TAIPEI, TAIWAN – Media OutReach – 23 February 2023 – The Council of Indigenous Peoples held the 2023 International Mother Language Day – Indigenous Language Revitalization Awards Ceremony on February 16. Vice President Lai Ching-te and Premier Chen Chien-jen presented awards to the 23 recipients and offered their respect and gratitude for all those working to revitalize indigenous languages. Representatives of indigenous churches around Taiwan were also invited, for the first time, this year to discuss how government agencies can collaborate with indigenous churches in the future to achieve the UN’s goal of encouraging sustainable mother language development.
Vice President Lai Ching-te shared in his remarks that Taiwan enacted the Indigenous Languages Development Act in June 2017, establishing indigenous languages as one of the official languages of Taiwan. During his tenure as the premier, in January 2019, Taiwan promulgated the Development of National Languages Act, wherein Hakka Chinese, Taiwanese Hokkien, the Matsu dialect, other natural languages used by existing communities, and the Taiwan Sign Language were all established as official languages of Taiwan.
Premier Chen Chien-jen expressed that the CIP has launched the highly important “Program to Incentive Indigenous Churches to Encourage Indigenous Languages” this year to support the Development of National Languages Act. The program aims to encourage indigenous churches around the country to promote the use and learning of indigenous languages as indigenous churches are largely frequented by multiple generations, making it the perfect site for passing on indigenous languages. The Executive Yuan will continue to invest more resources and manpower and work with different sectors to foster a friendly environment for indigenous languages.
In subsequent meetings, Minister Icyang Parod also delivered his keynote speech on Sano’ Amisen ita a somowal (let’s speak our indigenous languages) to show the heads of indigenous agencies across the country how they can use indigenous languages in public settings, administrative meetings, on signs, and when promoting other public officials to foster an environment where the use of indigenous languages is common and prevalent.
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