VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - December 20, 2010
The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, today announced a three-year renewal of the Aboriginal Languages Initiative, as well as a new formula for First Nations languages that distributes funding according to the regional realities of languages across Canada.
The new funding formula for First Nations languages is based on regional distribution of these languages. First Nations organizations active in language initiatives in provinces and territories with a greater number of languages will have access to more funding than those where fewer languages are found. The new formula comes into effect on April 1, 2011.
"Language is critical to the maintenance and transmission of cultural identity," said Minister Moore. "With the renewal of the Aboriginal Languages Initiative, we are ensuring that support continues for First Nations, Metis, and Inuit language revitalization."
Minister Moore also announced funding for 16 language projects in British Columbia: 12 under the auspices of the First Peoples' Cultural Foundation and 4 other First Nations projects. Under the renewed program, funding available to eligible projects in British Columbia will increase significantly - from $232,470 to $834,400.
"Ensuring that languages are seen and heard as living languages within Aboriginal communities is essential for them to thrive," added Minister Moore. "Our Government is committed to safeguarding these languages and supports Aboriginal communities in their efforts to protect and enhance them."
Funding for these projects is provided p through the Aboriginal Languages Initiative (ALI) of the Department of Canadian Heritage's Aboriginal Peoples' Program. The goal of ALI is to support the preservation and promotion of Aboriginal languages for future generations of Aboriginal peoples and other Canadians.
Nam Tran - December 21, 2010
With Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s recent letter to Shawn Alteo, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, the two have plans to reform education on reserves.
The Globe and Mail reports that, “With 30 aboriginal languages close to extinction, the federal government has announced plans to quadruple funds for programs in British Columbia to revitalize those that can be saved and preserve those that will disappear possibly within the next five years.”
As an approach to maintain Aboriginal languages, there will be government funds that will go into the recording and digitizing of Native speakers, creating instructional DVDs for schools, and also sponsoring language camps for youth. There will also be mobile applications for the iTouch, iPhone and iPad that will be developed to help reach out to the younger generation.
Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore announced on Monday at the Museum of Anthropology that, “We all recognize if we do not know where we are from, we do not know where we are going. Language is critical to the use and transmission of cultural identity.”
“The funds will be provided under a national program that receives $5-million annually. A change in the formula for distribution of funds across the country will mean that B.C. will receive $834,000 next year, compared to about $232,000 this year. B.C. is the most linguistically diverse province in the country, with 60 per cent of the aboriginal languages in Canada,” reports the Globe and Mail.
The Aboriginal languages were lost when Aboriginal students were forced to attend residential or labour schools. At these schools, students were not allowed to practice their cultural traditions such as speaking their native language. Over time, in residential schools and after, the language slowly decayed, and created a legacy of Native peoples who do not know how to speak the language of their culture.
Lorna Williams, head of the First Peoples’ Heritage Language and Culture Council says that the distinct culture of the first nations will be hard to understand without the language to describe and provide meaning.
“Right now, it is really challenging to provide support to all the languages. This will ease that.”