Joint Statement by Ministers Guilbeault, Bennett, Miller and Vandal on National Indigenous Languages Day
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GATINEAU, March 31, 2021
The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, and the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, issued the following statement in honour of National Indigenous Languages Day today.
“March 31 is National Indigenous Languages Day and an opportunity for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada to recognize and celebrate the very rich and diverse heritage of Indigenous languages.
Indigenous languages embody Indigenous cultures and histories. Languages are deeply personal and they connect individuals, families and communities across generations, distances and differences. They are integral to Indigenous cultures, self-identity and well-being. Languages carry stories, the memory of those who came before us, and the promise that we hold for those who come after us. They convey wisdom and traditions from elders to youth, from one generation to the next. The Government of Canada understands that we have a role in protecting and supporting Indigenous Languages.
Today, we renew our pledge to right historic wrongs by responding to the Calls to Action made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and by supporting Indigenous peoples as they reclaim, revitalize, maintain and strengthen their languages.
Today, we also recognize what we have accomplished in the past year, in collaboration with Indigenous partners—and in building on Indigenous knowledge, vision and experience. In particular, we remain committed to the full implementation of the Indigenous Languages Act passed in June 2019, which remains a priority for the Government of Canada. We look forward to the imminent appointment of the Commissioner and Directors of the independent Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages. And we will continue consulting and working alongside Indigenous partners to create a new Indigenous Languages Funding Model that is flexible, predictable, and addresses the priorities as well as distinct needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis.
More broadly, we will continue to collaborate with Indigenous partners to support Indigenous languages and culture in response to the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, whether it be ensuring access to Indigenous languages, cultural knowledge and practices, supporting Indigenous women, girls, Two Spirit and LGBTQQIA+ people to share their stories and advance authentic depictions in the media and popular culture, or continuing the fight against anti-Indigenous racism.
When we think of the relationships that we are renewing and rebuilding, grounded in respect and cooperation, we think of the commitment, passion and dedication that Indigenous peoples have for safeguarding and revitalizing their languages, and we follow their lead on this path forward. We know that, together, we will find a way not only to keep Indigenous languages safe, but also to ensure that they thrive and enrich all of our lives.”
For more information (media only), please contact:
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
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