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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: July 2019

14 - Language, Land, and Stewardship

from Part III - The Canadian Context


The Indigenous languages of North America once constituted the entire human linguistic landscape of the continent, and played a vital role in the early relationships between Indigenous peoples and European explorers and traders. In the modern national era, however, those languages have been relegated to a footnote, and the few efforts to include them in legislation and policy have done little to change their marginal status. In this chapter I examine the increasing prominence of linguistic issues in Indigenous political and cultural movements in North America, together with relevant aspirational declarations and policy statements. From this foundation, I argue that reconciliation, as a political and social process aimed at achieving greater parity and justice between Indigenous and settler peoples in North America, offers more promising grounds, ontologically, epistemologically, and ethically, for the management of language diversity in general, and suggest some specific policy directions for more detailed exploration.

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