Some of you don't know this about me, but my first language wasn't English, it was Arabic. It was a huge part of how I grew up – my culture and identity. Learning about my parents and their roots gave me a better sense of who I am. It made me feel grounded, part of a community, and that is why I value language and culture so much.
Arabic might not be something that I use every day but I love the fact that I could speak it with my parents or grandparents, and understand it – whether in a room full of family members or overhearing a couple of strangers on the subway. ;)
Both my mother and grandmother speak 4-5 languages and I hope that I can as well. I grew up learning English, Arabic and French, and I've started taking some Spanish classes. And, with the launch of this program, I now know greetings in Anishinaabemowin! How cool is that!?
I can't imagine what my life would have been like without the influence of my language and culture. I really believe in this project and the need to retain and revitalize Indigenous languages. The number of fluent Indigenous language speakers is rapidly declining! Funds from this program will go towards building Nanaamwin, a full-scale Anishinaabe language and culture-learning platform.
Together we can give Indigenous youth the ability to reclaim their identity.
Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve (WUIR) is a qualified donee as defined by Canada Revenue Agency. An official receipt will be issued for every donation made to the Challenge4Change program that can be used for income tax purposes in Canada. Visit www.Canada.ca/charities-giving for more information.