In this episode we will be exploring language and education. The reasons why the Mi’kmaq language is in a desperate state are not mysterious. The Mi’kmaq language is threatened by the legacy of colonialism, from residential schools to the modern education curriculum.
In the last podcast episode of PJILASI MI’KMA’KI, we heard about the ‘Sixties Scoop’, where Aboriginal children were stripped from their families and placed into Non-Native homes. The Sixties Scoop was also an attack on language.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission recently affirmed what tens of thousands of Aboriginal peoples in Canada have known for generations; that cultural genocide has taken place in this country on a massive scale. Attempting to kill the Indigenous languages of Canada is a prime example of “taking the Indian out of the child”. Perry Belgarde, in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report, noted that resuscitating the country’s remaining 58 Indigenous languages must be a priority of reconciliation efforts.
“Losing my language is one of my biggest regrets,” says Bert Milbert, an Ojibway ‘Sixties Scoop’ adoptee. “Because we did speak when we were younger. And I think that there’s a percentage of incompleteness within me by not speaking my own language.”