February is Indigenous Languages Month (ILM) in the Northwest Territories, but we’ve extended our Bingo challenge until March 10! We want everyone to have a chance to learn, speak, share and live NWT's Indigenous languages. This year’s ILM theme is “I’m in”, as in, I will participate! I will take part!
Indigenous Languages Month isn’t just for the NWT’s fluent speakers; it’s also for non-Indigenous folks. ILM is an opportunity for anyone to demonstrate good intentions and respect. It’s for local Indigenous people who haven’t had a chance to learn their mother language, and for Indigenous visitors to the north to acknowledge and thank their hosts. Revitalization through sharing and promoting Indigenous languages is an act of reconciliation. ILM is a way to begin.
Learning another language offers more than just a way to communicate verbally. It can also expand one’s world view and understanding. Many common English and French phrases don’t have exact equivalents in Indigenous languages. Learning why provides a glimpse into concepts and values that are specific to the history and practices of peoples and places.
The United Nations declared 2022-2033 the International Decade of Indigenous Languages to promote, preserve and revitalize Indigenous languages around the world. No matter who you are, participating in NWT Indigenous Languages Month 2023 is a simple, but important, way to show your support for Indigenous languages and peoples in the north. Are you in?
Indigenous Languages Month Bingo cards are available here.
• Kristie Leach, Community Literacy Coordinator