Dene elder Paul Disain said,
"Our language and culture
is the window through which we see the world."
And on Turtle Island,
what is now known as North America,
there're so many unique and wonderful ways to see the world.
As a person of Indigenous heritage,
I'm interested in learning Anishinaabemowin,
which is my heritage language,
because it lets me see the world through that window.
It lets me connect with my family,
my ancestors, my community, my culture.
And lets me think about how I can pass that on
to future generations.
I'm interested in how language functions generally.
I can look at phonetics and phonology --
I can look at morphology, or the structure of words.
I can look at syntax,
which is the structure of sentences and phrases,
to learn about how humans store language in our brains
and how we use it to communicate with one another.
Anishinaabemowin, like most Indigenous languages,
is what's called polysynthetic,
which means that there are very, very long words,
composed of little tiny pieces called morphemes.
So I can say, in Anishinaabemowin, "niwiisin," "I eat,"
which is one word.
I can say "nimino-wiisin," "I eat well,"
which is still one word.
I can say "nimino-naawakwe-wiisin," "I eat a good lunch,"
which is how many words in English?
Five words in English, a single word in Anishinaabemowin.
Now, I've got a bit of a quiz for you.
In a one-word answer, what color is that slide?
Lindsay Morcom: What color is that slide?
LM: What color is that slide?
LM: And what color is that slide?
Not trick questions, I promise.
For you as English speakers,
you saw two green slides and two blue slides.
But the way that we categorize colors varies across languages,
so if you had been Russian speakers,
you would have seen two slides that were different shades of green,
one that was "goluboy," which is light blue,
one that is "siniy," dark blue.
And those are seen as different colors.
If you were speakers of Anishinaabemowin,
you would have seen slides that were Ozhaawashkwaa
or Ozhaawashkozi, which means either green or blue.
It's not that speakers don't see the colors,
it's that the way they categorize them and the way that they understand shades
there are universals in the ways that humans categorize color,
and that tells us about how human brains
understand and express what they're seeing.
Anishinaabemowin does another wonderful thing,
which is animate, inanimate marking on all words.
So it's not unlike how French and Spanish
mark all words as either masculine or feminine.
Anishinaabemowin and other Algonquian languages
mark all words as either animate or inanimate.
The things that you would think to be animate are animate,
things that have a pulse: people, animals, growing plants.
But there are other things that are animate
that you might not guess, like rocks.
Rocks are marked as animate,
and that tells us really interesting things about grammar,
and it also tells us really interesting things
about how Anishinaabemowin speakers
relate to and understand the world around them.
Now, the sad part of that
is that Indigenous languages are in danger.
Indigenous languages that posses so much knowledge of culture,
of ways to relate to one another,
of ways to relate to our environment.
Having been on this land since time immemorial,
these languages have developed here
and they contain priceless environmental knowledge
that helps us relate well to the land on which we live.
But they are, in fact, in danger.
The vast majority of Indigenous languages in North America
are considered endangered,
and those that are not endangered are vulnerable.
That is by design.
In our laws, in our policies,
in our houses of governance,
there have been stated attempts
to eliminate Indigenous languages and cultures in this country.
Duncan Campbell Scott
was one of the architects of the residential school system.
On tabling a bill that required mandatory residential school attendance
在 1920 年提出的 一项要求土著儿童
for Indigenous children in 1920, he said,
"I want to get rid of the Indian problem.
Our objective is to continue
until there is not a single Indian in Canada
that has not been absorbed into the body politic
and there is no Indian question, and no Indian Department;
that is the whole object of this Bill."
The atrocities that occurred in residential schools were documented.
P.H. Bryce, who was a doctor and an expert in tuberculosis,
P. H. · 布莱斯， 一位医生兼结核病专家，
published a report that found that in some schools,
25 percent of children had died from tuberculosis epidemics
created by the conditions in the schools.
In other schools, up to 75 percent of children had died.
He was defunded by federal government
for his findings,
forced into retirement in 1921,
他也被迫在 1921 年退休。
and in 1922, published his findings widely.
And through that time,
Indigenous children were taken from their homes,
taken from their communities
and forced into church-run residential schools
where they suffered, in many cases,
serious emotional, physical and sexual abuse,
and in all cases, cultural abuse,
as these schools were designed
to eliminate Indigenous language and culture.
The last residential school closed in 1996.
最后一个寄宿学校于 1996 年关闭。
Until that time, 150,000 children or more attended residential schools
直到那时，已有至少 15 万名儿童被送入了
at 139 institutions across the country.
遍布全国的 139 所寄宿学校。
the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement came into effect.
It's the largest class action lawsuit in Canadian history.
It set aside 60 million dollars
for the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
The TRC gifted us with the ability to hear survivor stories,
to hear impacts on communities and families
and to gain access to research
that explored the full effect of residential schools
on Indigenous communities and on Canada as a whole.
The TRC found that residential schools
constituted what's called cultural genocide.
They state that, "Physical genocide is the mass killing of the members
of a targeted group,
biological genocide is the destruction of that group's reproductive capacity.
And cultural genocide is the destruction of those structures and practices
that allow the group to continue as a group."
The stated goals of Duncan Campbell Scott.
So they find that it's cultural genocide,
although as children's author
and a great speaker David Bouchard points out,
when you build a building,
and you build a cemetery next to that building,
because you know the people going into that building are going to die,
what do you call that?
The TRC also gifted us with 94 calls to action,
TRC 也赋予了我们 94 条采取行动的呼吁。
beacons that can lead the way forward as we work to reconciliation.
Several of those pertain directly to language and culture.
The TRC calls us to ensure adequate, funded education,
TRC 呼吁我们确保 能够实现充分和长期的教育，
including language and culture.
To acknowledge Indigenous rights, including language rights.
To create an Aboriginal Languages Act
aimed at acknowledging and preserving Indigenous languages,
with attached funding.
To create a position for an Aboriginal Languages Commissioner
and to develop postsecondary language programs
as well as to reclaim place names that have been changed
through the course of colonization.
At the same time as the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement
the United Nations adopted
在 2007 年，
the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People
It states that Indigenous people have the right to establish and control
their own education systems and institutions
providing education in their own languages,
in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods
of teaching and learning.
when that was brought into effect,
four countries voted against it.
They were the United States, New Zealand, Australia
Canada adopted the United Nations
加拿大政府在 2010 年
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People in 2010.
And in 2015, the government promised to bring it into effect.
并于 2015 年 承诺宣言正式生效。
So how are we collectively going to respond?
Here's the situation that we're in.
Of the 60 currently spoken Indigenous languages in Canada,
在加拿大目前的 60 种土著语言中，
all but six are considered endangered by the United Nations.
So, the six that aren't are Cree, Anishinaabemowin,
Dene and Inuktitut.
And that sounds really dire.
But if you go on to the Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger
through the UNESCO website,
you'll see a little "r" right next to that language right there.
That language is Mi'kmaq.
Mi'kmaq has undergone significant revitalization
because of the adoption of a self-government agreement
that led to culture and language-based education,
and now there are Mi'kmaq children
who have Mi'kmaq as their first language.
There's so much that we can do.
These children are students
in the Mnidoo Mnising Anishinabek Kinoomaage,
一所名为“Mnidoo Mnising Anishinabek Kinoomaage"的
an immersion school on Manitoulin island,
where they learn in Anishinaabemowin.
They arrived at school in junior kindergarten
speaking very little, if any, Anishinaabemowin.
And now, in grade three and grade four,
they're testing at intermediate and fluent levels.
they have beautifully high self-esteem.
They are proud to be Anishinaabe people,
and they have strong learning skills.
Not all education has to be formal education either.
In our local community,
we have the Kingston Indigenous Language Nest.
KILN is an organization now,
but it started six years ago with passionate community members
但它却是 6 年前，由热心的社区居民
gathered around an elder's kitchen table.
Since then, we have created weekend learning experiences
aimed at multigenerational learning,
where we focus on passing language and culture on to children.
We use traditional games, songs, foods and activities to do that.
at both the beginner and intermediate levels
offered right here.
We've partnered with school boards and libraries
to have resources and language in place in formal education.
The possibilities are just endless,
and I'm so grateful for the work that has been done
to allow me to pass language and culture on to my son
and to other children within our community.
We've developed a strong, beautiful, vibrant community as well,
as a result of this shared effort.
So what do we need moving forward?
First of all, we need policy.
We need enacted policy with attached funding
that will ensure that Indigenous language
is incorporated meaningfully into education,
both on and off reserve.
On reserve, education is funded at significantly lower levels
than it is off reserve.
Indigenous language education is often neglected,
because people assume
that Indigenous people are not present in provincial schools,
when actually, around 70 percent of Indigenous people in Canada today
但事实上，如今在加拿大， 约有 70% 的土著人
live off reserve.
Those children have equal right to access their language and culture.
Beyond policy, we need support.
And that doesn't just mean financial support.
We need space where we can carry out activities,
classes and interaction with nonindigenous populations as well.
that looks like people wanting to learn the language.
We need support where people talk about why these languages are important.
And to achieve that, we need education.
We need access to immersion education primarily,
as that is most certainly the most effective way
to ensure the transmission of Indigenous languages.
But we also need education in provincial schools,
we need education for the nonindigenous populations
so that we can come to a better mutual understanding
and move forward in a better way together.
I have this quote hanging in a framed picture on my office wall.
It was a gift from a settler ally student that I taught a few years ago,
and it reminds me every day
that we can achieve great things if we work together.
But if we're going to talk about reconciliation,
we need to acknowledge
that a reconciliation that does not result
in the survivance and continuation of Indigenous languages and cultures
is no reconciliation at all.
It is assimilation,
and it shouldn't be acceptable to any of us.
But what we can do is look to the calls to action,
we can look to the United Nations Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous People
and we can come to a mutual understanding
that what we have,
in terms of linguistic and cultural heritage
for Indigenous people in this country,
Based on that, we can step forward,
to ensure that Indigenous languages are passed on
beyond 2050, beyond the next generation,
不只是到 2050 年， 不只是到下一代，
into the next seven generations.
Miigwech. Niawen’kó:wa. Thank you.
Miigwech. Niawen’kó:wa. 谢谢！