11.1: Indigenous Languages and the Legacy of Residential Schools
- Last updated
Save as PDF
Many of the Indigenous languages spoken in what is currently Canada are quite endangered, because of deliberate strategies by the settler government. For over 100 years, children from Indigenous communities were forced to attend residential schools where they were severely punished for speaking their home languages. The consequence was that fewer and fewer Indigenous people were able to maintain fluency in their languages.
- We call on the federal government to draft new Aboriginal education legislation including protecting the right to Aboriginal languages [and] the teaching of Aboriginal languages as credit courses.
- We call upon the federal government to enact an Aboriginal Languages Act that incorporates the following principles:
- Aboriginal languages are a fundamental and valued element of Canadian culture and society, and there is an urgency to preserve them.
- The federal government has a responsibility to provide sufficient funds for Aboriginal-language revitalization and preservation.
- The preservation, revitalization, and strengthening of Aboriginal languages and cultures are best managed by Aboriginal people and communities.
- Funding for Aboriginal language initiatives must reflect the diversity of Aboriginal languages.
- We call upon post-secondary institutions to create university and college degree and diploma programs in Aboriginal languages.