A wonderful blog post from Montreal-based Métis blogger Âpihtawikosisân about education, indigenous language learning, and Aboriginal-Settler society relations in Canada. Check it out!
Aboriginal languages need to be recognised at the very least as equal to English and French. Why? Oh boy. If you’re even asking me why, it means we are doing a crap job right now of teaching the relevance of aboriginal culture and history. I can’t even begin to answer that question without first making you understand how our cultures are revelant to all Canadians…including our most recent newcomers.
And that’s the point. That’s the learning I’m talking about. I see language learning as a ‘way in’ to a deeper and more respectful (and healthier) relationship… not as a way to increase your job opportunities. I don’t expect everyone to become absolutely fluent in an aboriginal language (though it sure would be nice!), but having some legitimised exposure can’t hurt. Whether we make it a separate class, or integrate it into the curriculum and blend it into every subject, I believe aboriginal language learning for everyone has incredible potential for fostering understanding and cooperation.