Intersections, Languages, and Youth: Elevating Voices and Integrating Culture and Language

Mar 28, 2023
Shining The Spotlight Issue14 WEBSITE ARTS CULTURE 03

Intersections: 2SLGBTQQIA+ and Indigenous Identities features the wisdom and personal journeys of Two-Spirit Knowledge Keepers and Elders. The social development team at NWAC, which produced this resource with support from the Department of Canadian Heritage, hopes their messages enhance knowledge and understanding of Indigenous languages and culture and the intersections with 2SLGBTQQIA+ identities.

Available as a booklet in both digital and print forms, as well as a video, Intersections is an educational resource targeted to Indigenous 2SLGBTQQIA+ youth. It was developed with critical input from Two-Spirit individuals who took part in engagement sessions and agreed to be interviewed.

The goal is twofold: elevate the voices of Indigenous 2SLGBTQQIA+ People by sharing their experiences; and contribute to the healing process by reconnecting youth to their language and culture.

About Languages Now

When it comes to promoting Indigenous languages, staff spent the winter completing language engagements with Indigenous Women, Girls, Two-Spirit, Transgender, and Gender-Diverse+ (WG2STGD+) People. We recorded videos that honour and promote Indigenous languages. Learning their language helps a person heal and reconnect to their culture and promotes a sense of belonging.

NWAC’s team has completed many language and heritage videos (these are posted online)—all part of About Languages Now, the name of our languages program. The recent release of three small but impactful videos enhances the collection from across Turtle Island and Inuit Nunangat, which celebrates the three national languages Inuit, Métis, and Algonquin. The three new videos promote the Mittsaanut, La Laang, and Noongom languages.

Our continuing work on the About Languages Now project is a direct response to the language revitalization directives contained in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations.

We are also connecting with grassroots organizations and reserve communities to hold holistic circles and around-the-fire gatherings. These types of organic gatherings have proven to be effective and impactful in teaching Indigenous languages.

Uniting Indigenous Youth Voices

The National Youth Council is excited to announce that we have begun work on a three-year strategic plan. The Council has been engaging with Indigenous youth all over Turtle Island through Uniting Indigenous Voices virtual sessions and surveys. Having completed our research, we are now arranging gatherings at NWAC headquarters. These gatherings will create culturally safe meeting spaces to continue our work on the strategic plan while also integrating culture and language.