Friends, both the Western Arctic’s IRC and the Inuit Taparit Kanatami of Nunavut are up in arms about Bill C-91, the Indigenous Languages Act, not being specific enough for their support.
Addressing the matter of education, in particular, is what the bill lacks in order to be meaningful according to leaders like Duane Smith, chair of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, and Natan Obed, president of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. We need teachers, using Inuit in the curriculum, to help pass along the language.
The idea of reconciliation is simply not enough without concrete ways, clearly spelled out, to make it happen. Bilateral agreements must be officially in place to allow for this.
Without these specifics there are always going to be problems.
Nunavut policing in particular lacks proper reporting of crimes, to keep people safe.
The IRC in particular calls for a re-evaluation of the Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages.
While these two bodies are making a concerted point to level off the playing field, we Dene are definitely a number of steps back from even having a say.
Take the case of Shene Catholique Valpy, for instance. This Chipewyan woman has been fighting on her own for five long years, to simply have her daughters' Dene names correctly spelled on their official documents.
Shene’s argument is that the Dene font is available everywhere else but for her child’s ID card.
When you think of it, this matter of Indigenous identity is at the very root of reconciliation.
With my own research into how Dene youth and Northern communities are being affected by modern times, the matter of intergenerational residential school trauma is at the very root of these issues.
We are in a period of mourning, without any sign of support.
We can clearly see that the GNWT is in no rush to solve any of our Dene issues.
Just looking at the photos from the recent Canada Games, the uniforms featuring the old territorial flag, you can clearly see for yourself that our government wants the world to know in no uncertain terms that the North is still safely colonial!
As an educator I applaud the likes of these responsible Inuit leaders and cheer on brave individuals like Shene Catholique Valpy. Mahsi, thank you.