Last week was such an inspiration! The elders at the Indigenous Languages Network Gathering in Yellowknife made statements such as: "The gift of our language is very powerful" and "It's all in our hearts" and "There's a magic to it."
For the fourth year, the NWT Literacy Council has brought together the coordinators of the Indigenous language communities. They share information about their work, support each other, and look for solutions to the barriers to Indigenous language revitalization.
For the first time each coordinator brought an elder to participate in the gathering. We also had a youth delegate from each language group. There was lots of laughter. There was some anger and frustration that there are not always the resources to do more to promote and teach the NWT's nine official Indigenous languages. And, there was the inspiration from each other to keep up the good fight, stay dedicated to the cause, and make a difference in their communities.
People talked about the need for communities to be healthy for the Indigenous languages to thrive. They noted that there is comfort for Indigenous people when they can access services in their own language. Each language group is trying to increase the number of trained and fluent language teachers, create more learning resources, and encourage youth to see all the benefits of knowing their Indigenous language.
I personally acquired a new passion for my language last week. Thank you to all the wonderful people who participated in the gathering and inspired me. I resolve to spend more time learning my language with my young son.
— Danita Frost-Arey