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Mother Language Day Event

Updated: Mar 8, 2022

We had a spectacular time hosting our International Mother Language Day event. It was very special for us to have Carolann Jane Duro join us for an interview and an introduction into her Indigenous Book Club.

If you’d like to watch the interview again between Stephanie and Carolann, here is the recording:

After the interview, our Executive Director, Stephanie Witkowski, and Carolann discussed chapters 1-4 of Anton Treuer’s book, “The Language Warrior’s Manifesto”. This discussion sparked really meaningful conversations among both of our hosts and the attendees. We had a more open-forum dynamic towards the end of the event where guests were encouraged to join in the conversation– we were so impressed with the fantastic discussion that ensued.

One of the main topics of the book club discussion was the correlation between overall holistic health and language revitalization. So many people see the varying challenges that Indigenous communities face, and believe that language revitalization is simply not a priority… but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. There is concrete evidence that shows communities with higher numbers of speakers have lower rates of suicide, crime and drug/alcohol abuse. Students who have access to their Indigenous language and culture perform better in a number of academic subjects. Many of the issues people view as more pressing than revitalizing one’s language are actually directly related to it.

When you support endangered language revitalization, you are also giving communities the opportunity to thrive in a variety of ways. When something as crucial as language is stolen from you, there is deep seeded trauma attached to that. This intergenerational trauma is what causes so many of the debilitating crises that Indigenous communities face on a regular basis. There is a beautiful quote from Anton’s book that perfectly encapsulates the importance of revitalizing these sacred Indigenous languages and allowing communities to restore their identity and culture:

“When I advocate for Indigenous language revitalization, I often encounter a quiet form of passive resistance. Many think the language is nice or pretty– like the song of a bird in the forest. There’s a sense that the forest and especially humans don’t depend on that sound for anything; it doesn’t fill bellies or help people lead loner, healthier, happier lives. But nothing could be farther from the truth. Physical, mental, and spiritual health are deeply intertwined. There is no way to improve our health without taking a full, holistic approach. We can’t stop the bludgeon of forced assimilation. Instead, we need to decolonize and re-Indigenize everything we do. This is where real healing will come from.”

When you support our work you help Indigenous communities and individuals heal. Click the button below to donate.

P.S. We have a wonderful event planned for St. Patrick’s Day that will highlight the work and lives of three diverse and inspiring Irish-speakers. They will discuss how they are actively decolonizing their language. Keep an eye on your inboxes and our social media for more information!

- The 7000 Languages Team

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