The Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) Board of Directors voted unanimously to call on the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut to reject Bill 37, the proposed legislation that contains amendments to the Government of Nunavut’s (GN) Education Act and the Inuit Language Protection Act. The NTI Board of Directors passed the resolution during their meeting in Arviat recently. NTI President Aluki Kotierk said the board was extremely concerned that the proposed amendments have gotten to this stage, and called for Bill 37 to be withdrawn.
Since 2016, through correspondence and submissions, NTI asked the GN to commit funding to undertake an Inuit Employment Plan and to begin an ambitious program of training Inuit educators. Instead of changing the legislation, what is needed is substantially increased funding and support for Inuit educator training and Inuktut language curriculum development.
“NTI has thoroughly reviewed Bill 37. It will dilute our Inuit right to Inuktut education. This is unacceptable. Nunavut was created so that our rights to learn in Inuktut would be recognized and protected,” said Kotierk. “The NTI Board of Directors calls on the Standing Committee to recommend withdrawal of Bill 37 at this time. Appropriate legislative changes could be reconsidered once the Inuit Employment Plan is developed with timelines and adequate funding. All elected leaders in this territory represent Inuit. Not one of us can stand by and watch as the government brings in laws that will reduce Inuit rights to Inuktut language of instruction, and Inuit control over education,” said Kotierk.