Nunavut students honoured for celebrating language week
Nunavut’s department of culture, language, elders and youth has announced the winners of the 2003 Inuktitut Uqauttin (Language Week) poster contest.
The contest was divided into three categories, but when CLEY staff received the posters, they realized that the youngest students were not represented. So an extra category – Kindergarten to Grade 3 – was added.
All submissions were laid out according to school. The best ones were picked from each class, and the best ones were picked from each of the schools based on the picture and message.
Once all the artwork was categorized according to grade levels and the best ones were picked, it was then a matter of choosing the winning posters.
Joseph Kilabuk, a Grade 3 student from Alookie School in Pangnirtung won in the Kindergarten to Grade 3 category. The message on his poster is: “I like the Inuktitut language because it is our language.”
Kyle McLean, a Grade 6 student from Rachel Arngnammaktiq School in Baker Lake won in the Grade 4 to 6 category. His message is: “Keep our culture alive.”
Kathleen Merritt, a Grade 8 student from Alaittuq High School in Rankin Inlet won in the Grades 7 to 9 category. Her message is: “When you talk to your children in Inuktitut, it keeps our language alive.”
Bobby Misheralak, a Grade 10 student from Inuksuk High School in Iqaluit won in the high school category with a message of: “Inuit don’t have to lose their language.”
CLEY wants to conduct the contest again next year in partnership with the department of education. There have also been discussions regarding Aboriginal Language Month, which takes place in February and is run by the department of Canadian Heritage. CLEY wants to run the Inuktitut Uqauttin during the last week of Aboriginal Language Month.
The biggest complaint this year was that teachers in the communities did not know about the contest until the last minute.
Also, there was no winner from the Kitikmeot region. Penny Rumbolt, communications manager at CLEY, said the department received a number of submissions but they did not have messages on them.
“We’re hoping that in the future, by planning further in advance and getting in touch with the teachers, we’ll get greater participation. And then we’ll be able to make sure that we have representation throughout Nunavut,” she said.
“Too many Inuit these days are losing their language, so I just put that [message] on,” said Bobby Misheralak, the high school winner.
“I’m feeling proud of myself. Everybody’s going to know me. All my friends are going to know that I’ve won.”
The winning designs will be produced as glossy posters to be distributed throughout Nunavut during Literacy Week in October.