Opinion: Language legislation welcome but needs funding to make it work

Friday, February 8th, 2019 10:56am


Image Caption

Grand Chief Joel Abram, Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians


“Canada needs to immediately commit proper funding to go along with this legislation." —Grand Chief Joel Abram

The federal government tabled legislation (Bill C-91, An Act Respecting Indigenous Languages) on Tuesday, Feb. 5, designed to protect Indigenous languages in Canada.  However, this movement has received mixed reactions amid concern that new funding may not accompany the bill.

Over 90 different living languages in Canada are said to be endangered due to centuries of oppression from colonialism and the residential schools.  This legislature is meant to provide sustainable funding of indigenous languages to support their reclamation, and revitalization.

Unfortunately, the provisions contained within the legislation make it unclear as to whether the federal government will provide the robust funding needed in order to help save Indigenous languages.  

Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians Grand Chief Joel Abram states “Canada needs to immediately commit proper funding to go along with this legislation.  They need to elevate our languages to the same level of recognition that they have given the French language. 

“If the funding is there to properly address the issue, then I applaud this government for helping to reverse years of government sponsored oppression.  If it turns out to be nice words with no financial aid, then it will be a shame and a black mark.”

Time will tell if the government is sincere in it’s attempt to right the wrongs of the past, and everyone should agree that no more languages should be lost.

AIAI is mandated as a Political Territorial Organizations (PTO) to defend and enhance the Indigenous and Treaty rights of member First Nations.  Member nations include: Batchewana First Nation, Caldwell First Nation, Delaware Nation, Hiawatha First Nation, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, Oneida Nation of the Thames, and the Wahta Mohawks.