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2022-2032 International Decade of Indigenous Languages

trees and people

Centre colleague Dr Mel Engman welcomes the International decade of Decade of Indigenous Languages Indigenous Languages Decade (

"Language is where I am constructed as either possible or impossible." (Natalie Diaz in McCarty et al., 2018, p. 163)

The world's Indigenous peoples have long demanded better recognition and support for their languages, their lands, and their communities' well-being. For many, language is much more than an object or code. Indigenous languages are living parts of whole ecologies and, therefore, an existential concern. Language maintenance and reclamation efforts look to constellations of tradition, innovation, and relations to sustain and promote Indigenous ways of knowing and being, and these efforts are at the heart of UNESCO's proclamation that 2022 is the start of an "International Decade of Indigenous Languages." Indigenous people have a right to use (and reclaim) their Indigenous languages, and all of us have an obligation to support projects and policies that strengthen these languages and the ecologies that allow them to thrive.

For further info, see Mel’s co-authored blog post for NUI Galway's FEL blog in 2019 (International Year of Indigenous Language) and "Perspectives" column in the Modern Language Journal. You can also check out Mel's favourite organisation, Grassroots Indigenous Multimedia, for kid-friendly bilingual books, movies, and other resources: