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.
(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)