“This is for our people” Aboriginal community leaders explain Canadian Human Rights Act in Indigenous dialects
June 19, 2015 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Human Rights Commission
More Indigenous people in Canada can now access information about their rights through new videos developed by the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC). The videos are available in Ojibway, Swampy Cree, and Dene and help guide people who are experiencing discrimination.
Part of the inspiration for making the videos was to lend weight to efforts to preserve Indigenous languages, suppressed over many generations in Residential Schools. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has recently called for recognition of Aboriginal language rights along with other efforts to preserve Indigenous languages.
The videos were produced by Earthlore, an Indigenous-owned communications firm. Earthlore reached out to communities across the country to find talented individuals to explain the foundations of the Canadian Human Rights Act in traditional languages.
Wilmer Noganosh, who narrated the Ojibway video, is a highly respected Elder and former Chief of the Magnetawan First Nation. When asked why he agreed to participate in the project, Wilmer answered: “This is for our people.”
Theresa Hall, the narrator of the Cree video, was the first female Chief of Attawapiskat First Nation and the first Cree female from the James Bay community to be appointed as a Justice of the Peace.
Allan Adam, the narrator of the Dene video, is one of the country’s most proficient experts in the traditional language of Dene. He also worked for 11 years as a CBC radio journalist in La Ronge and Yellowknife and provided commentary in Dene for APTN National News during the 2010 Olympics.
The videos can be found on the CHRC’s new YouTube channel.
- Statistics Canada’s 2011 Census of Population recorded over 60 Aboriginal languages in Canada that are grouped into 12 distinct language families, of which Algonquian is the largest.
- Within the Algonquian language family, the most frequently reported mother tongue languages in 2011 were various Cree languages (83,475 people) followed by Ojibway (19,275 people). Within the Athapaskan language family, the most frequently reported mother tongue was Dene (11,860 people).
“These videos are a celebration of not only these three traditional languages but all the sacred Aboriginal dialects that were threatened by Canada’s residential school system for over a century.”
—Marie-Claude Landry, Ad. E., Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission
CHRC YouTube channel
Report on Equality Rights of Aboriginal People (CHRC 2013)