Minister of State Dawn Hastings-WilliamsWith Indigenous languages facing threats of going extinct, new measures have been put in place to preserve this aspect of the Indigenous culture.Minister of State, Dawn Hastings-Williams on Friday acknowledged that Indigenous languages are the primary communicational medium for many tribes. As such, it poses many challenges in their daily routine when everything is broadcasted or printed in English.For this, contracts and job applications are now translated and published in the various languages and these persons can now intermit programmes from Radio Aishalton in some of the nine dialects.“Applications for employment and contracts were recently published in the indigenous languages. Radio Aishalton, launched in 2018, carried broadcasts in the various Indigenous languages,” Hastings-Williams informed.While English is a second language to many Indigenous children, it is the language in which national examinations are articulated. The Education Ministry is now seeking to introduce native languages in schools across the Indigenous regions.Meanwhile, the State Minister noted that these tribal languages are also beneficial for persons from the coastland, who are stationed in hinterland communities for employment. For some time, the language barrier has been a challenge.“We are looking forward to nationalising. That I mean, if a policeman decides to go and serve in the hinterland, we’re having some challenges simply because that office cannot relate. For example Baramita, their first language is Carib and so for a police or probation officer to communicate directly with them, it’s a challenge. He or she hasn’t learned before going in there so there is that gap…and how can we learn this if we don’t have a mechanism whereby people on the coast get access,” she stated.There are nine Indigenous tribes in Guyana, namely Arawak, Arecuna, Akawaio, Carib, Macushi, Patamona, Wapichan, Warrau and Wai Wai.The United Nations had declared 2019 the year of Indigenous languages under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). The theme: “Indigenous languages are important to sustainable development, peace-building and reconciliation” was chosen to raise awareness of the consequences when Indigenous languages are endangered across the world.According to the organisation, there are approximately 6000 to 7000 languages in the world. About 97 per cent of the population speaks only four per cent of these, while the remaining three per cent speaks the other 96 per cent of languages.It is estimated that a majority of these dialects are spoken by Indigenous people and continues to disappear at an “alarming rate”.