MP Georgina Jolibois Demands Better for Indigenous Languages

Ile-a-la-Crosse, SK – On Monday, NDP MP Georgina Jolibois (Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River) repeated her calls for better Indigenous Langauges legislation while attending the Michif Language Festival in Ile-a-la-Crosse.

Jolibois, who is a Dene speaker, was critical of Bill C-91, the Liberal government’s Indigenous Languages bill which is now going to the Senate. “It’s nothing more than a half-step towards what Indigenous languages speakers are looking for,” said Jolibois. “First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people are tired of being told that the government will do better later, that right now is just a small step forward. The Liberals had 4 years to work on this bill and chose to rush a bill through in the last 4 months.”

“We made an active effort to improve this bill based on what we heard from Elders, language keepers, academics, and educators,” added Jolibois. “Our amendments were rejected by the Liberals. The bill does not truly reflect what is needed on the ground, and I’m pledging today to make sure Indigenous languages and their educators are recognized, protected, and funded based on what is actually needed.”

“I’ve spoken with language keepers and educators, and a lot of them feel like they’re being held hostage by this government. The urgency of languages legislation is clear, and action needs to be taken now to protect our languages,” said Jolibois. “Indigenous people are being forced to accept minor improvements over nothing at all, and that doesn’t sound like free, prior, and informed consent to