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Standing Committee on the Official Languages Act: NTI affirms on-going commitment to language preservation

NR 03-01 LAN ENG NTI Supports Language Recommendations.doc

(January 29, 2003 — Iqaluit, Nunavut) Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated has formally declared its support for the recommendations put forward by the Office of the Languages Commissioner for the Government of Nunavut’s Official Languages Act.

NTI commends the Languages Commissioner and her staff for their detailed research, carefully worded legislation and their overall positive efforts to protect Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun through the Official Languages Act and a new Inuktitut Protection Act, said NTI President Cathy Towtongie.

NTI’s declaration of support was made through its submission to the Standing Committee on the Official Languages Act in Iqaluit on January 28. The land claims organization noted that preserving and protecting Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun are among its key priorities. The submission outlined NTI’s support for:
All but one of the Language Commissioner’s recommended changes to the OLA – NTI recommends a review be held after five years, not 10 as proposed
Incorporating key measures from the Inuktitut Protection Act into the new Education Act while it is still open to amendment
All signage should feature Inuktitut, English and French, in that order and in the same size, with Inuinnaqtun replacing Inuktitut in the communities of Iqaluktuuttiaq, Qurluqtuq, Kingaut and Umingmaktuuq, and
More support for children learning their language from, hearing their language used in institutional settings (stores, media, schools), and overall community reinforcement and the most important place where the Inuktitut language is born and nurtured is in the family, and what we learn in our families, we take into our schools and workplaces. And into the future.

While we recognize that the family is key to nurturing Inuktitut, government support through legislation, signage, workplace practices, and enforcement will ensure that our languages remain strong, Towtongie said.

For further information:

Nancy Campbell
Director of Communications
Tel: (867) 975-4900
Fax: (867) 975-4943 Jacqueline Simms
Director of Social & Cultural Development