Aboriginal languages should be official – Winnipeg Free Press

by mmnationtalk on July 20, 2015436 Views

07/20/2015

Canada is home to about 60 aboriginal languages, which have been spoken for thousands of years. Almost all of these languages exist nowhere else on the planet. But this extraordinary heritage is in danger. Only a handful of these languages are likely to survive into the next century if current trends continue. What can we do to halt this development?

Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, called on the government of Canada to grant official-language status to Canada’s aboriginal languages and to provide the necessary funding for preservation and revitalization efforts. In doing so, he followed the recommendations of the recent report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

One of the enduring horrors of the residential schools in Canada is the generational transmission of aboriginal languages was violently broken.

All of us have heard about the cruel punishments often visited on students who spoke their ancestral language at school. This led many of them to not pass the language on to their children to protect them from similar punishments. Once the chain of transmission has been broken, it is very hard to re-establish.

Granting aboriginal languages official status has the power to do just that. It gives these languages and their speakers the recognition and prestige they deserve.

Read more: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/analysis/aboriginal-languages-should-be-official-317509341.html

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