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

Free pads, tampons now available in Surrey school washrooms

Menstrual products previously given out to students upon request

Surrey student selected as Loran Award recipient

Award is valued at $100K over four years of undergraduate studies

‘Coldest Night’ walk in Whalley aims to raise $25K on Saturday

Live music, food and commemorative toques attract teams to national event held annually

Former Cloverdale church elder pleads guilty to sexual assault

Brian Batke, 73, entered guilty plea Feb. 14

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

Galchenyuk nets shootout winner as Wild edge Canucks 4-3

Vancouver tied with Calgary for second spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

UPDATE: TransLink gets injunction ahead of pipeline, Indigenous rights protest

The protest rally is in opposition to the Coastal GasLink and Trans Mountain pipeline projects

Province shows no interest in proposed highway between Alberta and B.C.

Province says it will instead focus on expanding the Kicking Horse Canyon to four lanes

Mysterious bang booms over Sumas Mountain once again

Police unsure of source, quarry companies say, ‘not us’

Most Read