Dozens gather to celebrate Manitoba’s Indigenous languages

Indigenous groups are decrying a decision by the Quebec human rights commission not to investigate allegations of systemic racism in youth protection. They believe the decision, along with alleged acts of discrimination, are further proof that there's still much work to do. (Global News). Rosanna Hempel / Global News

Dozens gathered to celebrate Manitoba’s Indigenous community and its seven languages through comedy, dance and music on Sunday at the Forks.

This year’s Indigenous Languages Festival is an event for the community to heal, said Dennis Chartrand, Indigenous Languages Festival Emcee.

“What I learned was from my elders and speakers, and what I’m sharing is from them, so it’s honouring them, but sharing with the youth today,” he said.

“When we do that, we heal the things that we didn’t have a chance to heal, especially the language loss that everybody knows that we experienced, the culture loss and the disconnection with family.”

Sunday’s lineup featured comedy, dance, and musical acts performed in several Indigenous languages.

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“It makes me feel … my heart, it swells with pride,” said Lorraine George, Winnipeg Ininímowin (Cree) Instructor.

George learned Cree from her grandparents and teaches the language in Winnipeg. She’s noticed an increase in the number of people wanting to learn, ever since the discover of unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

“They want to give back to their children, what our ancestors left us.”

Winnipegger Tyra Fountain, who’s currently learning Ojibwe, brought her seven-year-old daughter to the event.

“I believe that is our future generation, and I want her to know the language,” she said.

— With files from Rosanna Hempel 

Click to play video: 'University College of the North working to preserve culture, heritage, and language'
University College of the North working to preserve culture, heritage, and language

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