From Margaret Kovach’s Indigenous Methodologies: Characteristics, Conversations, and Contexts:

“With colonization, Indigenous people were forced to forfeit their languages, and so a majority of Indigenous people in Canada now have English as their first language. Having a common language, however, has not served to increase cultural understandings. Rather, it has put Indigenous culture at risk. This suggests that a common language is not the panacea for a common understanding. Instead, understanding is a layered endeavour.”

Language is a way of knowing the world. I only speak English, but I am sure that any language, all languages, write upon the world as much as the world presses upon the language. These are relationships of reciprocity (between the world and our knowing it), or at least our ways of speaking represent interpretation (not objectivity or fact), and between these paradigms not all things can be translated. When languages are lost, so are deeper forms of knowing.


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