Canadian Lawmaker Delivers Statement in Mohawk Language


Posted By Toyacoyah Brown June 5th, 2017 Blog


Quebec Liberal MP Marc Miller stunned everyone while delivering a statement in Mohawk in the House of Commons last week.

According to CBC News, “it's the first time the Mohawk language has been spoken in either of Canada's houses of Parliament since Confederation, according to research provided by the Library of Parliament.”

“It was a bit of a revelation,” Miller said. “It's very odd that we can say hello in 15 languages that aren't Canadian, but we can't say hello in a First Nations language. This is just the tip of iceberg. If you can communicate, you can understand where people are coming from.”



Miller is one of a handful of non-Indigenous learners of Kanyen'kéha (or Mohawk), an Iroquoian language that has been spoken for millennia in southern Ontario and Quebec and upstate New York. Estimates on the number of speakers vary wildly because there are people with varying degrees of fluency, but roughly 3,500 are considered “native speakers.”

“I expected a tremendous amount of skepticism,” Miller said when he first approached teachers at Onkwawenna Kentyohkwa, a community-based training program run by the Six Nations of the Grand River near Brantford, Ont.

“I always thought they'd laugh at me and say, ‘Is this guy ridiculous? Who is this clown?' But it's been the opposite. It's been extremely positive.”

And here's the transcript of what was said in English:

“I pay my respects to you who have gathered here.

I stand here to honour the Mohawk language and I pay my respects to their people.

Let us pay respects to the Creator for everything he has given to us that we may live peacefully.

I am proud to stand here and speak to you in the Mohawk language.

Hopefully it will help us to become better friends.

I also hope that we will hear the Mohawk language a lot more often here and that more Canadians will be proud to use it to speak to one another.

I pay my respects to you, the master of this house. (‘Thank you, Mr. Speaker')”



About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

Comments

2 thoughts on “Canadian Lawmaker Delivers Statement in Mohawk Language

  1. Sue Lloyd says:

    What an action. It is all about honor and respect. (We could go on, of course.) Definitely awesome!

  2. PAMELA pain says:

    I am very happy to hear that my sister is still living. I love her a lot. I hope nothing bad has happened to her. I am not sure which of US helped more. I stayed quiet all this time because I never wanted anybody to get in legal problems. I’m also hoping and from the sounds of it you should be able to get him out of it period that her son is ok and not in prison but she told me. I did pass on the ring that my mother had to my sisters daughter because I feel that’s what my mother would have wanted. I know it was was not much but I think it was the best she could do. Does it matter if it’s diamonds warm gold. I have tried many things that I thought would be right when it was wrong. Never made me feel any better. I love my family a lot. Mom Dad step dad and all my family and my in-laws. May not have known but I did. I found it hard to show because I felt bad. I was doing things that I thought was to protect other people so the other people wouldn’t find out. Congratulations to my sister for being who she is. Thank you for taking helping me take care of my first child. I really needed that help. I hope everything is really good for you. I have always meant that. Anything I may have said was not to harm you. I felt I was keeping secrets that I should not maybe have been keeping. To me everybody’s story is different. That is one of the reasons why I hate repeating what somebody else says. I try not to give anything word word for word. I may do it more than I know about but it is not because I am doing it on purpose. As you can tell not I am not a very good speaker. I am hoping that you all are safe sound. That does include my husband I would never want anything bad to happen to him. I know I talk a a lot in my head but they’re made up stories. Just like some of the stuff that I write is made up. I can’t remember things for sure so it’s all made up in my mind. I may have Indian and I may not that is for other people too no or not. All I have ever wanted is to help my family. I would have liked to have seen my sister more. Weather birth or not sister. I hope the great father and Sky knows exactly what he was doing. More than likely did. To me in our own way as we have always tried to help our families. My sister could be any person that you talk to or not but I love her very much. It’s basically the same way I felt about my husband, but I had a real hard time because he never really wanted it to be part of my family. I don’t think he realized or I did how extensive it was. Trying to explain these things to him or my family was hard. I’ve always believed in a father somewhere comma I just never knew or felt I knew who that real person was. Thank you so much because you’re really helping me a lot. I feel like I’ve been drowning because I don’t really know period I know I’m not supposed to know commas that’s okay. Because I know one day I will meet him. I’m going to sign this off to let him know that I care have cared for my family here on Earth and above the best that I could. Yes I got really tired, but even now I know the he’s out there somewhere. I hope my family has a great afterlife. We may not be rich According to some people comma but I have found with love that’s all you need. That’s the only thing I tried to keep teach my kids when they were young. That is something I’ve been hoping to teach both of them. My husband nor my kids got. Hugs and kisses all the time I have love them always. That is how I’ve always felt about everyone in my family.

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