Assembly of First Nations
The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) co-hosted an event April 22 at United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York called Achieving the Promise of the International Year of Indigenous Languages – Outcomes, Legacies and Future Work. This event is part of the annual sessions of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild spoke on behalf of Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde, stating: "Recognition and support of Indigenous languages is a vital aspect of implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples."
Grand Chief Littlechild was honored today by having the Ambassador's board room named after him at the Canadian Mission.
Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde said, "We lift up and honor Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild for his leadership and his long-term advocacy for Indigenous rights nationally and on the international stage. The Assembly of First Nations' presence at these international forums helps advance our priorities and build bridges among all our peoples."
The event was co-organized by the Assembly of First Nations and the Permanent Missions of Ecuador and Canada, with additional sponsorship by the Missions of Norway and Australia. It featured a keynote address by Her Excellency María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the United Nations General Assembly, signaling high-level support for the event and for action to strengthen Indigenous languages. Based on a recommendation by the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL). The International Year of Indigenous Languages seeks to promote and protect Indigenous languages and improve the lives of those who speak them and contribute to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.
In December 2016, Prime Minister Trudeau responded to years of advocacy by the Assembly of First Nations, First Nations and the National Chief to create an Indigenous Languages Act which has now been tabled as Bill C-91. The Assembly of First Nations co-developed the legislation to ensure that First Nation perspectives, priorities and rights were included, and is pushing for the legislation to be passed before the end of the current session of Parliament.
The text of the National Chief's remarks to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues will be available on the Assembly of First Nations website at www.afn.ca. The Assembly of First Nations will be participating in the Forum over the next two weeks.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada. Follow The Assembly of First Nations on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.