On December 6, 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the development of an Indigenous Languages Act. Based on direction from First Nations, the AFN is advocating for legislation to establish long-term, sustainable, consistent, appropriate approaches to support First Nations in their efforts to recover, reclaim, revitalize, maintain and normalize First Nations languages.
Our languages are central to our ceremonies, our relationships to our lands, the animals, to each other, our understandings, of our worlds, including the natural world, our stories and our laws.
On June 1, 2018 the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, announced the launch of intensive community-based engagement sessions that will be held across Canada this summer to support the co-development of First Nations, Inuit and Métis languages legislation.
The Department of Canadian Heritage will cover the travel and hotel costs of up to two participants per community/organization to attend AFN’s pre-meeting and the Department of Canadian Heritage direct engagement session in your area. These costs will be reimbursed based upon Treasury board Guidelines up to an established maximum amount.
Attendance to both the Department of Canadian Heritage Engagement Sessions and the Assembly of First Nations Pre-engagement Sessions are open to all who are interested in attending.
Indigenous Languages Initiative Background and Resources
Report on the National Engagement Sessions
In preparation for the co-development of legislation for an Indigenous Languages Act, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) held a series of engagement sessions across the country from June to October, 2017 with more than 500 Regional Chiefs, Chiefs, Councillors, Elders, fluent speakers, knowledge keepers, language champions and activists, Indigenous scholars and linguists attending. The Assembly of First Nations undertook the AFN Indigenous Languages Initiative Engagement Sessions in keeping with the Assembly of First Nations Executive Motion, supported by the AFN Chiefs Committee on Languages and resolutions 06-2015 and 01-2015. This report provides a brief synopsis of the extensive feedback received at those sessions and summarizes the key points which emerged. The report will be used to guide those at the AFN who will be co-developing the legislation with the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Métis National Council.
Use of any official language in the Legislative Assembly and the Nunavut Court of Justice and appeal court proceedings.
Anyone can communicate with or receive services in an official language from the head or central office of any territorial institution and non-head offices also have a duty to provide a service in an official language where there is demand.
French and English are the official languages but services may be provided in Aboriginal languages (Language Act 2002).
The Aboriginal Languages Recognition Act 2010 The languages of Cree, Dakota, Dene, Inuktitut, Michif, Ojibway and Oji-Cree do not have official status, but are recognized as the Aboriginal languages spoken and used in Manitoba.
Chipewyan, Cree, English, French, Gwich’in, Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, North Slavey, South Slavey and Tłįchǫ are the Official Languages of the Northwest Territories (along with English and French).
Grants equal rights and privileges for their use in government institutions (legislature, courts).
People can receive government services in a language where there is a significant demand for that language.
There is a language commissioner and an Aboriginal Languages Revitalization Board.
In 1978, Hawaiian is made an official language of Hawaii (along with English) and the the study of Hawaiian is accorded special promotion by the State.