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

Not everybody lined up to vote on Saturday. In Surrey, 68,396 mail-in ballots still need to be counted for the final election tally. (Black Press Media)
North Surrey voters steer left, South Surrey voters steer right

Once again, it’s NDP orange in the city’s north end, Liberal red in the south

Peace Portal Alliance Church, at the corner of King George Boulevard and 152 Street, is the extreme-weather shelter for South Surrey for the upcoming season. It is to have 14 mats available nightly for those experiencing homelessness, regardless of weather conditions. (Tracy Holmes photo)
14 beds planned for South Surrey extreme-weather shelter

Webinar tonight to field questions, share info on Peace Portal Alliance Church refuge

Fraser Health declared an outbreak of COVID-19 at Delta Hospital on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. (Grace Kennedy photo)
Outbreak over at Delta Hospital

In all, 45 cases of COVID-19 were identified and seven patients died during the outbreak

The Sunshine Band Club video posted to Youtube.
VIDEO: Surrey youth band shines light on ‘COVID blues,’ raises money for hospital

Virtual concert from Sunshine Band Club, established last March

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Five Surrey schools reporting COVID-19 exposures, including another at Panorama Ridge

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

Graphic on promo material for Best Buy Canada’s Tech Wonderland event.
Drive-through ‘Tech Wonderland’ coming to PNE site a few weeks before Christmas

Best Buy Canada-backed ‘holiday’ event to raise money for charity

Aaliyah Rosa. File photo
Crown says murder of seven-year-old in Langley was planned, deliberate

The trial of KerryAnn Lewis began Monday in New Westminster

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (B.C. government photo)
Unnamed school in Fraser Health region closed due to COVID-19

Closure announced by Dr. Bonnie Henry during daily briefing

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

(Pxfuel)
B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

Chilliwack-Kent MLA Laurie Throness watches the results on election night. The ex-Liberal’s tumultuous campaign and the narrow margin for victory ahead of the mail-in ballot count leaves the future of the riding’s seat in limbo for at least the next week. (Facebook/Laurie Throness)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Future for Throness uncertain as Chilliwack-Kent awaits results

Chilliwack-Kent candidate hopeful, resigned waiting on final count

Most Read