In the early 1900s, colonizers subjected the indigenous people of Canada to Christianity and eliminating their traditional practices and beliefs (Samson, 2012). The indigenous people were taught English in school but were discouraged from speaking their native language. The indigenous people were driven out of their ancestral lands and were discouraged from practicing rituals. In regard to this, indigenous people began to seek cultural revitalization to get back to their way of life prior to colonization. In this view, cultural revitalization is a process through which unique cultures regain a sense of identity like promoting heritage, languages, and reviving traditions (Samson, 2012). In other words, it involves bringing back a way of life that was lost. In this paper, I will respond to cultural revitalization in Canada.
Summary of cultural revitalization
Cultural revitalization is the process of regaining a way of life of a community that was previously lost. After the colonization of Canada, the indigenous people lost their way of life as they were made to adapt to the colonizer’s way of life. For instance, about 93% of indigenous languages had become extinct because of colonization (Eckert et al. 2018). Despite Canada pushing indigenous cultural practices to the edge of extinction, there is still hope. Every day, more and more indigenous cultural revitalization efforts of all shapes are taking root. The first nations, Inuit and Metis, have remained active in participating in cultural activities across Canada. These people have pushed for recognition of indigenous cultural practices that were lost. The Inuit began working with the government to negotiate land claims and self-government.
Recently, the government of Canada began participating in the process of bringing back the lost way of life of the indigenous people. First, Honorable Pablo Rodríguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism announced that the Government of Canada is providing up to $2.3 million over two years to preserve, promote and revitalize indigenous languages in Saskatchewan (Bliss & Creed, 2018). Second, Canada’s colonized education system is opening new avenues to support the use of indigenous language. Some of the colleges, as well as universities in Canada, have launched Indigenous language programs, whereas others are collaborating, such as the Memorial University’s team up with the Nunatsiavut Government to establish children’s books in indigenous people’s dialect.
There exist different merits of cultural revitalization. First, a more accepting society is created in Canada because of the ongoing cultural revitalization. The students are allowed to learn the indigenous language in various Universities and colleges. It ensures that people whose first language is French or Métis and Inuit languages can receive education in their native language. Through cultural revitalization, the government of Canada recognized the rights of the Inuit and gave them about 350,000 square kilometers of land as well as control of all the natural resources in their lands (Mulrennan & Scott, 2011). It means that the government allowed the indigenous people’s right to fish, hunt, and trap in their lands without a license.
Points of agreement
I agree with cultural revitalization. First, the main aim of cultural revitalization is to heal the indigenous people from the pain caused during colonization. Cultural revitalization is the new tool that the indigenous people to connect with their culture that was lost. Countries must learn to respect and value the cultural practices and traditions of every community. Secondly, I agree with cultural revitalization because it supports diversity. Allowing every indigenous language to be taught in Universities and colleges sends a message to people of the existence of different cultures in the country. Third, I agree with cultural revitalization because it touches on the integration of language and culture in education and healthcare settings for quality education and improved healthcare outcomes, respectively.
New learning acquired
I have learned many things in cultural revitalization. First, I have learned that cultural identity is an important aspect of everyone’s life. An individual who has lost his or her culture is like one who does not know their origin. In this view, losing one’s identity is like being subjected to slavery. Secondly, I have learned that it is important for governments to value and respect the cultures of different communities. The authorities should not interfere with the harmless cultural practices and traditions of indigenous people. In this view, I mean the government can only come to stop practices like sacrificing people.
The Canadian government should continue supporting the cultural revitalization of the indigenous people. Through this, Canada will help in healing the pains inflicted on the indigenous people during the colonial period. Besides, the Canadian government, other governments, people, as well as relevant authorities, should learn to appreciate and protect different cultures.
Cultural revitalization is an important process in any country. The indigenous people in Canada and other parts of the world went through cultural erosion in the hands of the Colonizers. They were forced to adopt colonizers’ way of life and were discouraged from practicing their traditions and beliefs. In this light, governments, individuals, and agencies should work together to support cultural revitalization to bring back the lost cultural practices that were essential to the people.
Bliss, H., & Creed, M. (2018). Costing Models for Language Maintenance, Revitalization, and Reclamation in Canada. First Peoples’ Cultural Council.
Eckert, L. E., Ban, N. C., Tallio, S. C., & Turner, N. (2018). Linking marine conservation and Indigenous cultural revitalization. Ecology and Society, 23(4).
Mulrennan, M. E., & Scott, C. H. (2011). Canadian Northern Seas. Aboriginal Autonomy and Development in Northern Quebec and Labrador, 78.
Samson, C. (2012). The future of the past: Cultural revitalization as a means of addressing the unjust dialogue with indigenous peoples in Canada (and elsewhere).