News release

Province Celebrates 15th Gaelic Awareness Month

Nova Scotians will celebrate the contributions of Gaelic culture and language to making life better for families in every region during the month of May.

Gaelic Awareness Month was officially launched today, April 27, by Gaelic Affairs Minister Maureen MacDonald at Province House in Halifax.

"This is a time to acknowledge a language and culture that continues to shape Nova Scotia's identity," said Ms. MacDonald. "Through community-based programs that focus on language instruction, mentorship and raising cultural awareness, Nova Scotia is ensuring its Gaelic traditions are passed on to new generations."

Through community-based activities, institutional programs and large festivals and events, Gaelic language and culture contributes $23 million annually to the province's economy. Twenty-eight organizations support Gaelic-related cultural activities and more than 14 communities are engaged in adult language-instruction programs. An estimated 300,000 people attend more than 2,000 Gaelic-related events annually.

"There is a lot of activity happening around the province," said Lewis MacKinnon, executive director of the Office of Gaelic Affairs. "The efforts being made by individuals, groups and communities is truly inspiring. The office is pleased to support the steps being made to help communities learn and use the language and we are seeing results from these efforts."

Activities to celebrate Gaelic Awareness Month will include a training session at the Gaelic College in St. Anne's, hosted by Gaelic Affairs and led by Leanne Hinton, a retired professor of linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. The session will encourage Gaelic-speaking elders to pass on their language and culture to new learners in their communities and is based on a program pioneered by Ms. Hinton that has helped 66 Native American communities revitalize their language and culture.

Participants from Acadian, francophone and Mi'kmaw communities will observe the session to acquire best practices to use in their communities.

During the month, Gaelic Affairs will unveil the first in a series of Gaelic-based training materials for community-based language instructors.

Information about Gaelic Awareness Month activities is available at www.gaelic.ca .

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Nova Scotia is celebrating Gaelic Awareness Month in May. The month is a time to celebrate and learn about what is happening in Gaelic development in the province.

The Office of Gaelic Affairs will host a training program at the Gaelic College in Cape Breton that will help pass on language from Gaelic speaking elders to learners. Leanne Hinton, a retired linguistics professor who has worked with numerous Native American communities to revitalize their languages, will lead the training.

The office will also unveil new Gaelic-based materials to assist community-based language instructors in passing on language to students.

Minister of Gaelic Affairs Maureen MacDonald says the month is an opportunity to acknowledge that Gaelic language and culture continues to shape Nova Scotia's identity.

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Media Contacts:

Lewis MacKinnon
Gaelic Affairs 902-424-4298 Cell: 902-237-0295 E-mail:
Michael Noonan
Communities, Culture and Heritage 902-424-1593 E-mail: