Language and Culture (13-17): Current Problems

Objections to Bill C-92

March 1, 2022


Indigenous artist denied participation because his Indigenous songs didn’t have enough French

Mar. 1, 2022: The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) – is dismayed to learn that one of its most influential artists has been denied participation in the Festival international de la chanson de Granby (FICG) because of the predominantly Indigenous language content of his songs.

Indeed, the performance of Samian, a multidisciplinary Anishinabeg artist, at the FICG was refused because he could not provide an adequate quota of songs in French in the eyes of the organizers.

“It is with dismay that I realize that my struggle over the past 15 years to promote First Nations culture and languages is not over, despite the few advances I have seen,” says Samian.

Let us remember that the languages of the First Nations are not a threat to Quebec’s heritage but rather the very essence of the First Peoples. Despite several observations on the fragility of these languages and even though UNESCO has dedicated the next decade to the revitalization of Indigenous languages, the fight remains; the reaction of the FICG is proof of this.

“The position of the FICG mirrors the position of the Quebec provincial government which, with its Bill 96, imposes French to the detriment of the first languages of Indigenous peoples. Another example of a colonial ideology well established in Quebec,” declared AFNQL Chief Ghislain Picard.

The AFNQL does not expect the Quebec government to raise a finger to denounce the FICG’s decision since it is in line with the positions put forward by Bill 96 which penalizes the First Nations, hence turning a deaf ear to the positions proposed by the communities.

It is to be noted that ADISQ, in an effort of recognition and reconciliation, dedicates a Felix for the Indigenous artist of the year since 2019. This award is given to an Indigenous artist whether he or she expresses himself or herself in his or her ancestral mother tongue or in French.

February 5, 2019

Fed. Govt.

Inuit recommendations for “Indigenous Language Act ignored

Inuit Tapariit Kanatami – Failure to incorporate Inuit specific recommendations into the Indigenous Language Act. “Inuktut speakers make up the majority of the population in Inuit Nunangat yet the federal government allocates a larger share of public sector resources for the English and French speaking minority populations,” the position paper prepared by ITK states.

ITK also wants the new legislation to require federal services to be delivered in Inuktut within Inuit Nunangat. “Access to federal services in Inuktut is vital for Inuit, especially in Nunavut and Nunavik where Inuktut is the majority mother tongue,” the report states. Inuktut is the common language spoken by 84 per cent of Inuit living in 51 communities. Inuit priorities communicated to the federal government during the discussion phase:

  • status of Inuktut in Inuit Nunangat with respect to federal laws and activities;
  • use of Inuktut in the delivery of federal programs and services in Inuit Nunangat and elsewhere where numbers warrant;
  • without restricting the responsibilities of provincial, territorial and municipal governments, measures to support the provision of Inuktut programs and services in relation to education, health and the administration of justice;
  • use of Inuktut in the federal public service;
  • principles to govern federal financial support for Inuktut;
  • the role of Inuit representative organizations in the negotiation of intergovernmental agreements in relation to Inuktut; and,
  • timelines and schedules for implementation measures, supported by appropriate regulatory and other tools.

June 26, 2019

Fed. Govt.

ITK and NTI objections to Bill C-92

Nunatsiak News – Inuit Tapariit Kanatami and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc raised the following objections:

  1. Bill does not recognize Inuktut as an official language within the 4 regions of Inuit Nunangat and requires
  2. Inuit to use English or French to access federal services
  3. Federal departments and agencies do not have to offer services in Inuit language
  4. Inequitable federal funding policies that favor English and French vs Inuit
  5. Inuit in provinces must use English or French to access language services

June 20, 2019

Fed. Govt.

ITK disappointed in Bill C-92

Inuit Tapariit Kanatami (ITK) regrets that Bill C-91, “An Act respecting Indigenous languages“, passed into law without inclusion of any Inuit-specific priorities. In its current format, this law does not affirm Inuit language rights or close the legal and policy gaps that contribute to the erosion of Inuktut as the first, only or preferred language spoken by Inuit in Inuit Nunangat, and does not create any new legal obligations for the Government of Canada.