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Building Community Support and Alliances
Language retention and revitalization initiatives will only be effective if a majority of individuals and organizations at the community level understand and are committed to the tasks that must be accomplished. For this reason, the core group of language activists must do considerable work promoting the mission of language and cultural revitalization.

Building community support and alliances means relationship building. These relationships can be built by involving local agencies in the strategic planning process. It can also mean attending local meetings and keeping all agencies and decision-makers informed of the language goals and plans being set for the community. Commitments, even small commitments, to use the local language more must be solicited from both individuals and organizations. Be ready to provide suggestions on what could be done.

The simplest commitment from individuals is to learn and/or speak the language more - at home, at work, and in the community. Another important commitment is to support those people who do want to learn the language - don't laugh at their efforts and mistakes or they will very quickly give up. Agency commitments can include:

  • posting Aboriginal language signs;
  • ensuring that interpreter services are available at all times;
  • providing wage incentives for bilingual staff;
  • establishing bilingual policies (all staff, including non-Aboriginal staff, must begin learning the local language);
  • hosting Aboriginal language meetings and workshops on a regular basis; and
  • allocating or contributing resources to language and cultural activities.

A reasonable community framework for effective language activities would include:

  • a committee or society (governed by language activists) with a clear community mandate to coordinate language programs and services;
  • commitment from a large number of individuals to increase their use of the local Aboriginal language within home and community activities;
  • policies within all local organizations that support and encourage use of the local Aboriginal language; and
  • adequate resources to support a wide range of culturally-based language preservation, retention, and revitalization activities.

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