The Nova Scotia government will co-develop legislation with Mi’kmaw Nations to preserve, protect and revitalize the Mi’kmaw language.
According to a statement from the provincial government, work will start with Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey, the collective voice for Mi’kmaw education, and other Mi’kmaw organizations and communities to develop legislation to support this effort.
“Mi’kmaw language revitalization is critical to understanding and preserving Mi’kmaw culture and supports ongoing reconciliation,” said Karla MacFarlane, minister of L’nu Affairs, the office in Nova Scotia responsible for coordinating the government’s responses to Indigenous issues.
The number of children under four years old learning to speak Mi’kmaw is declining, dropping over 20 per cent over the last 14 years and experts say if this trend continues no children will speak Mi’kmaw within six years.
Chief Leroy Denny of Eskasoni First Nation and education lead for the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs, says reviving Indigenous languages is more than childhood education.
“We can’t just rely on children to save the language, it has to be a community and the outside community as well, we need governments, we need our young people to beyond our community to see our language to hear the language that’s the key element of the legislation is that they’ll see the Mi’kmaw language across the land,” says Leroy.