Nunavik embarks on regional language conference
Annatuinniniq Uqausittinik to produce action plan on safeguarding Inuktitut
The future of the Inuktitut language will be on the minds of many in Nunavik this week as Avataq Cultural Institute holds its Annatuinniniq Uqausittinik, Saving our language, conference.
All Nunavik organizations and four representatives from every community in Nunavik have been invited to attend the three-day meeting in Kangiqsujuaq.
At the conference, delegates will listen to a panel discussion on “determining a secure future for Inuktitut (also called Inuttitut in the region)” and they’ll hear another panel talk about “youth voices on Inuktitut’s future.”
Then, they’ll divide into three “coastal” group workshops for discussions on language issues in the three regions of Nunavik — Ungava Bay, Hudson Strait and Hudson Bay.
The goal is to produce resolutions for various actions and an implementation plan by the end of the conference.
The gathering will also include some fun and cultural activities, including a “Johnny May candy drop” of goodies from a small airplane, a performance from the youth theatre company, Uvangaqqaaq word game challenge and a pisiit performance from the Napaaluk family.
The conference follows Avataq’s Inuktituurniup Satuurtaugasuarninga language project, which received, among other funds, a $2.7-million contribution from Nunavik’s Ungaluk crime prevention program.
The project’s team members visited every community in Nunavik as well as Chisasibi, a largely Cree community with a small Inuit population, asking such questions as “do you think the Inuktitut language has a future?”
For a report on the project, which received money from the federal and provincial governments, the project team produced statements, about 100 in all, such as “early warning indicators of the dangers Inuktitut faces in the modern world.”
Avataq president Charlie Arngak has said he hopes the language conference will help the region move ahead with the information and recommendations in the report, which include a call for “an official writing system.”
But Avataq will face yet another challenge after this week’s conference ends: the organization, which last year cut employees’ working hours and benefits, this year is trying to deal with even less money for its various projects and operations.