Investing in an Inuvialuktun Language Immersion Program in Northwest Territories

From: Canadian Heritage

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting the efforts of Indigenous Peoples to reclaim, revitalize, maintain and strengthen Indigenous languages across the country.

Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament (Northwest Territories), announced $ 150,000 in funding for the development of an Inuvialuktun Language Immersion Program in Inuvik. He made the announcement on behalf of the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage.

This investment, provided through the Indigenous Languages component of the Indigenous Languages and Cultures Program, will support the development of an Inuvialuktun education immersion program that will contribute to the advancement of an Inuvialuktun Bachelor of Education Program.

The immersion program will be developed in collaboration with the Aurora Campus, the Beaufort Delta Education Council and with Inuvialuit Elders.

This is part of the engagement to which the Government of Canada has committed through the Indigenous Languages Act.

Quotes

“Our government is committed to supporting Indigenous languages and recognizes their contribution to the diversity and richness of the linguistic and cultural heritage of Canada. This investment is one of many that will be allocated to preserve and protect Indigenous languages.”

-The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage

“This investment will allow the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation to concretely put in place a mechanism that will keep the Inuvialuktun language alive for years to come. As a Northwesterner, I can only be proud of seeing Inuvik communities taking action to reclaim, revitalize, maintain and strengthen an important part of their heritage, the language of their ancestor.”

-Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament (Northwest Territories)

“Inuvialuktun is now at a critical point; IRC has heard from communities on the importance of prioritizing this issue across the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. IRC has been advocating at all levels for immediate actions needed to retain the language. These new funds are specific to the task and will allow Inuvialuit to begin the development on a much needed Inuvialuktun immersion training program. Taking responsibility for revitalization of Inuvialuktun means that we must first enable Inuvialuit with strong tools and approaches, guided by input from Inuvialuit Elders, so they are able to be immersed in the language and teach others. IRC is grateful for this financial support to initiate the immediate work to develop an Inuvialuktun immersion program.”

-Duane Ningaqsiq Smith, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation Chair and CEO

Quick facts

  • The Indigenous Languages Component of the Indigenous Languages and Cultures Program supports the reclamation, revitalization, maintenance and strengthening of Indigenous languages through community-driven activities.

  • The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation is an Inuit regional government located in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, dedicated to improve the economic, social and cultural well-being of the six Inuvialuit through the implementation of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement and by all other available means.

  • The Indigenous Languages Act was co-developed with national Indigenous organizations and received Royal Assent on June 21, 2019.

  • Budget 2019 announced an investment of $333.7 million over five years, starting in 2019-2020, with $115.7 million ongoing to support the implementation of the Act.

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