QUEEN’S PARK – An applicant can now access the G1 driver’s licence test in Ojibwe, following a recent announcement by Ministry of Transportation (MTO) that three Indigenous languages, Ojibwe, OjiCree and Cree, have joined the 27 different languages in which written and audio versions of the knowledge tests are available at MTO DriveTest locations across the province.
The announcement includes the remote delivery of driver testing in Northern and fly-in First Nation communities.
According to the MTO announcement, applicants can access the G1 driver’s licence test electronically or in an audio format, with printed copies available upon request.
The languages were added for several reasons, including the Indigenous Languages Act, which passed in 2019. The act supports the efforts of Indigenous peoples to reclaim, revitalize, maintain and strengthen their languages.
The initiative was also in response to the calls to action recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as well as the calls for justice from the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls National Inquiry. Those calls emphasize the need to preserve Indigenous languages as a fundamental element of Indigenous culture, society and identities.
The news was welcomed by Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territories Ogimaa Duke Peltier whose community is at the forefront of preserving and protecting Anishinaabemowin. “I think that any time a service offered by the government meets the needs of the people that it is intended to serve, we welcome that,” he said. “As part of reconciliation, to be able to understand the testing in the language is something we welcome.”
While Wiikwemkoong community members predominantly speak the Odawa dialect, and Potawatomi is also to be found in the community, all bear close relation to Ojibwe despite some variations.
The ministry worked with the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, to translate the material.