February 6, 2019 – Kuujjuaq, Nunavik – The President of Makivik Corporation says Inuit in Nunavik will continue to push for standalone language legislation that protects Inuktitut, which is absent from the newly announced Indigenous Language Legislation. Watt says it falls short of protecting and enhancing the development of one of the first Aboriginal languages of Canada – Inuktitut.
“I wrote to the government in August 2018 to congratulate the newly appointed Minister of Canadian Culture and Heritage, The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, and make our position on this issue crystal clear, that there has to be a standalone bill with regards to the Inuktitut language,” says Makivik President Charlie Watt. “The Inuktitut language is alive and strong and we want it to thrive and be officially recognized by Canada.”
Makivik is disappointed the new federal Indigenous language legislation does not include Inuit specific provisions for the protection of Inuktitut, despite indications made to this effect, and despite Inuit working closely with the federal government over the past several months. The process leading to the drafting of the legislation clearly fell short and can’t legitimately be called co-development as the Inuit were led to believe.
“As a former Senator I know that Inuktitut was the first Indigenous language to be officially translated in the Senate of Canada, and that took many years to accomplish,” said Charlie Watt. “We will not be deterred by what we know to be a setback in this flawed legislation. Instead we will persevere and continue to push the government, and make our case for the development of Inuit specific legislation that will protect, promote, and preserve our language.”
Political Advisor to the President and
Makivik is the land claims organization mandated to manage the heritage funds of the Inuit of Nunavik provided for under the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement. Makivik’s role includes the administration and investment of these funds and the promotion of economic growth by providing assistance for the creation of Inuit-operated businesses in Nunavik. Makivik promotes the preservation of Inuit culture and language as well as the health, welfare, relief of poverty, and education of Inuit in the communities.