Indigenous languages should be part of early childhood education, says professor

11 May 2019

Photo credit: Lake Manitou in Algonquin Park, Canada, by Jay Walt, PebblePicJay on FLICKR (Creative Commons).

Proposed legislation by the Canadian government to safeguard indigenous languages will not go far enough to provide real protection, warns Andrea Bear Nicholas, professor emeritus at St. Thomas University in New Brunswick.

In an article by Elizabeth Fraser on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) website, Bear Nicholas says that to preserve indigenous languages, children need to be immersed from a very young age, curriculum using the language must be developed and teachers must be trained to work with it.

Under Bill C-91, an office of the commissioner of indigenous languages would be created to protect and promote languages that include Cree, Ojibway, Mohawk, Mi’kmaq, Michif (the native tongue of some Métis) and Inuktut, among dozens of others that are still spoken in Canada. Three-quarters of the 90 different living indigenous languages in Canada are said to be endangered.


The article can be found here

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Read Landscape News stories from the 18th session of the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues here

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