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date: 14 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Supported by qualitative eyewitness accounts and reported quantitative experimental evidence, this chapter makes a case that using Indigenous languages has beneficial effects on the health of descendant language users. The chapter draws connections between traditional lands–culture–language, and suggests that the oppression of each of these affects the well-being of the people. Quantitative data correlates language use with lower suicide rates, diabetes symptoms, and reduction in risk factors for youth. Being bi- or multilingual, not necessarily in an ancestral language, appears to improve cognitive function throughout the life of an individual, and maintain gray and white matter such that aging of the brain is delayed. The chapter concludes with suggestions for action.

Keywords: Indigenous language, health, wellness, suicide

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