Tag: indigenous

2019: International Year of Indigenous Languages

Last month, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on the rights of indigenous peoples, stressing the urgent need to preserve, promote and revitalize endangered languages, and proclaimed 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages, inviting UNESCO to “serve as the lead agency for the Year.” The text which is co-authored by the Plurinational State of Bolivia...

2019: International Year of Indigenous Languages

Last month, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on the rights of indigenous peoples, stressing the urgent need to preserve, promote and revitalize endangered languages, and proclaimed 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages, inviting UNESCO to "serve as the lead agency for the Year." The text which is co-authored by the Plurinational State of Bolivia...

Adopt an Emoji, Save a Language

The Unicode Consortium, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing the computing industry standard for digital writing systems, is allowing people to adopt an emoji or any Unicode character in order to give speakers of more languages the ability to communicate online. English was the first language used online and by the mid 1990’s made up 80% of web-based content. Now 80% of the...

The True Tongue of the Tsimshian Tribe

The language of the Tsimshian tribe of the Pacific Northwest is called Sm'algyax (alternatively spelled Shm'algyack), which directly translates to, “real or true tongue.” In order to give the Tsimshian children a sense of cultural identity, Donna Roberts, one of the last fluent speakers of the tribe’s language, will embark on a three-year teaching project in Metlakatla, Alaska to...

Fostering Taiwan’s Indigenous Languages

The Executive Yuan, the executive branch of the Government of the Republic of China, approved a bill to foster the development of indigenous languages in Taiwan, introducing accreditation tests for aboriginal language proficiency and public signage in indigenous languages. Of Taiwan's 42 languages and dialects, nine are considered vulnerable (Amis, Bunun, Paiwan, Puyuma, Rukai, Taroko, Tayal, Tsou, and Yami), five are...

Indigenous Peoples Day vs. Columbus Day

Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1942 to "discover" the Americas. His arrival has been celebrated by American citizens on the 2nd Monday of October since Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1937, but recently more and more cities are instead observing Indigenous Peoples Day to commemorate the history and contributions of indigenous peoples across the country. Those against the...

Navajo Nation Loosens Language Requirement for Leadership

Recently, the collective voice of the Navajo Nation passed a referendum to change the language requirements for the positions of tribal president and vice president. The referendum eliminates the need for potential leaders to be fluent in Navajo, giving voters more freedom in who they can elect for office. Starting with the 2018 election, there will be a possibility...

Peru Officially Recognizes 24 Indigenous Languages

The Peruvian Ministry of Education worked with indigenous communities to officially recognize the alphabets of 24 indigenous languages. The measure states; "Thus, these 24 alphabets should be used by public entities every time they have to issue written information addressed to these ethnic groups, as it is established by the Law 29735, which regulates the use, preservation, development, recovery,...

Indigenous Languages and Digital Activism

Using technology to research and preserve indigenous languages and cultures is a growing trend in various countries. The New South Wales government announced funding for the use of smart technology to preserve Aboriginal languages and in the United States groups have begun to promote native languages with mobile applications. Internet users in Colombia have also been actively using digital media tools to revitalize...

Will You Accept the Indigenous Language Challenge?

In the same vein as the ice-bucket challenge that raised awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a video challenge to raise awareness and fostering respect for speakers of indigenous languages is going strong after seven months and thousands of videos. The Indigenous Language Challenge prompts speakers to record a video in an indigenous language and then call out someone...