Thinking seven generations ahead: Mi’kmaq language resurgence in the face of settler colonialism

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University of New Brunswick


We are living in the 21st century and many Indigenous students across Canada live in ‘shame’, not knowing their language and culture. Indigenous students can feel like they are living in two worlds when they leave their communities to pursue postsecondary education. This can embed a fear in students that affects their public speaking, pronunciation, and response in their mother tongue. Indigenous critics of settler colonialism (Alfred, 2008; Battiste, 2013; Grande, 2004; Simpson, 2011) and critical education theorists (Kincheloe, 2008) have identified that mainstream education is a means of maintaining the status quo as represented by colonialism. A resurgence of language is needed for First Nation learners and educators and this resurgence is required if we are going to maintain, recover and reclaim Indigenous languages (Bear Nicholas, 2008). Simpson (2008) asserts that, “we have to regenerate our languages so we have communities of fluent speakers (p.17)… we need our Elders, our languages, along with vision, intent, commitment, community and ultimately, action” (p. 23).