All-Inuktut TV channel launches Monday

Uvagut TV will broadcast around the clock on ACL cable and Shaw Direct satellite in Nunavut and N.W.T.

As of 12:01 a.m. this Monday, Uvagut TV will start broadcasting 168 hours a week on ACL cable and Shaw Direct satellite services in Nunavut and the N.W.T. (Uvagut TV image)

By Jim Bell

(Updated at 4 p.m., Jan. 14)

A long-awaited all-Inuit-language cable and satellite television channel will launch at 12:01 a.m. this Monday, Jan. 18.

Nunavut Independent Television and Isuma TV will operate the new channel, called Uvagut TV. In English, the word “uvagut” means “us” or “we.”

“For me, Uvagut TV is a dream come true — to see Inuit culture and to hear our language full time on TV,” Lucy Tulugarjuk, the executive director and chair of NITV, said in a news release.

The new channel, announced this morning, will broadcast 168 hours of Inuktut programming each week — 24 hours a day, seven days a week — from producers such as the Inuit Broadcasting Society, Isuma TV, Arnait Video, Artcirq, Kingulliit and Taqqut Productions, and the Inuvialuit Communications Society.

That will include five hours of children’s programming per day, including IBC’s well-known Takuginai show.

All that content will be available to many Nunavut and Northwest Territories residents who subscribe to the cable TV service offered by Arctic Co-operatives Ltd., or the satellite service operated by Shaw Direct.

NITV, Isuma and the Inuit Broadcasting Corp. have been working with Shaw and Arctic Co-ops since last September to obtain an Inuit-specific television channel.

Arctic Co-ops offers cable television in 19 Nunavut communities and two in the N.W.T., using Shaw’s satellite service. Shaw’s own direct-to-home satellite service is also available in the N.W.T. and Nunavut.

Prior to the creation of the Aboriginal People’s Television Network, Inuit language content from IBC and others was easily available on Television Northern Canada, which broadcast to the three northern territories.

But after TVNC gave way to APTN, Inuit language producers found that APTN was able to offer only limited time slots for Inuktut content.

So the Uvagut TV channel’s launch means Inuit language speakers in Nunavut and the N.W.T. will be able to view more Inuit language content during prime-time hours than is available on APTN.

Uvagut TV has not stated the channel numbers that they will use on ACL’s cable TV system and on Shaw Direct.

In a surprise move last July 9, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc, gave $2.4 million to a separate entity called “Inuit TV,” whose president is Alethea Arnaquq-Baril of Iqaluit, for the purpose of establishing an Inuit language TV channel.

But now that NITV have jumped ahead of them and acquired their own channel, the status of that project is unclear.

(More to follow)

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(16) Comments:

  1. Posted by Shaw Subscriber on

    Is this channel included in with basic Shaw channels or does it have to be selected as an additional channel? What channel number will it be?

  2. Posted by Which one on

    Is this the IBC channel they were planning or the other one that NTI said they were going to make??

    • Posted by Sunami on

      NTI funds went to a company that can’t do TV Channel. This channel is not funded by NTI or GN.

  3. Posted by Just an Inuk on

    What about on Bell? Alot of Nunavumiut have bell too.

    Please look into it.

    • Posted by Nunavutmiut on

      Great question, what about Bell? Lots of Nunavutmiut use Bell satellite. Hopefully it gets to Bell so I can watch as well.

      • Posted by Make a decision on

        Sorry, can’t have everything everywhere. If you value watching this channel, then maybe you simply need to change to Shaw. If you can’t be bothered, then I guess it really didn’t matter to you.

        • Posted by Nunavutmiut on

          Yeah I guess I’ll close my Bell account, take down the dish and sell it with the receivers. Have a Shaw dish and receiver sent to my P.O box number, then start up another account just for 1 channel. Sounds practical, thanks for the tip Mike!

  4. Posted by trapper on

    I’m on bell guess I’ll never see it good question too them what about Bell.

  5. Posted by Joe on

    In Resolute, we are not even served by ACL for cable tv. Maybe it should say “ACL Cable TV serves 25 Nunavut communities except for Resolute.” I don’t even have Shaw.

  6. Posted by Free TV on

    What about free TV. Why do Inuit need cable or internet accounts to watch Inuit TV when in the south TV is available for FREE, over the air? Free TV offers better picture, better sound, and better price = Free, no cable bills or internet charges.

  7. Posted by boris pasternak on

    what channels on both systems please. hopefully Inuktitut spoken will be a lot better with the host(s) on this “all inuit” programming.

  8. Posted by nunavummiut on

    Has anyone lobbied Bell to have this channel as well? I wonder if there is a number or email that we Bell customers can all collectively call

    Please someone! Thanks 🙂

  9. Posted by Nipisa on

    Why is everyone complaining about Jim Bell?
    It is not his fault if everyone doesn’t get this new channel.

    • Posted by monty sling on

      This is very funnee…ur rip my stomach from ur post. J Bell and Bell? Which channel on Shaw?

  10. Posted by Terry Rudden on

    One strategy would be to get this channel up and running, then keep your eyes open to seen when the various distributors and cable companies are going to the CRTC to renew their licenses. IBC, TVNC and APTN all successfully used those license renewal hearings as an opportunity get wider carriage of their services.

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