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“Is Gaelic an Indigenous Language?”

Some time after a conversation with Makere Stewart-Harawira, Outer Hebridean Gaelic language learner and teacher Gordon Wells ventured into contentious territory on his personal blog, where a range of comments can also be found.

Is Gaelic an Indigenous Language?

“Stupid question.” That’s the short answer, tinged perhaps with weariness, perhaps indignation. “Of course it is. Next question.”

Well, there is a next question – indigenous to where? And so what? We need deeper reflection in a British/UK context, where indigenous or aboriginal status may be most loudly proclaimed by sometimes closet, sometimes open, racists of a self-styled “British nationalist” perspective affecting to speak on behalf of the “original” (read white) English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish peoples.

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Professor and Elder Patu Hohepa, on impacts of globalization

image credit: greenpeace

Click here to listen to a conversation with Maori elder and scholar Dr Patu Hohepa (Ngapuhi tribe), retired Maori Language Commissioner for Aotearoa New Zealand, on some impacts of globalization on Maori and language

(left click to listen, right click and ‘save target as…’ to download)

Maori scholar Dr Margie Hohepa on the importance of language

image credit: National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults

Click here to listen to Maori scholar Margie Hohepa speaking about Maori language acquisition and identity

(left click to listen, right click and ‘save target as’ to download)

See below for a transcript of this interview:

Margie: …first language, English speaker, and her husband is the bilingual, you know, speaker and she talked about their needing to think about having a, what she described as having a “CAS to go with the LAS” so you have the language acquisition system, (LAS) whatever you want to call, that but you’ve also got a cultural acquisition system (CAS) and the most ideal form, you know, most ideal situation is they are so intertwined they cannot come apart. But when you’ve been through experiences of colonization that have been about language removal they have come apart. So ya, so, and that’s our reality and so like, there is no blame, no shame, no you know, and so that saying, so I guess that is saying that um, we have to believe that you can still be culturally who you are even if you are in a situation where you develop, redeveloping language because otherwise we cease to exist after what we’ve been through, process of colonization which has been about de-languaging so yea, that’s sort of. ..

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