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Language, Rights and Opportunities: The Role of Language in the Inclusion and Exclusion of Indigenous Peoples

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Indigenous peoples throughout the world have often seen their languages and cultures disregarded, denigrated or even suppressed. The legacy of these practices remain among us even today and can be witnessed through the low retention and success rates in schools teaching in a language alien to many indigenous children, as well as the common and continued refusal of state authorities to use indigenous languages in their contacts and interaction with indigenous populations. This article presents a global overview of the role of languages historically on the rights of indigenous peoples, and how language preferences have excluded – or in other cases been used to include – indigenous peoples in various spheres of society. It also considers the nature and scope of the rights of indigenous peoples as human rights, and the potential for the language rights of indigenous peoples to be used to empower them.

Affiliations: 1: Dean, Faculté de droit, Université de Moncton, Moncton, Canada, ; 2: Uniwersytet Gdanski, Warsaw, Poland,


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