The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Languages and Culture Sector supports Chiefs, Technicians and First Nations in advocating for First Nations language and culture rights. The AFN, along with the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Métis National Council, and the Department of Canadian Heritage, work towards the full implementation of the Indigenous Languages Act at the Joint Implementation Steering Committee. The Act received Royal Assent on June 21, 2019. The purpose of the Act is to support the reclamation, revitalization, maintaining and strengthening of Indigenous languages in Canada. Key objectives that derive from the Act include, ensuring that First Nations have adequate, sustainable, and long-term funding and support for First Nations led initiatives.
Our languages allow us to share and communicate culture, world views, knowledge systems, values, traditions, customs, history, spirituality, and social and political identity to future generations. Our languages are living; they come from the land and they’re integral to our sense of self and a key aspect of self-determination. Despite their importance, all Indigenous languages in Canada are in danger of disappearing.
After years of advocacy by First Nations, the Government of Canada now has a legislated commitment to respecting Indigenous languages. The purpose of the Indigenous Languages Act is to enable the exercise of Indigenous language rights by creating legal assurance for adequate, sustainable, and long-term funding and support for Indigenous-led initiatives to reclaim, revitalize, maintain, and strengthen Indigenous languages.