Declaration of the 107th World Esperanto Congress, Montreal, Canada

The 746 participants (from 57 countries) in the 107th World Esperanto Congress, which convened in Montreal, Canada, from August 6-13, 2022, addressed as our central theme “Language, life, land: The Decade of Indigenous Languages.” In a territorial acknowledgment in the opening ceremony of the Congress, we expressed our deep gratitude to the various Indigenous nations, in particular the Kanien’kehá:ka or Mohawk people, who have never ceded their rights to the territory where our meeting took place.

By means of talks, films, discussion sessions, and also a course in Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe), we learned about the great diversity of Indigenous languages and cultures in North America and around the world. We saw how Indigenous peoples play an important role in the conservation of natural resources and biodiversity, and are the bearers of foundational knowledge for our ability to live sustainably upon the Earth. We also heard how, in spite of many obstacles and attacks on their rights, those peoples are organizing in order to maintain their traditional occupations, safeguard their cultural practices, and assert their rights to their lands.

To mark the start of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-203), our Congress published a new Esperanto translation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Among the many rights recognized in that document, we draw particular attention to Article 13, according to which “Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places and persons.” As a movement for language rights, we express our strong support for those principles.

The speakers of Esperanto have high regard for the value of cultural and linguistic diversity and are committed to working with others to bring about language democracy on a global scale. In alignment with those goals and with the information and ideas shared in this Congress, we declare our solidarity with and support for Indigenous peoples in their ongoing struggles for self-determination, peace, justice, and mutual understanding.

Translated from the original Esperanto text (available here):