Language, culture are top Nunavimmiut concerns, Parnasimautik consultation finds
Final Parnasimautik report expected mid-2014
The need to protect and promote Inuit language, culture and identity was identified as a clear priority in the Parnasimautik consultations that visited each and every Nunavik community in 2013 for feedback on a plan for Nunavik’s future development.
The Kativik Regional Government and the Makivik Corp. are using the Parnasimautik process to develop a blue print for Nunavik’s future.
In a summary of this feedback recorded in the consultation, the words “culture” and “language” were found clearly highlighted in each community’s report.
“Our language is eroding,” reads the opening sentence taken from consultations in Kangiqsujuaq.
“Our heritage and culture is not given enough recognition,” concluded a workshop held in Salluit, while participants in Aupaluk said “we lack funding to preserve and save our culture.”
“Governments should put more money in the institution created to help us preserve our culture,” read the summary of consultations in Akulivik. “Inuktitut, our language, should be used in books and dictionaries, on the radio and TV, in schools and on the internet.”
Through the consultation process, regional organizations even expressed the desire to create an Inuktitut language authority to help preserve and promote Nunavik’s language.
But language and culture aren’t the only concerns on the minds of Nunavummiut these days. The consultations touched on a number of issues, including harvesting rights, education, justice and telecommunications.
Parnasimautik was launched in 2012 to help create a blueprint for the region’s well-being, say its facilitators, along with a set of conditions for the renewal of Nunavik’s relationship with Canada, Quebec and industrial developers.
Consultations are wrapping up this month, as youth from each community hold a final meeting this week at a Kuujjuaq conference.
“So there’s a lot of work cut out for us in the next couple of months,” said Maggie Emudluk, chair of the Kativik Regional Government’s regional council, said at the KRG’s recent council meeting.
“We can’t stay in the same place forever; we need to grow and develop and improve,” she told regional councillors. “And there’s a lot of room for developing — a lot of areas need to be negotiated with the government.”
There remain many things to smooth out at the community level, Emudluk said, many of them long-lasting impacts of culture shock in Nunavik’s communities.
Parnasimautik, which means “what you need to be prepared,” is way of “communicating and ironing out the stumbling blocks in our lives,” she said.
If anything, the process of visiting different communities and gathering feedback has helped create unity between local organizations and Nunavimmiut living on either coast, said Mary Pilurtuut, vice-chairperson of the KRG council.
“I’d like to see that become even stronger,” she said.
The Parnasimautik consultations grew from the document Plan Nunavik – a response to Quebec’s Plan Nord – along with the desire of many Nunavimmiut to take part in a public dialogue following a 2011 referendum, where the region voted down a proposal to merge regional organizations and create a Nunavik assembly.
“Not too many people talked about self-government [during the consultations] but most of what we talked about in itself is a process of self-government,” Pilurtuut said. “The proposal was turned down, but there’s always room to improve.”
Parnasimautik’s final list of proposed priorities will be delivered to Makivik Corp.‘s April annual general meeting for approval, before it is delivered to the provincial government sometime this fall.