Indigenous Youth: Identify, Challenges and Hope

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Ms. Shamshad Akhtar states that this conference will focus on the indigenous youth around the world, placing importance on identity, challenges and hopes. What is done now will identify the seven generations to come. Ms. Andrea Landry explains it is up to the indigenous youth of North America to speak and maintain indigenous languages. Unfortunately, Native American youth in Canada have faced obstacles by been shunned for speaking their indigenous language. Youth should not only be able to speak in their mother languages, but also be able to legislate in these languages. When we don’t speak our mother tongue, we do not know who we truly are or where we come from.

Although many countries have endorsed the UN declaration to indigenous youth, few practice it.  Although it is not an international law, the declaration articulates the human rights of those youth. The UN is advised to encourage and support all States to formulate Indigenous language preservation commissions with particular focus on the links between language and identity.

Mr. Tuomas Aslak Juuso realizes many indigenous parents need help educating their children to speak their mother language. The most threats against identity is hate speech and discrimination. Violence against indigenous youth has hindered their development and education. Indigenous youth can also be afraid of belonging due to hate speeches that seem to be present in social media and other Internet based outlets. This should not be the case. The right to use language and different dialects should be presented with equal opportunity.

By: Bethelehem Baissa

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