Lessons in the Language – Media Co-op

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Lessons in the Language – Media Co-op

by pmnationtalk on January 14, 201513885 Views

January 13, 2015

Mi’kmaq educators start early to overcome legacy of assimilation policies

For over a century, the Canadian government’s official policy was to eradicate Indigenous cultures. Through the residential school system, government agents separated First Nations’ children from their families, forcing them into schools where they would be punished for speaking their mother tongues. The effects of residential schools linger in innumerable, immeasurable ways, and many remedies are still urgently needed. But in some sense, revitalization of language is among the most pressing of these: once a language is no longer spoken, thousands of years of lessons, wisdom and ties to the land disappear. Although the government has recognized and apologized for the crimes of the residential school era, it has done very little to further the revitalization of indigenous languages. That task has fallen to First Nations educators.

In 1997, the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia signed the first self-government agreement in education with the Crown. In doing so, they became the first Indigenous nation since the Indian Act was imposed to reclaim on-reserve jurisdiction over education. But for Mi’kmaq educators Starr Sock, Ida Denny and Sherise Paul-Gould, from the Eskasoni First Nation, this was only the first step in a long struggle to build the foundations of an education based on immersion in the Mi’kmaw language.

Read More: http://www.mediacoop.ca/story/lessons-language/32828

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