FEL Resolution: Toponymy in the Commonwealth

Nicholas Ostler nostler at CHIBCHA.DEMON.CO.UK
Fri Oct 31 11:54:14 UTC 2003

Dear Listers and FEL members

You may be interested to learn of the following resolution passed at
the Annual General meeting of Foundation for Endangered Languages, at
Broome, West Australia, on 23 September 2003.

(The theme of the conference, during which the AGM took place, was
Maintaining the Links: Language, Identity and the Land.)

Commonwealth Heads of Government Secretariat
Commonwealth Policy Studies Unit
Commonwealth Association for Indigenous PeoplesÊ (CAIP)

·	Thousands of world languages are at risk of dying out;
·	Geographic  place names are an important record and
expression of peopleÕs knowledge, heritage and culture;
·	Geographic place names may carry valuable ecological,
environmental, spiritual, moral and cultural meanings;
·	The process of European and other colonisation of indigenous
peoplesÕ territories has led to the removal or distortion of
geographic place names;
·	The practice of various Commonwealth governments is notably
uneven with regard to restitution of indigenous place names;
·	There is a Commonwealth Association of Indigenous Peoples
which has called for greater awareness and dialogue in the
Commonwealth on the issue of indigenous peoplesÕ rights and
·	2004 is the final year of the United Nations Decade on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples;

Be it resolved that:
The Foundation for Endangered Languages calls on Commonwealth
Governments and the Commonwealth Secretariat to take appropriate
actions to promote the use of orthographically correct and properly
documented place names, particularly those in endangered languages
and the languages of indigenous and tribal peoples.

                        Nicholas  Ostler
              Foundation for Endangered Languages
		UK Registered Charity 1070616

              Batheaston Villa,  172 Bailbrook Lane
              Bath           BA1 7AA        England
              +44-1225-85-2865 fax +44-1225-85-9258
                   nostler at chibcha.demon.co.uk

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