Why is it that indigenous people do not speak their native language? We are often asked, "Why do you not speak your native language? How come no one speaks the native language anymore?" Watch this video to find out why the native language of the Anishinaabe people isn't spoken anymore so that you can understand how to respectfully address this topic with indigenous people, and you could also share the correct facts with your friends.
Why do native people in Canada not speak their native language? If you've ever wondered why native languages such as Anishinaabemowin are rarely spoken, then we're here to share the three reasons why Anishinaabemowin and other native languages are fading away. Many reasons that society believes that the native languages aren't spoken just aren't true at all. Maybe you think that native people are just lazy or they haven't made it a priority to pass down the language and the culture to their youth. By the end of this video, you will know exactly why only a very small percentage of native people in Canada can speak their native language.
Indigenous people of Canada consists of many First Nations groups, or nations. One of the largest groups is the Anishinaabek nation, which is the nation that I am a part of. Anishinaabemowin is the language of the Anishinaabek people. We've been asked this question so many times and many people have misinformation on why a majority of indigenous people don't speak their native tongues, and this video is to help explain why that is.
There are three main reasons why native languages aren't spoken anymore in Canada. The first reason why native people don't speak their native language is because in the past all schools enforced that the native language be illegal. For my grandparent's generation, it was illegal to speak Anishinaabemowin. This was called the Indian Residential Schools, which was an entire network of boarding schools designed specifically for indigenous people. If you've never heard of this before, check out this video right here on the timeline of the residential schools. Residential schools were designed to absorb the indigenous people into the society of the settlers and to get rid of the native language and the native culture altogether. These government funded schools separated kids from their families in order to maintain complete control of their environment. If indigenous youth spoke their first language, whether it be Anishinaabemowin, Cree, or Iroquois, they experienced strict punishment and abuse. So that is the first reason why indigenous people of Canada do not speak their native language.
The second reason why native people of Canada do not speak their native language is for decades parents were still afraid and even ashamed to pass on the language to their children. So because of the trauma experienced at the residential schools and the Indian day schools, indigenous survivors became parents and taught their kids how to speak English instead of their native language. From the mid-1800s until just recently, the 1960s, powwows were also illegal, and you definitely weren't allowed to speak your native language in the schools that were now integrated with the non-native students. Around this time was the generation of my parents who learned some native language at home, but English is what was primarily taught from birth as there was such strong traumatic damage to their cultural identity and self worth. The school system hadn't allowed the native languages to be taught in them yet, so there was a 20 to 30 year age gap of indigenous people that didn't learn their language unless they picked up on words from their elders. Do you know people who can speak Anishinaabemowin or another native language fluently? If so, please share with us in the comments below.
The third reason why native people do not speak their native language is the network effect. Meaning that it requires people to speak it in order for more people to speak it. A network effect means the value of something increases according to how many people are using it, or in this case, speaking it. It wasn't until very recently that Aboriginal languages were taught in school. There is so limited people to converse with that there is little motivation to learn the language. There are still groups of elders that practice the language and converse with each other, but in terms of middle-age to younger adults, there are only a handful of people that can fluently speak their native language. The only thing that could bring the language back is the youth believing in the value of learning their culture and learning their language.
So now we've explained the three reasons why native people in Canada do not speak their native language, which are, one: all schools enforced the native language to be illegal. Two: parents were still afraid to teach their kids their native language. And three: the network of native speakers is so small. Now, after watching this video, you should know exactly why native people do not speak their native language, so you can feel good about your understanding with the indigenous community and also share this knowledge with your friends and family. If you are wanting to learn more about the various sacred medicines in the indigenous culture and the smudging process, then download our free smudging guide in the link in the description below. Be sure to check us out at tribaltradeco.com and message us on Facebook or Instagram if you have any questions. If you liked this video, please let us know by hitting the like button, telling us what you liked about it in the comments, be sure to subscribe and share it with your friends. Thank you so much for watching, I hope you have an amazing day and we will see you next time.
I was brought up in an English speaking society but in my retirement years I have taken the time and made the effort to study Spanish, Japanese and now Esperanto. All it takes is a little effort. I will probably never be called upon to show my abilities but I enjoy the challenge. It is rewarding to be able to pick up a paper in, say Spanish, and be able to get the gist of what is written.
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