17/04/19

Unique Mohawk Irish Language Scholarship announced by Minister of State Kyne and Mohawk Grand Chief Joseph Tokwiro Norton

Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands Seán Kyne TD, meets with  Mohawk Grand Chief Joseph Tokwiro Norton and James Kelly, CEO Ireland Canada University Foundation

Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands Seán Kyne TD, and Grand Chief Joseph Tokwiro Norton of the Mohawk Nation, today announced their shared support for a Mohawk Irish Language Scholarship.

This award, which will be administered by the Ireland Canada University Foundation, will facilitate a Mohawk Scholar from the Territory of Kahnawá:ke (Kahnawákeró:non) to attend an Irish Language course in An Cheathrú Rua  each year, beginning in Summer 2019.

The Mohawks of Kahnawá:ke (Kahnawákeró:non) are an ancient people with a vibrant culture and rich history, and are one of the eight communities that make up the Mohawk (Kanien:keha’ka) Nation. The Mohawk language is integral to their identity, and similar to the Irish language, is used in a context in which the English language is also present in daily life.

An Cheathrú Rua is a community located in the Gaeltacht of Connemara in the West of Ireland, a region of great natural beauty, famed for its traditional sailing boats and music, where the Irish language is spoken on a daily basis.

This scholarship will enable a Mohawk scholar to explore how the Irish language operates on a daily basis in one of the country’s strongest Irish speaking areas. It is anticipated that this award will open a connection for the people of An Cheathrú Rua with the Mohawk people, with a view to building connections around shared values of language, culture and community.

Speaking today, Minister of State Kyne said:

“I am delighted to meet with Mohawk Grand Chief Josepha Norton as we take the first step in developing a friendship between the Irish and the Mohawk people. It will be be our honour to welcome a Mohawk scholar to An Cheathrú Rua. Like the Irish, the Mohawk people are known across the world for their rich culture, heritage and language.  This new annual award will foster links between our people.”

Grand Chief Joseph Tokwiro Norton said:

“I see great similarities between the Mohawk people and the people of Ireland – there is a great spirit, a sense of the importance of our past, of our community. There are differences to celebrate also, and in this context, I think we have much to learn from each other – we are excited by this scholarship.”

James Kelly, CEO of the Ireland Canada University Foundation said: “the mission of the ICUF is to build links between Canada and Ireland, to contribute to friendship, co-operation between both countries. In considering Canada, we must also consider the indigenous peoples who like the Mohawk people have a vital role in the tapestry of life that is modern Canada, and we are greatly pleased and honoured to be supporting this step in our partnership with them”

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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