Dozens of Aboriginal languages near death: UNESCO
Barry Artiste Op.Ed
Language! We all speak it! Language is a message of conveyance from one person to another to get a point across. Conveyance for instance, a 15 century term used today. One would think archaic after 500 years. As is vestibule or inside entryway to a hallway. Vestibule thought to be a Latin term, actually derives even further back to ancient Arabic, as many Arabic and Indo languages we use today interspersed into our everyday conversation, without even giving a second thought where these words came from.
Newborn babies have a language all their own, their cries, wails, coos though an emotional language all mean something if you listen and see the babies facial reactions.
Language, regardless of race or culture, baby language is a primal language all pretty much universal in the baby and the animal world. Parents and Pet owners can get pretty frustrated when they can't understand what the hell they are saying, whining, purring, tail wagging all mean something different, it is just how you judge the babies and pets body language.
Napoleon and his army in the 18th century uncovered a stone in Egypt, the Rosetta stone, before them rotten British rat bastards scammed it off them. HAHA! Anyways, both the French and English scholars soon found out what they had, a lost language called hieroglyphics, a couple of thousands of years old that nobody understood. Probably why French and British troops, out of frustration trying to understand the language took it out on the great sphinx, using it's face for target practice.
The great thing about the Rosetta stone is it had Coptic and Greek text translations of the Hieroglyphics in which Frenchman Jean Francois Champollion could read and decipher. Eureka!! (not the make of vacuum), but Champollion and other translating pioneers did what puzzled hundreds, if now thousands of scholars for hundreds of years before them, and that was...........What the hell kind of chicken scratchings meant that these ancient Egyptians were scrawling all over their Egyptian temples pyramids and monuments?
So you see, without the Rosetta stone, I think even with today's technology we would be hooped and still scratching our "Nibbly Bits" walking around around Egypt on those tourist jaunts wondering about all those chicken scratchings and what kind of people were these Egyptians and why the hell were they cat and bird fanciers? Cause pretty much every square inch of sandstone was covered in cats and birds, and a few dogs and snakes thrown in!
So in the early 19th century and even today the world knows so much more of these ancient peoples, their lives and their culture. Thanks to the Rosetta stone.
Come full circle today, and another Rosetta stone discovered in human form is being put by the wayside. We have a Canadian Rosetta stone, called First Nations Elders. Elders who by word of mouth passed an ancient language down to their children and their children's children. Today, if not for Indian and Northern Affairs taking an interest and tape recording First Nations elders to understand their language, the language would be deader than it is now.
In my profession, languages, culture and environment I have witnessed dozens of First Nations Elders sitting in a room with a tape recorder and earphones phonetically speaking and writing lost First Nations languages in trying to avoid a cultural disaster. Archaeologists uncovering first nation symbols and ancient digs need to understand some of the First Nations history and language both written and spoken will go a long way.
One thing Now Public readers should know about Barry Artiste, my fascination with culture, languages and environment go a long way, for as a Consultant, I have worked in that capacity for the movie industry, such as Stargate and others in Canada and the US as well as TV, as well as a Consultant and Investigator for First Nations people, traveling and photographing many points of interest. And you readers thought I just went to drug busts and crime scenes. Shame on you! Needless to say, just thought I would point that out as some may think I just ramble on non nonsensically about subjects. What I Op Ed on, I am fully well versed on these subjects I write about.
People need to understand, currently many First Nations are getting screwed over by governments over land claims, claims by First Nations who have historically maintained that they were on that particular piece of land first, before Whitey came along and stole it. Canada, like all nations are a society based on Laws, some good, some terrible, and to the First Nations people, not a Just law from what I have witnessed, especially when common sense and governments collide. Governments are disputing First Nations claims, particularly in British Columbia where Government bureaucrats and lawmakers (read Lawyers) are telling First Nations to prove it! One inane government rule is proof you rode horses before the white man came to Canada. WTF? Yep, cause Governments are saying the Spanish brought them to North America, so prove it by finding a horse not of Spanish lineage dead or alive and the Government may consider your land claim. One First Nation's culture in British Columbia claim they were a horse riding culture before the White man arrived in British Columbia, hence the government stance on them to prove it, find a dead or living horse in British Columbia, preferably wild and lets get some DNA.
Proving First Nations land claims means Archaeologists have to explore these First Nations areas for proof, both in ancient drawings, hieroglyphics or symbols laid down by ancient First Nations tribes who lived their for thousands of years. No easy task, especially when your language tied to your culture is rapidly becoming close to extinction.
You see it is First Nations tribes who need to prove they were there first in order to validate their land claims. It seems some of the First Nation children are not really into learning a ancient language that very few speak or understand. Not realizing it is they who must pass on the language to their children and their children forever, or it is be lost like their land claims of who was their first!
A shame really when one's culture is replaced by another culture called Reality TV, Canadian Idol and who the F*CK wants to be a Millionaire.
First Nations children if they don't take an interest in their language and culture, First Nation's children will soon be the Weakest Link!
And it's just one of many endangered languages, according to UNESCO, an agency dedicated to education and culture. A new report from the agency lists 88 of Canada's Aboriginal languages as critically close to becoming extinct, and predicts they likely won't be around in the next century.
It's "like little light bulbs going out across Canada," Alana Johns, a linguistics professor who also teaches Aboriginal languages at the University of Toronto told Canada AM's Beverly Thomson.
Canada has the fifth highest number of endangered languages in the world. Only India, Indonesia, China and the U.S. have more.
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Warren, Michigan, United States