The chief and council of Neqotkuk (Tobique First Nation) want Wolastoqey to be recognized as the territory’s original language and established as the community’s official language.
Chief Ross Perley said the Wolastoqey language is part of his community’s identity and how they interact with the world around them.
“Our language has been sleeping and it is up to us to awaken it and bring it back to life,” said Perley in a news release.
“We have learned through the past that we can’t count on others to recognize and make use of our language. It is up to us to reclaim our identity.”
He said colonial languages have been forced upon the Wolastoqiyik and overtook their mother tongue, noting that it is valued and there is a want to reclaim the “critical part” of its identity.
According to data from the 2016 census, only 32 homes within the Wolastoqiyik nation use Wolastoqey in the home.
The council at Neqotkuk wants to develop a strategy to promote, protect and revitalize Wolastoqey within the Wolastoqiyik Nation.
It will be ratified by the council in the next few weeks.