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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


May 3, 2003 - Issue 86


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Schools Seek Way to Save Struggling Language

by CBC North

CAMBRIDGE BAY, Nunavut - Kitikmeot school officials are working toward bilingual schools in the region in an effort to save a regional dialect of the Inuit language.

The government department held a workshop on the subject this week in Cambridge Bay.

About 25 people tried to come up with ways to bring Inuinnaqtun into Cambridge Bay and Kugluktuk classrooms.

James Eetoolook, a vice president of the Inuit land claims group NTI, is also the parent of a Grade 10 Cambridge Bay student.

His son gets 4.5 hours of Inuinnaqtun instruction a week.

He says there should be more Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun instruction in the school.

Eetoolook says Nunavut's goal is to make the two dialects the working languages of the territory.

"Anything that is geared towards Inuktitut teaching in schools should be explored because of our goal, we want to achieve our goal," he says. "I think we have to do a whole lot more a teacher, parent, students and as a concerned citizen."

Millie Kuliktana, the executive director of Kitikmeot school operations, says not many students can speak Inuinnaqtun.

Kuliktana says some can't communicate with their elders.

She says people in Eastern Nunavut have done a good job of getting Inuktitut into the schools, and she wants that to happen in the Kitikmeot.

"Now is the time to empower each other to say we are Inuit, we can speak in Inuinnaqtun and put it to practice," she says. " We need our communities to say 'hey, that's cool' so that everyone starts trying and everyone feels proud to be Inuk."

Kuliktana says her long-term goal is to have this year's Kugluktuk and Cambridge Bay kindergarten students graduate as bilingual people.

LINK: Our language, ourselves

Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada Map

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