The Commission adapts the Charter into six Indigenous languages
Montréal, January 19, 2024 – The Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse has presented some First Nations and Inuit leaders with a simplified version of the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms in Kanien’kéha, Innu‑aimun, Anishinaabemowin, Cree, Inuktitut and Atikamekw.
“Providing these translations of the Charter Made Easy to these communities is the culmination of a long-term approach and an important gesture,” said Commission President Philippe-André Tessier. “We collaborated with a group of seasoned translators to adapt the Charter into Kanien’kéha, Innu-aimun, Anishinaabemowin, Cree, Inuktitut and Atikamekw,” he added.
“The translators faced challenges in coming up with creative ways of designating certain concepts, like ‘charter’, ‘law’ and ‘freedoms’, for which not all of the Indigenous languages have terms,” said Commission Vice-President Suzanne Arpin. “We have every intention of translating the Charter Made Easy into other Indigenous languages as well,” she said.
President Tessier officially presented the six Indigenous language versions of the Charter Made Easy to Ghislain Picard, Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec‑Labrador, and Vice-President Arpin presented the Inuktitut version to Pita Aatami, President of Nunavik Regional Government a few days earlier during a visit to his community. Tessier also presented the Kanien’kéha version to Grand Chief Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer of the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke.
Upon receiving the six Indigenous-language documents, Chief Ghislain Picard said, “To me, this is a very meaningful gesture of respect for Indigenous people in Quebec.” Chief Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer described the Kanien’kéha version as “a good tool for reconciliation.” President Pita Aatami stated to Suzanne Arpin that the Inuktitut version will be used to spread understanding of Charter rights, particularly through community radio.
The Commission sent these adaptations of the Charter Made Easy to Native Friendship Centres throughout the province to make them accessible to Indigenous people living in their communities as well as in urban areas.
“We look forward to continuing to meet with First Nations and Inuit leaders to distribute these versions of the Charter Made Easy,” said President Tessier.
The Commission collaborated with Innu poet Joséphine Bacon to produce a video promoting these adaptations of the Charter. “We wanted to work with Ms. Bacon because she is respected Elder,” explained Vice-President Arpin. In the video, Josephine Bacon explains that “there are a lot of words, like liberté (freedom), or racisme (racism). We didn’t have a need for those words in our language: we were free, we did live in freedom. This will be a good tool for our young people.”
Altogether, the Charter Made Easy is available in ten different languages. These are available in PDF format at: cdpdj.qc.ca/en/publications/charte-des-droits-et-libertes-simplifiee.
The video of the Commission presenting the Charter Made Easy to poet Josephine Bacon can be viewed at: youtu.be/nOQ_xSsU0wI.
The Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse promotes and upholds the principles of the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. It also ensures that the interests of children are protected and that their rights under the Youth Protection Act are promoted and upheld. The Commission is also responsible for administration of the Act respecting equal access to employment in public bodies.
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