and other indigenous people have long fought for the right to speak
and be spoken to in their own languages. But the best way to ensure
that that continues is by regular usage, Nunavut officials say.
"The Inuit Language is our own unique
way of expressing ourselves and a wonderful reason to celebrate
every day," said James Arreak, Minister of Languages, in a
"Nunavummiut have the right to use
and be served in the official language of their choice from government
offices," said Nunavut Languages Commissioner Alexina Kublu."The
Official Languages Act and the Inuit Language Protection Act is
only one aspect of the struggle to protect languages. The best way
to ensure survival of a language is through regular use."
They were kicking off Inuit Language Week,
or Uqausirmut Quviasuutiqarniq, which goes from February 711
and includes a host of activities throughout the territory.
It"s an attempt to reverse a decline
in the use of the Inuit language in Nunavut homes, the territory"s
press release said. Over the past 10 years it has dropped from 60
percent to 53 percent, prompting the languages minister and commissioner
to challenge Nunavummiut "to reverse this trend, not only during
Uqausirmut Quviasuutiqarniq but everyday," the press release
Various activities are promoting the use
of the language, including an Inuit Language Standardization Symposium
from February 811 hosted by the Inuit Uqausinginnik Taiguusiliuqtiit
(Inuit Language Authority) in Iqaluit. In addition, schools have
received packages outlining Inuit Language activities, and a set
of language posters is being launched. There"s also a contest
for Nunavut government employees to submit an Inuktitut Word of
the Day and win prizes.