National Indigenous Leaders and Federal Ministers Declare Intent to Co-develop Indigenous Languages Legislation

June 15, 2017 Ottawa, ON: Métis Nation, First Nations, and Inuit leaders joined Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly and Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett to announce their intent to co-develop Indigenous languages legislation aimed at revitalizing and promoting Indigenous languages.

“Today marks another step in the right direction in building the nation to nation relationship between Canada and the Métis Nation, and demonstrates that this Government is serious about its partnerships with Indigenous peoples” said Métis Nation President Chartier. “Canada’s commitment to co-developing Indigenous language legislation in a concentrated and collaborative manner speaks to the commitment of the parties to get things done. I am looking forward to working with Minister Joly, National Chief Bellegarde and President Obed in developing meaningful and effective Indigenous language legislation.”

On December 6, 2016 Prime Minister Trudeau announced that the Government of Canada will enact an Indigenous Languages Act, co-developed with Indigenous Peoples, with the goal of ensuring the preservation, protection, and revitalization of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit languages in Canada. Over two-thirds of the 90 Indigenous languages still spoken in Canada are “endangered” according to UNESCO’s endangered languages criteria; the remaining third are defined as “vulnerable”.

“The responsibility to preserve and restore Indigenous languages and cultures goes beyond the celebration of our collective history,” said Minister Joly. “I am proud of the role my department is playing in helping to restore and revitalize endangered languages and cultures.”

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