May 30, 2017, Ottawa, ON — ITK’s Board of Directors, made up of Inuit leaders from all four Inuit land claims organizations, passed a resolution to support Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) in calling on the Government of Nunavut to withdraw Bill 37.
In 2008, the Nunavut Legislative Assembly passed the Education Act, which requires the Government of Nunavut to implement bilingual Inuktut education for all students in Nunavut from grades 4 to 9 by 2019. However, Bill 37 would amend the Education Act by changing the timeline for implementing bilingual Inuktut education from 2019 to 2029, in addition to reducing local control of education.
“As ITK works towards implementation of the 2011 National Strategy on Inuit Education, Canadian Inuit encourage the Government of Nunavut to show leadership by taking action to curb the Inuktut language erosion and loss we are currently experiencing in Nunavut and across Inuit Nunangat. Bilingual Inuktut education from K to 12 is possible, and ambitious legislation that articulates the right of Inuit to be educated in our language is essential,” said ITK President Natan Obed.
“We appreciate the support of Inuit across Canada. Nunavut and Quebec are the only two jurisdictions in Canada with majority official languages that are not English. The Nunavut government is trying to reduce the official language rights of the majority Inuit, something it would never do to the English or French,” said NTI President Aluki Kotierk.
The National Strategy on Inuit Education recommends that jurisdictions implement bilingual education and train bilingual educators as key steps to ensure Inuit cultural continuity and increase educational attainment.
Inuit and other Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control our own educational systems and institutions as well as to provide education in our own languages, as affirmed by Article 14 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Government of Canada has pledged to implement the UN Declaration.