2019: International Year of Indigenous Languages

Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site

Over 6,700 languages spoken across the world are in danger of disappearing. For this reason, the United Nations has proclaimed 2019 to be the International Year of Indigenous Languages as a way to raise awareness of these endangered languages and celebrate their importance for reclaiming identities and tradition. Indigenous languages are valuable cultural and historical identifiers that connect people and are important tools for reconciliation, relationship building, and economic, social, and political development.

Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site is located within the Homeland of the Métis Nation and on Treaty No. 1 land, the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Cree, and Oji-Cree. These Indigenous Peoples and their communities have a notable connection to Lower Fort Garry.

Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site is a historic trading fort that acted as an economic hub for First Nations, Métis, and European settlers. At that time, many languages were spoken in the area, from Ojibwe, Cree, Michif, Bungi, English, and French. This rich linguistic variety reflects the diversity of peoples who traded and worked at the site. It is also the location where Treaty No. 1 was made with seven First Nations: Peguis First Nation, Fort Alexander (Sagkeeng) First Nation, Swan Lake First Nation, Long Plain First Nation, Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation, Sandy Bay First Nation, and Brokenhead Ojibway Nation. The site’s connection to these First Nations communities is strong and each year a Treaty Commemoration celebration is held at Lower Fort Garry on August 3, the day the Treaty was made at the site in 1871.

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