HRH The Prince of Wales opens international conference on Indigenous languages

June 24, 2019

Indigenous language experts and champions from all over the world gathered in Victoria, B.C. today for the opening of an international conference focused on advancing global Indigenous language revitalization efforts.

The three-day HELISET TŦE SḰÁL (pronounced ha-LEE-sut-te-skwayl) – ‘Let the Languages Live’ – 2019 International Conference on Indigenous Languages is co-hosted by the First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation (FPCF) and the First Peoples’ Cultural Council (FPCC), in partnership with the Canadian Commission for UNESCO.

HRH The Prince of Wales opened the conference with a video recording, welcoming those in attendance and drawing attention to the importance of language revitalization in Canada and around the world. “Indigenous culture, knowledge and languages,” he said, “make an important contribution to our world’s rich cultural diversity.”

The Prince also talked about the important work done by Prince’s Trust Canada, a national charity he established in 2011, that supports Indigenous communities as they revitalize their languages. “Our work, which takes into account the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, has included producing over 22,000 children’s books in 16 languages. But, ladies and gentlemen, our work only scratches the surface.”

His message finished with a call to action, encouraging conference attendees to share their language, culture, traditions and knowledge with the world because, he said, “It is through your passion, commitment and tireless efforts that Indigenous languages will flourish for generations to come.”

The United Nations declared 2019 as the Year of Indigenous Languages to raise awareness about the current state of Indigenous languages across the globe and to highlight the urgent need to preserve, revitalize, promote and mobilize national and international actions to protect them.

To celebrate this International Year of Indigenous Languages, more than 1,000 attendees from over 20 countries will attend the conference. Delegates and Indigenous leaders, language experts and advocates will gather to share their knowledge and experiences and gain practical skills and knowledge to apply to their Indigenous language revitalization work in their home communities at over 55 workshops and presentations.

Sam Hill – National Manager, Indigenous Languages and Matthew Rowe – Head of External Affairs for Prince’s Trust Canada are presenting a workshop at the conference on important lessons learned while creating content for children’s Indigenous languages books.

Learn more about Prince’s Trust Canada’s work supporting Indigenous communities as they revitalize and protect their languages.

For more information please contact:

André Garneau
Communications and Brand Manager
Prince’s Trust Canada