(February 21, 2019 – Iqaluit, Nunavut) On International Mother Language Day, Aluki Kotierk, the President of Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI), calls upon the Government of Nunavut to demonstrate leadership and a commitment to true partnership for Inuktut education as the Minister of Education proposes to postpone Inuktut Language of Instruction timelines with Bill 20, the Interim Language of Instruction Act.
“The government has an obligation to consult with Inuit on social and cultural development including education,” said Kotierk. “However, NTI had not received the proposed language under consideration for this interim legislation.”
“For years, the Government has sought to reduce Inuit language rights despite Inuit valuing and expecting Inuktut and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit to be taught in schools,” said Kotierk. “We are ready to work with Education, Culture and Heritage, and the Nunavut Arctic College to plan educator training, resource and curriculum development and to build capacity in our communities, among others. The Government of Nunavut must show leadership and partner with us now to develop a realistic plan which would inform new timelines for Inuktut Language of Instruction.”
NTI has continually communicated its support to the Government of Nunavut for educator training through the May 2015 Settlement funds. The Settlement funds available for government training initiatives is in excess of $34 million. Furthermore, NTI has also sought federal investment in a Nunavut Teacher Training Breakout Initiative to train substitute teachers in their own communities to be certified language specialists.
“Inuit commit to working together to implement the rights of our children recognized under the Inuit Language Protection Act as envisioned by our leaders”, said Kotierk.
Under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 the Government of Canada has jurisdiction for Inuit education and language programs and services. Inuit too must benefit from Indigenous rights, specifically GoC’s jurisdiction over Indigenous peoples under section 91(24), and Parliamentary responsibility for the Territory of Nunavut through the Nunavut Act.
Article 14 of the United National Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by Canada in 2016, states that Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning.
2019 is the International Year of Indigenous Languages. February 21 is the International Mother Language Day.
For further information:
Interim-Director of Communications
Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated