Nicole Sellers is the National Indigenous Sign Language, ASL, LSQ representative for the Coast Salish People. She and other members of the deaf community were at the B.C. Legislature advocating for the federal government to recognize ASL and LSQ on bill C-81, titled “An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada” and to have Indigenous Sign Language recognized in the Indigenous Language Act. Here, Sellers is making the motion which translates to “Coast Salish.” (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

B.C. deaf community wants different sign languages on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

Members of the province’s deaf community were at the B.C. Legislature on Saturday afternoon advocating for American Sign Language (ASL), Langue des Signes Quebecoise (LSQ) and Indigenous Sign Language (ISL) to be officially recognized by the federal government.

Sept.22 is the National ISL, ASL and LSQ Awareness Day, and Sept. 23 is the first ever International Day of Sign Languages, which happens to falls in line with creation of bill c-81:the Accessible Canada Act. The bill aims to “enhance the full and equal participation of all persons, especially persons with disabilities, in society,” and just went through its second reading. However, the Act does not specifically mention the deaf community.

“Our goal is to advocate with the federal government to recognize sign language, that’s ASL, LSQ, and Indigenous Sign Languages… to look at the Accessible Canada Act to also be accessible linguistically,” said Lindsay Carroll, chairperson for the BC ASL-LSQ through an interpreter. “For deaf people, that means that we will have increased access to federal services. An example would be to the CRA even or even just providing more job opportunities for deaf people in the future.”

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized in the Indigenous Languages Act. Indigenous peoples have used different varieties of sign languages for thousands of years, but they’ve only recently been recognized as languages, even within their own communities.

READ MORE: Sound of Change helps to end isolation

“Most Indigenous people who are hearing, are aware of Indigenous deaf people, they are aware of Indigenous Sign language, but they are not aware or had not thought of it as a formal language, they think it’s just gestures or body language used by people at home,” said Nicole Sellers, National Indigenous Sign Language, ASL, LSQ representative for the Coast Salish People through an interpreter. “The Indigenous community hadn’t realized that in the beginning.”

READ MORE: Esquimalt development a game changer for accessibility

Since then, more and more First Nations are recognizing various ISLs, but Sellers wants it formally recognized and preserved in the Indigenous Language Act. She was taught ISL by her grandmother when she was a child, but says she is not completely fluent in it.

Bill C-81 went through its second reading on Sept. 19, and will be tabled for its third reading shortly.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Lindsay Carroll is the chairperson for the BC ASL-LSQ group. He and other members of the deaf community were at the B.C. Legislature advocating for the federal government to recognize ASL and LSQ on bill C-81, titled “An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada” and to have Indigenous Sign Language recognized in the Indigenous Language Act. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Just Posted

Surrey council sets new rules for Good Citizen of the Year award

Candidates have more hurdles to jump before getting nominated for the prestigious local title

OUR VIEW: Wards for Surrey worth a hard look

Ward system divvies up city into neighbourhoods with a council member representing an electoral region

‘Best of Cloverdale’ contest returns

Voters can cast ballots once a day until Sept. 5; enter to win $250 gift card for Save-On-Foods

Delta mayor launches new photo contest for kids

Kids can submit photos of their at-home activities for a chance to win gift cards from local businesses

White Rock funds cultural activities moved online by COVID-19

Museum, community orchestra receive production grants

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

More charges laid against man accused of killing Red Deer doctor in walk-in clinic

Appearing before a judge, Deng Mabiour, 54, rambled about being sick and needing a doctor

Driver maces pedestrian after hit and run in Langley City

Police were on the scene at Michaud Crescent Wednesday morning

Teen killer Kelly Ellard gets day parole extension, allowing up to 5 days at home

Ellard is serving a life sentence for the 1997 murder of 14-year-old Reena Virk

Andrew Scheer likely marking last day in House of Commons as Opposition leader

Today’s Commons sitting is one of two scheduled for August

Deaths feared after train derails amid storms in Scotland

Stonehaven is on the line for passenger trains linking Aberdeen with the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow

DFO says 5 aggrieved B.C First Nations were consulted on fisheries plan

Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations calls response ‘a sham,’ adding DFO never incorporates their views

Friends do ‘amazing’ home makeover for retired police officer

Pitt Meadows RCMP veteran was away getting treatment for PTSD

Most Read