Deline chief wants North Slavey to be language of community government
Leonard Kenny says use of language in government would help keep it strong
New powers may give Deline, N.W.T., a new tool in the struggle to keep its language alive.
Deline becomes a self-governing community in September and Chief Leonard Kenny wants to propose a law requiring North Slavey to be spoken in the new Deline Gotine Government.
"If you work in the offices and stuff like that or work with the government, you can pass a law that says you have to speak the language, or use it, or you have to learn it, or make sure that it's used at your meetings," he said.
The new Deline government will be funded by the federal and territorial government and will deliver services such as health care, education and housing to its roughly 650 members. It will also have the authority to collect income tax from people in Deline or on Settlement Lands.
Kenny did not specify exactly what or who would be covered by the law or how much of the language government employees would need to speak.
He says about 70 per cent of the community speaks North Slavey and that number is dropping due to outside English-speaking influences.
"I think it's due to a lot of things like the media, radio, their iPhones that they carry around, televisions. Everything you do today is technology. And all of it is English."
Kenny said he would like to put forth the suggestion after self-government comes into effect on Sept.1.
with files from Jimmy Thomson