Colloquium: Next steps in supporting Canada’s Indigenous languages


TORONTO, Dec. 5, 2019 – What needs to happen next after federal legislation in support of Canada’s 90 Indigenous languages passed this summer? York University’s Glendon Campus will host a national colloquium this weekend looking at the future of Indigenous languages, how the legislation should be enacted, and what work still needs to be done.

Many of Canada’s Indigenous languages are considered endangered. As 2019 is the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages, the colloquium will bring Indigenous policy researchers and practitioners from across Canada together to discuss what the legislation will mean for Canada’s Indigenous languages, and how to support these languages at the federal, provincial and local levels. The colloquium, Canada’s Indigenous Language Policies in the Wake of Bill C-91, will run from Dec. 6 to 8.

Several keynote speakers will address various aspects of the legislation and the importance of protecting Indigenous languages going forward, including:

Stephen Gagnon of the Department of Canadian Heritage, the federal ministry responsible for implementing the legislation, will deliver the keynote addressing questions about the future of Canada’s Indigenous languages Friday at 6:45 p.m.

Aluki Kotierk, president of Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated and representing the Inuit of Nunavut, will deliver the keynote plenary address Saturday at 9 a.m. on “The Threatened State of Inuktut in Nunavut Today: What is needed to help it flourish? followed by a Q&A.

Roger Jones, senior advisor of the Assembly of First Nations, will deliver his speech at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday.

The colloquium, organized by Glendon English Professor Ian Martin and Amos Key Jr., vice-provost of Indigenous engagement at Brock University, with the support of Glendon Anishinaabemowin instructor Maya Chacaby, is a continuation of a similar event held at Glendon in 2016. This year’s colloquium looks at what has been achieved in the three years since the first one and next steps.

For a full schedule of speakers, visit the Canada’s Indigenous Language Policies in the Wake of Bill C-91 website.


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Media Contacts:

Sandra McLean, York University Media Relations, 416-272-6317,

Ian Martin, Glendon Campus English Professor and colloquium co-organizer, 416-460-5241