Fredericton – Green Party MLA for Memramcook-Tantramar and education critic, Megan Mitton, tabled a bill to amend the Education Act to include indigenous languages in the public education curriculum.
“Systemic racism goes beyond policing. Indigenous languages have been systematically attacked for generations in the residential school systems, and then they were ignored in the public-school system,” says Mitton. “We are at the point of losing indigenous languages here in NB, there are fewer than 100 fluent, life-long Wolastoqey speakers and about 2000 Mi’kmaq speakers left in the province.”
The change would add the word language to Paragraph 7(b) of the Education Act, so that the line would read:
“The Minister shall prescribe or approve programs and services which foster an understanding of aboriginal history, language, and culture among all pupils.”
“In 2017 David Coon passed a bill with all-party support to ensure that indigenous history and culture is part of our school curriculum and this is the next logical step,” said Mitton. “If we are taking reconciliation and right relations with First Nations seriously, then working diligently to preserve language, which is an integral part of culture, is essential.”