Original Languages and Literature Conference

Gordon Bronitsky g.bronitsky at att.net
Fri Nov 26 03:53:13 UTC 2004

	I thought this announcement about a Native language writers and 
literacy festival in Canada might be of interest.

Gordon Bronitsky

Conference to celebrate Aboriginal languages and literature

Ottawa, Nov. 25, 2004 – Writers, storytellers and academic delegates 
experienced in Aboriginal languages and literature will gather in 
Penticton, B.C. this weekend for a national conference focusing on 
artistic creation, literacy and usage of original Aboriginal languages.


The first-ever Original Languages and Literature Conference (OLLC) will 
be held at the En’owkin Centre on November 26-28, and is co-sponsored 
by the En’owkin Centre and the Canada Council for the Arts. Other 
government supporters include the Department of Canadian Heritage and 
the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. Its purpose is to bring together 
Aboriginal language speakers, artists and academics to discuss original 
language literature and the arts – oral and written.


Federal statistics reveal that of Canada’s 50 Aboriginal languages, 47 
face extinction within one or two generations. Only Cree, Ojibwa and 
Inuktitut have sufficient speakers to survive future generations. 
Delegates representing many of these 50 languages will explore ways in 
which the arts can help revitalize languages, particularly for 
Aboriginal youth.


Invited delegates, keynote speakers and honourees include distinguished 
storytellers, writers, media professionals, performers, musicians and 
advocates whose work continues to support the recovery of original 
Aboriginal languages. Keynote speakers include Anishnawbe author and 
storyteller Basil Johnson, Métis author, playwright and filmmaker Maria 
Campbell, and Eva Aariak, Nunavut Languages Commissioner.


Representatives of government agencies have also been invited to 
attend, to provide information and observe the conference proceedings 
and activities.


“Throughout the conference, we hope to create an atmosphere of shared 
dialogue directed at the development and identification of key policy 
issues which support the revitalization of original languages and 
literatures,” said Jeannette Armstrong, Executive Director of the 
En’owkin Centre.


A special honouring ceremony will be held to recognize elders who, 
through their work in Aboriginal languages and literature, have 
advocated for the continued existence and recovery of those languages. 
There will also be an evening of artistic performances and readings 
which celebrate Aboriginal languages and literature.


For more information regarding the conference, contact Jeannette 
Armstrong at the En’owkin Centre at (250) 493-7181 or Louise 
Profeit-LeBlanc, Aboriginal Arts Coordinator of the Canada Council for 
the Arts at 1-800-263-5588, ext. 5212.



Media Contact:              Public Affairs, Research and Communications

                                    Donna Balkan (613) 566-4305 or 1 
800 263-5588, ext. 4134

            E-mail: donna.balkan at canadacouncil.ca

            Carole Breton (613) 566-4414 ext. 4523 or 1 800 263-5588, 
ext. 4523

            E-mail : carole.breton at canadacouncil.ca

                                    Visit our web site at 
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