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International Journal of Early Childhood

, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp 301–318 | Cite as

Indigenous Children’s Linguistic Rights in the 21st Century: Intentions and Tensions in Practice

  • Libby Lee-HammondEmail author
  • Elizabeth Jackson-Barrett
Original Article

Abstract

This paper presents a framework for what we consider are essential elements for realising the linguistic rights of Indigenous children in the twenty-first century. The global impacts of colonisation on various Indigenous communities have resulted in loss of cultural practices, knowledge and loss of languages. This framework points to ways forward for addressing Indigenous children’s rights to reclaim their languages in early childhood. The linguistic rights of Indigenous children are at the intersection of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in this, the International Year of Indigenous Languages. The enshrined rights of Indigenous children to an education in their own culture and language is a right yet to be realised in nations who are signatories to the Convention and the Declaration. Examples are presented of Indigenous language programmes in early childhood settings in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Sápmi and the USA to highlight the significant roles of policy, Elders, communities, teacher education and the role of early childhood education in supporting children and families to reclaim endangered Indigenous languages.

Keywords

Indigenous children Linguistic rights Early childhood Immersion Language nest Colonisation 

Résumé

Cet article présente un cadre pour ce que nous considérons comme éléments essentiels à la réalisation des droits linguistiques des enfants autochtones au vingt-et-unième siècle. Les répercussions mondiales de la colonisation sur diverses communautés autochtones ont entraîné la perte de pratiques culturelles, de connaissances et de langues. Ce cadre indique les orientations à prendre pour aborder la question des droits des enfants autochtones à reconquérir leurs langues dans leurs premières années. Les droits linguistiques des enfants autochtones se situent à la croisée de la Convention des Nations Unies relative aux droits de l’enfant et de la Déclaration des Nations Unies sur les droits des peuples autochtones, particulièrement en cette Année internationale des langues autochtones. Les droits consacrés des enfants autochtones à une éducation dans leur propre culture et leur propre langue restent encore à réaliser dans les États-nations signataires de la Convention et de la Déclaration. L’article présente des exemples de programmes de langues autochtones en milieux de la petite enfance en Australie, au Canada, en Nouvelle-Zélande, en Laponie et aux États-Unis afin de souligner le rôle significatif des politiques, des aînés, des communautés, de la formation des enseignants ainsi que celui de l’éducation de la petite enfance pour aider les enfants et les familles à reconquérir les langues autochtones en péril.

Resumen

Esta investigación muestra una estrategia sobre lo que consideramos como elementos esenciales para hacer efectivos los derechos lingüísticos de niños de poblaciones indígenas en el Siglo XXI. El impacto global de la colonización en varias comunidades indígenas, ha resultado en la pérdida de conocimiento y prácticas culturales, así como extinción de lenguas. Esta estrategia señala formas para apoyar los derechos de niños indígenas para reclamar sus idiomas en los primeros años. Los derechos lingüísticos de niños indígenas son el común denominador entre la Convención de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Derechos de los Niños y la Declaración de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Derechos de Poblaciones Indígenas en este Año Internacional de Lenguas Indígenas. Los derechos consagrados de niños indígenas a recibir educación en su propia lengua y cultura es algo que aún no se ha alcanzado en las naciones firmantes de la Convención y la Declaración. Se presentan ejemplos de programas de lenguas indígenas en los primeros años en Australia, Canadá, Nueva Zelanda, Laponia y los Estados Unidos, para resaltar el papel fundamental de las políticas, los indígenas mayores, las comunidades, la educación a docentes, y el papel de la educación infantil temprana para apoyar a niños y sus familias para que recuperen sus lenguas indígenas que están en vías de extinción.

Notes

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Murdoch UniversityPerthAustralia

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