.
#UN; #IndigenousLanguages; #InternationalYearofIndigenousLanguages; #UNESCO; #UNDESA
New York, Dec 17 (Canadian-Media): Despite UN efforts throughout this International Year of Indigenous Languages to highlight the daily disappearance of mother tongues across the world, the President of the General Assembly (PGA) warned on Tuesday that “challenges persist nonetheless,” UN reports said.
A group of women in traditional clothing, Kenya. Credit: World Bank/Curt Carnemark
“Every fortnight, at least one indigenous language vanishes from the face of the earth”, spelled out Tijjani Muhammad-Bande. “This translates into two extinct indigenous languages each month”.
Turning to the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the PGA pointed out that the 2007 milestone calls on States, among other things, to enact policies and laws aimed at preserving and strengthening indigenous languages.
“The status-quo is indeed grave”, he asserted, painting a picture of only 4,000 surviving indigenous languages, spoken by a mere 6 per cent of the total world population.
Mr. Muhammad-Bande said it was “equally noteworthy”, that 15 per cent of the poorest people on the planet are indigenous.
Why indigenous languages matter
Indigenous traditions have served as a “dependable means of acquiring knowledge” which can be transmitted across generations, he stated, citing examples of herbal medicine, food processing and settling disputes within communities.
And although linguistic diversity is essential to preserve humanity’s common heritage, which is critical to its survival, it is imperiled with every language that goes extinct.
“With the death of languages, the indigenous people who speak them lose a significant part of their identity”, he lamented.
Keeping the languages alive
Among the markers of progress are the creation of a Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples, the Interactive Informal Hearing with Indigenous Peoples, and the sensitization of the international community to their plight.
Mr. Muhammad-Bande said the year is itself evidence of the UN’s commitment to preserve endangered languages
He urged the world to focus attention on the measures to ensure the survival of those which remain, underscoring that “schools have a major role to play”.
“By integrating indigenous languages into their curricula, they would have fulfilled the vital mission of shielding the languages from external onslaught and internal decay”, said the PGA.
In closing, he recalled that “languages are scientific insights, hints of wisdom, and community practices that move civilizations from one stage to another”.
‘A source of pride’, says Roma star
Oscar nominated actress and star of the film Roma, who is also UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Indigenous Peoples, Yalitza Aparicio, shared her hopes for preserving indigenous cultures and traditions.
She looks forward to the day when “parents are not obliged to forget who they are, where they came from, or have to hide their languages to protect their children from a society that stereotypes and limits employment opportunities”.
And “that no girl or boy grows up ashamed of their roots and that they know that speaking an indigenous language is a source of pride that gives a rich perspective”.
The event was co-organized by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), along with the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), Member States and others, to assess progress made during the year and review existing challenges – sharing key lessons learned about the preservation, promotion and revitalization of indigenous languages.
General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, and Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, with participants at the closing of the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages in New York. Credits: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas
#FirstNations; #FirstNationsChildWelfare; #FirstNationsChiefsMeeting; #Ottawa
Manitoba, Dec 3 (Canadian-Media): Increased funding for the First Nations child welfare would be the priority of the First Nations chiefs' meeting this week in Ottawa for the annual Assembly of First Nations (AFN) special chiefs assembly, media reports said.
Assembly of First Nations. Image credit: Facebook page
About $3.5 billion in funding over five years would be needed by the First Nations to cover all the legal complexities of taking over a child-welfare agency and co-ordinating with provincial agencies, said Kevin Hart, Manitoba's Assembly of First Nations (AFN) regional chief, to effectively take over responsibility for child welfare services under a new law that comes into force on Jan. 1.
Bill C-92, or An Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis Children, Youth and Families, passed earlier this year lacked statutory funding.
"That is something we find unacceptable and unfair when we are taking over the sovereignty and jurisdiction of our children, and it needs to be properly and adequately resourced," Hart said.
Federal government's decision to challenge the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal order for compensation to First Nations children Many chiefs caused great concern many chiefs.
"I am pretty disheartened, but I am hoping Canada gets it right sooner rather than later because our kids are falling through the cracks as we speak," said Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Mark Arcand of the government's decision to fight the order.
One of the resolutions chiefs will be debating calls on the federal government to provide transitional funding for Bill C-92 to for implementation planning process of all stages and in all regions.
Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller's office sent a statement saying money under Bill C-92 would be tailored to what individual First Nations need.
"We cannot presume how partners will want to exercise their jurisdiction," said the statement.
"We will work with those partners to identify needs and ensure funding that supports their jurisdiction over child and family services."
#BritishColumbia; #largestSolarFarm; #FirstNations
British Columbia, Dec 2 (Canadian-Media): The first and the largest operational solar farms 100 percent owned and operated by a First Nation in the province of British Columbia would soon be operated, said the chief of a small First Nations community in British Columbia's Interior who expects the power to go on any day, media reports said.
Chief Russell Myers Ross of the Yunesit'in in the Chilcotin region west of Williams Lake says the 1.25-megawatt hours per year project is also among the largest operational solar farms in the province.
"We were trying to find ways to build out community infrastructure and supplement any higher costs with clean energy," Ross said in an interview Sunday.
Having 3,456 solar modules that will convert the sun's rays into electricity, the Tsilhqot'in hopes to sell this electricity BC Hydro to generate revenue shared by each of the member nations.
With capacity to generate enough energy to power between 130 and 150 homes, it's small on a global scale but large for British Columbia and the first solar farm of its size to be fully owned and operated by a First Nation.
Ross added that even the construction phase was almost entirely completed by members of the community.
"It was almost all First Nation-built, which is a feat in itself," he said.