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January 2007

The National First Nations Language Conference

This conference, held November 13-15, 2006 at the Winnipeg Convention Centre was hosted by the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre, in partnership with the Assembly of First Nations, Canadian Heritage and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.
This three day gathering had an attendance of over six hundred delegates from across Canada

This conference focused on language retention, loss of language, culture and language revitalization. The key areas were on a comprehensive planning process to identify resources, community needs and language immersion planning at the community level. The purpose of this conference was also to provide a forum for First Nation people to discuss and respond to the Aborginal Task Force on Language and Culture Foundational Report and Recommendations.

The keynote address was by an outstanding Native American leader in education, Ryan S. Wilson. He is the 2005-06 President of the National Indian Education Association in Washington, DC. The message Ryan S. Wilson was one of inspiration.

Another outstanding highlight of the conference banquet was the honouring ceremony for Ruth Norton, MFNERC First Nations Language. Mrs. Norton’s outstanding accomplishments in First Nations education over a forty year period and her ongoing determination to retain and revitalize First Nations languages were recognized. Mrs. Norton was also the key coordinator on the National First Nations Language Conference.