Nunavut MLA slams GN for slighting Inuit language, culture
New government department has three names in Inuktitut
Nunavut has not lived up to the “great expectations” of Inuit, Amittuq MLA Louis Tapardjuk said March 13 in the Nunavut legislature.
“Many Inuit, especially elders, feel a growing sense of frustration, given that they see few of their values reflected in the government’s policies and services,” Tapardjuk said in a member’s statement. “The erosion of our culture and language is a phenomenon that we face every day.”
The Government of Nunavut has established “IQ Committees” to look after making sure Inuit Qaujimatuqaangit or traditional knowledge is part of the government and has hired “IQ Coordinators,” Tapardjuk said.
But “in some respects, this is a very bureaucratic approach,” he noted.
Policies, laws, programs and services that directly impact families must be developed with Inuit societal values and IQ as their foundation, he said.
“When it comes to preserving, protecting, and strengthening the Inuit language, we must carefully consider whether the best approach is a focus on translating the vast amount of documentation produced by government, or whether to work more on ensuring that services are delivered in the language of our constituents and enhancing the presence of the language in our schools,” he said.
Speaking later March 13 in the legislature, Tapardjuk took the GN to task over its sloppy Inuktitut translations.
Tapardjuk called on James Arreak, the minister responsible for language in Nunavut, to make sure that consistent and standardized Inuit language terminology is used for “each and every government department.”
The GN has created a new department, called the Department of Family Services in English, which Tapardjuk says has been called Ilagiinut Pijitsirautauvaktut, Ilagiinut Pijitsiraqtikkut and Ilagiinut Pijirautilirijikkut in Inuktitut.
“A formal entity should have a formal title. Can the minister confirm whether or not a standardized Inuit language term has been assigned to identify the government’s new department?” Tapardjuk asked
Arreak said he would ask the Inuit Uqausinginnik Taiguusiliuqtiit language authority and the Office of the Language Commissioner to make sure the new department has one name in Inuktitut.