A survey released by the Assembly of First Nations shows that 74% of Canadians support the creation of an Indigenous Languages Act with the goal of ensuring the preservation, protection and revitalization of Indigenous languages in Canada.
National Chief Perry Bellegarde released a speech on YouTube for National Aboriginal Languages Day.
“Of the original 300 Indigenous languages spoken in the lands today known as Canada in 2017 only 58 remain. Three are predicted to survive without immediate and drastic action. We must take that action. We must ensure many more then three survive and all are documented. Anishinaabemowin, Cree or Nehiyawak, Dene, Nakota, Mohawk, Mi’kmaqs, Haida, all our Indigenous languages are national treasures spoken no where else in the world.”
Among the population reporting an Aboriginal mother tongue in Canada, 82.2% reported speaking it at home: 58.1% spoke it most often and 24.1% spoke it on a regular basis, in addition to the language they speak most often.
“To Indigenous peoples, wherever you are, I encourage you to seek out our fluent speakers and learn from them. If you cannot find someone where you are, look for ways to connect on a regular basis perhaps via a Skype or Facetime. Listen to recordings on our own language programs. Insist on your right to have your local languages taught in the school systems and keep working at being able to talk to people in your language.”
National Aboriginal Languages Day was established by AFN Chiefs-in-Assembly in 1989 to create awareness across Canada of the languages of the First Peoples, and to build support for their preservation.