Indigenous Service Minister Miller Made The Announcement With Leaders of The Mi’kmaw Community
By Dami Igbinyemi
Culture can play a big role in a person’s identity in how they see themselves and the people they associate with. Language is one of the most important parts of any culture. Every community, cultural group or ethnic group has its values, beliefs, and way of living. The loss of language can mean the loss of culture and identity. To preserve the Indigenous languages, the government of Canada must understand that they play a key role.
On July 12th, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, on behalf of the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, along with members from the Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey Board of Directors, announced $513,492 in federal funding for the reclamation, revitalization, maintenance and strengthening of Indigenous languages and cultures by increasing access to language instruction and language resources suited to the needs and realities of Mi’kmaw First Nations.
“Indigenous languages are fundamental to Indigenous identities, cultures, spirituality and self-determination. It is critically important that we work together to support Indigenous peoples in reclaiming, revitalizing, strengthening, and maintaining Indigenous languages in Canada. The Government of Canada is committed to renewing the relationship with Indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership. I look forward to a future where First Nations, Inuit and Métis children will grow up speaking their languages, and where this valued linguistic heritage is cherished and protected for future generations.”
—The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P., Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
Starting in 2021-22, Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey will now act as the third-party delivery administrator of the Indigenous Languages and Cultures Program for the province of Nova Scotia. This announcement is in line with the government of Canada’s plan to transfer control of service delivery back to Indigenous peoples and hopefully inspire others to do the same. Transferring power back to the hands of Indigenous people is one way to improve the realities of Indigenous educators, families, and youth.
Budget 2021 plans to provide $275 million over five years and $2 million per year continuing for Canadian Heritage to support Indigenous languages. This funding is in addition to the allocated funding in 2019 of $333.7 million over five years as well as $115.7 million continuing per year. Because of this, funding for the next three years for numerous projects such as languages and culture camps, mentor-apprentice programs, and the development of Indigenous languages resources and documentation are doubled.
Image source: Government of Canada