"if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen
the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu.

Punjabi Language campaigners extend support to Mi'kmaq demand for official status Featured

                                             

The demand for official status for the Mi'kmaq language has received support from the Punjabi community in BC. 

A campaign has been going in Nova Scotia for official status for Mi'kmaq as an important indigenous language. Those in the forefront of the campaign want it to be used on street signs. 

BC-based Punjabi Language Education Association (PLEA), which has been struggling for the recognition of Punjabi language for more than a decade, has extended support to the campaign for Mi'kmaq. 

Established in 1993, PLEA has been instrumental in getting Punjabi introduced in BC schools. It also organizes the annual Mother Language Day every year in the month of February to promote the Punjabi language. 

Balwant Sanghera, one of the cofounders of PLEA, says that it is important to acknowledge that Canada was built on the traditional lands of the indigenous peoples. "We must remember that there were attempts to kill indigenous languages and culture through Indian Residential School system during colonization," Sanghera told Radical Desi. For this reason he finds it necessary to support any demand that can help in rejuvenating a native language. 

"I understand that Mi'kmaq language has survived for 10,000 years and it is important to give it an official status." He also insisted that since Punjabis share a history of racism and colonialism with the First Nations, the South Asians must support this demand. He further pointed out that there was a need to break stereotypes about First Nations among the immigrants too. "What they (immigrants) need to be told is that aboriginals have been facing structural racism for centuries. They over represent their population in jails, which is unacceptable." 

 

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Last modified on Wednesday, 03 January 2018 01:10
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