Ahkameyimok Podcast with Perry Bellegarde
Ron Ignace: First Indigenous Languages Commissioner
"For those of us who are survivors of the oppression of our languages and the part of the cultural and physical genocide brought on us by the Church and State that ran Residential Schools... the day the that Bill C-91, the Indigenous Languages Act, received Royal Assent was a memorable occasion that was long overdue."
This week, Ron Ignace was appointed as Canada's first ever Indigenous Languages Commissioner. He joins the Ahkameyimok Podcast to talk about his new job, what he hopes to achieve, success stories in the revitalization of Indigenous languages, his experiences at the Kamloops Indian Residential School, and how he was able to keep his Secwepemctsin language despite efforts to beat it out of him at that school.
Stsmél̓qen, Ron Ignace, is a member of the Secwepemc Nation in British Columbia and a fluent speaker of Secwepemctsin. He was the elected chief of the Skeetchestn Indian Band for more than 30 years. He has a PhD in Anthropology from Simon Fraser University with a dissertation on Secwepemc oral history. From 2016-2021, he co-chaired the Assembly of First Nations' Chiefs Committee on Languages, where he played an instrumental role in the development and passage of Bill C-91, the Indigenous Languages Act.
For more on the Assembly of First Nations work on Indigenous Languages and other issues, visit AFN.ca
The Ahkameyimok Podcast is produced by David McGuffin of Explore Podcast Productions.
Our theme music, Intertribal, is by the Red Dog Singers, Treaty 4 Territory in southern Saskatchewan.