Prime Minister Justin Trudeau brought members of the Assembly of First Nations to their feet today by promising to introduce an Indigenous Languages Act.
Trudeau made the announcement during a special assembly in Gatineau, Quebec — telling the gathering the new legislation will preserve and revitalize the languages of First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples.
Trudeau says residential schools and other government actions were aimed at eliminating Indigenous languages and cultures.
Chiefs from across Canada are meeting to discuss issues including resource development, aboriginal suicide and missing and murdered Indigenous women.
Also at the meeting, Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie broke down in tears today as he was honoured by the AFN.
Downie, who is dying of brain cancer, created a solo project about a First Nations boy who died trying to get back home after leaving a residential school.
He has also been vocal about Canada’s treatment of its Aboriginal peoples.
Downie was embraced by AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde to loud cheers from the meeting.