Ottawa, Jan 29 (Canadian-Media): The International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL) is a United Nations (UN) observance in 2019 with an aim to raise awareness of the consequences of the endangerment of Indigenous languages across the world, media reports said.

Official Global Launch Event of the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages

Indigenous languages matter for development, peace & reconciliation

1/29/2019

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#InternationalYearofIndigenousLanguages; #UnitedNations; #PabloRodriguez; #CarolynBennett; #TheIndianAct; #SixtiesScoop

Ottawa, Jan 29 (Canadian-Media): The International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL) is a United Nations (UN) observance in 2019 with an aim to raise awareness of the consequences of the endangerment of Indigenous languages across the world, media reports said.

Official Global Launch Event of the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages

IYIL2019 also aims to establish a link between language, development, peace, and reconciliation.

Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism, and Carolyn Bennett, Liberal Member of Parliament for Toronto-St. Paul’s; Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, stated on UNESCO’s IYIL2019 observance that most indigenous languages spoken in Canada were endangered as a result of past government laws, policies and actions including The Indian Act, residential schools and the Sixties Scoop.

The Indian Act, was reportedly enacted in 1876 and has since been amended and allows the government to control most aspects of aboriginal life: Indian status, land, resources, wills, education, band administration and so on.

The ‘Sixties Scoop’ reportedly refers to the large-scale removal of Indigenous children from their homes, communities and families of birth through the 1960s, and their subsequent adoption into predominantly non-Indigenous, middle-class families across the United States and Canada.

Pablo Rodriguez
Carolyn Bennett

They said that language being the cornerstone of our identity defining who we are and gives us our voice and added urgent action was required to preserve and revitalize them.

Every Indigenous child, the ministers said, should grow up with a strong connection to their language for their better health, education and economic outcomes.

Government of Canada had already invested $90 million, both the ministers in their statements said, for Indigenous languages initiatives, including funding for Indigenous literacy programs and language revitalization projects

They were grateful, they said, to be working in partnership with Indigenous People and to the many inspiring Indigenous leaders who with their hard work, have contributed to the global recognition of the importance of Indigenous languages.

We have to make every effort, they added, to preserve Indigenous languages for Indigenous Peoples’ strong futures for generations to come.

​(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)

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