'As Nunavimmiut we feel very strongly that we don't want to lose our 'language;.'

Elders update their vocabulary at conference


Inuttitut language preservation was the theme of Avataq Cultural Institute's 17th Nunavik Inuit Elders' Conference, which took place last week in Kangiqsujuaq.

In an effort to keep Inuttitut up-to-date, Charlie Arngak, president of Avataq, said elders, two from each Nunavik community, as well as Chisasibi, were asked to come to the conference armed with 10 modern words, such as computer, television or microwave, to discuss with the group.

"Youth were also there, and asked a lot of questions – it was a very good exchange," he said.

Arngak said conference participants felt that Inuttitut is thriving in Nunavik and they reaffirmed their support for the new cultural committees formed in every community to support language and culture.

"As Nunavimmiut we feel very strongly that we don't want to lose our language, so the cultural institute is there to promote and support the language and culture," he said.

They elected a new board: Isaacie Padlayat from Salluit, Minnie Etidloie from Kangiqsujuaq, Ida Saviadjuk from Salluit and Jeannie Nungak from Kangirsuk.

The conference also provided a chance for Marguerite Blais, Quebec's minister responsible for seniors, to include Nunavik in her consultation of Quebec communities on Sept. 27 and 28..

Quebec's province-wide consultation is called "The living conditions of our senior citizens: a challenge for society and a common responsibility" (Les conditions de vie des personnes aînées : un enjeu de société, une responsabilité qui nous interpelle tous).

At August's Katimajiit conference on social and economic development Kuujjuaq, Quebec promised $595,000 over five years to the Kativik Regional Government to adapt regional services and buildings to the needs of elders.

Avataq Cultural Institute holds the Elders' Conference every two years, bringing together elders with youth from Nunavik's Saputiit youth association. The next conference will be held in 2009 in Salluit.

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