Friday Afternoon at the United Nations: Calling on the United States and Canada for Staggering and Continued Failures

Indigenous News Online Listen to comments from the Friday afternoon forum of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Among the comments, a common theme was the dismal failure of the United States and Canada to end their official actions that destroy Indigenous languages ​​and cultures.

Nunavut calls for Inuktitut to be recognized as an official language

On the floor of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Friday, Aluki Kotierk (Inuk from Nunavut), president of Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, called on the permanent forum to intervene in Canada’s failure to address systemic discrimination in education.

In the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Nunavut is the only jurisdiction in the country where the predominant language spoken is neither French nor English. Yet the Government of Nunavut’s changes to Inuit language legislation in 2020 effectively curtailed the teaching of Inuktut by limiting language instruction in all subjects and grade levels to a single course. language of your choice.

“It’s linguicide,” Kotierk said in impassioned testimony Friday afternoon. “I urge the Government of Canada to recognize Inuktut as the official and founding language of Canada and Nunavut.

In October 2021, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated launched a lawsuit asserting the right of Inuit students to receive equal treatment in education in their language. But earlier this month, the Nunavut government filed a motion to dismiss the case — “arguing that the only rights to language education in Canada belong to Anglophones and Francophones under the Charter, and that the Inuit have no right to language in the context of education”. .”

“To date, more than 70% of Inuit youth drop out of school, or rather, are expelled due to a formal education system based on a foreign language and foreign culture,” Kotierk said. “Inuit students, who make up 94% of the student population, are being denied equal educational opportunity in our own language and culture…. The Inuit expect better and deserve better.

Members of the Young Diplomats of Canada congratulate the Nipawi Kakinoosit Center for testifying on their behalf on Friday afternoonjpegMembers of the Young Diplomats of Canada congratulate Nipawi Kakinoosit (centre) for testifying on their behalf on Friday afternoon. (Photo/Jenna Kunze)

Young Diplomats of Canada calls for the creation of a Youth Advisory Council

Nipawi Kakinoosit (Sucker Creek First Nation and Treaty 8 Hereditary Chief) — supported by other Young Diplomats of Canada delegates — stressed the importance of youth in the Permanent Forum.

Kakinoosit asked the Permanent Forum to consider three requests from the Young Diplomats, which were interrupted by applause from the delegates present.

These demands included: the creation of a Youth Advisory Council that would report to the main body; the opportunity to write a youth report each year to reflect on the reports and provide recommendations for consideration by the main body which; and to task the Youth Advisory Council with engagement, data collection and participation of youth in their respective regions to advocate for Indigenous youth interests and perspectives.

“Through the creation of a Youth Advisory Council, we believe human voices and Indigenous youth around the world will finally have a space to help build a future.”

chief ben barnesChief Ben Barnes of the Shawnee Nation prepares for his statement Friday afternoon. (Photo/Jenna Kunze)

Shawnee Nation Chief Ben Barnes Calls for Special Rapporteur on Residential School

During his first visit to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Chief Ben Barnes called on the Permanent Forum to appoint a special rapporteur to study the impacts of residential schools and re-education camps that have harmed indigenous peoples natives in all fields.

“The Shawnee feel compelled to speak out because the governments of the world have not made enough effort to encourage truth and reconciliation,” Barnes said in his three-minute statement Friday afternoon. “It is with this urgency that we call on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to appoint a special rapporteur to monitor, document and report to the Permanent Forum on the status of remedies and consultation between States members and indigenous peoples. The Shawnee reiterates the call to members of the Permanent Forum to consider a new focal point on re-education camps and schools.

Barnes told Native News Online ahead of his statement this afternoon that the “ruinous effects” of forced coercion or collusion to assimilate Indigenous peoples into mainstream society merit further scrutiny: “Where does this happen “He here today? How many dollars have we spent to take away our cultures, our languages ​​and our religion?”

Barnes said that in light of the United Nations Decade of Indigenous Languages ​​dedicated to the revitalization and preservation of Indigenous languages, it would be wise to take a closer look at the institutions that stripped Indigenous peoples of their languages. .

“Aren’t boarding schools the origin of all this? Aren’t boarding schools the cause of the erosion of our sovereignty and our cultures?

Oglala Lakota Youth calls for an end to mining in the Black Hills

Anpo Jensen (Oglala Lakota) spoke for the second time Friday afternoon, linking past and present mining in the Black Hills to disproportionately high suicide rates among young Oglala Lakota on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation .

Currently in the Black Hills, there are 13 patents pending for gold and uranium mining, Jensen said.

“The legacy of gold mining conducted without our consent and a violation of our 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty has led to mercury contamination of our waters. Mercury is a neurotoxin with irreversible effects on our babies It also causes chronic fatigue syndrome, which mimics the effects of depression,” Jensen told the United Nations Permanent Forum. “On the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, the suicide rate is 150 percent higher than that of the American population, which we believe is linked to this contamination, or health will only improve if mining stops.

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About the Author

Jenna Kunze
Author: Jenna KunzeE-mail: This email address is protected from spam. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Personal editor

Jenna Kunze is a reporter for Native News Online and Tribal Business News. His bylines have appeared in The Arctic Sounder, High Country News, Indian Country Today, Smithsonian Magazine and Anchorage Daily News. In 2020, she was one of 16 American journalists selected by the Pulitzer Center to report on the effects of climate change in the Arctic region of Alaska. Previously, she was a senior reporter at the Chilkat Valley News in Haines, Alaska. Kunze is based in New York.

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