Language and CultureRB

Federal Government’s failure to incorporate any of the Inuit priorities into Bill C-91, “The Indigenous Languages Act”

June 20, 2019 – Inuit Tapariit Kanatami (ITK) regrets that that Bill C-91, “An Act respecting Indigenous languages“, passed into law without inclusion of any Inuit-specific priorities. In its current format, this law does not affirm Inuit language rights or close the legal and policy gaps that contribute to the erosion of Inuktut as the first, only or preferred language spoken by Inuit in Inuit Nunangat, and does not create any new legal obligations for the Government of Canada.
ITK and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc raised the following objections:
1. Bill does not recognize Inuktut as an official language within the 4 regions of Inuit Nunangat and requires Inuit to use English or French to access federal services
2. Federal departments and agencies do not have to offer services in Inuit language
3. Inequitable federal funding policies that favor English and French vs Inuit
4. Inuit in provinces must use English or French to access language services
5. Nunavut’s territorial language legislation does not apply to federal government departments.
Potential Solution
See response below

Federal Government’s refusal to expand the use of Inuktuk to deliver programs and services throughout Inuit Nunangat where 84% of the population speak Inuktuk is their first language

Feb. 5, 2019 – Failure to incorporate Inuit specific recommendations into the Indigenous Language Act. “Inuktut speakers make up the majority of the population in Inuit Nunangat yet the federal government allocates a larger share of public sector resources for the English and French speaking minority populations,” the position paper prepared by ITK states.
ITK also wants the new legislation to require federal services to be delivered in Inuktut within Inuit Nunangat. “Access to federal services in Inuktut is vital for Inuit, especially in Nunavut and Nunavik where Inuktut is the majority mother tongue,” the report states. Inuktut is the common language spoken by 84 per cent of Inuit living in 51 communities.
Potential Solution
Inuit priorities communicated to the federal government during the discussion phase:
* status of Inuktut in Inuit Nunangat with respect to federal laws and activities;
* use of Inuktut in the delivery of federal programs and services in Inuit Nunangat and elsewhere where numbers warrant;
* without restricting the responsibilities of provincial, territorial and municipal governments, measures to support the provision of Inuktut
programs and services in relation to education, health and the administration of justice;
* use of Inuktut in the federal public service;
* principles to govern federal financial support for Inuktut;
* the role of Inuit representative organizations in the negotiation of intergovernmental agreements in relation to Inuktut; and,
* timelines and schedules for implementation measures, supported by appropriate regulatory and other tools.

Conservative Government of Ontario for completely cancelling the $5M Indigenous Culture Fund

May 30, 2019 – Eliminating the $5M Indigenous Culture Fund in its entirety. The Fund was set up in response to calls for action from Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The initial plan was to cut $2.25 million. (Canadian Art)
The Indigenous Culture Fund was set up last year and is administered by the Ontario Arts Council. It supports First Nations, Inuit and Métis community-based cultural projects. The province was to make annual contributions of $5 million
Potential Solution

Federal Government for funding the delivery of federal services in Nunavut to the french minority at a rate 50x greater than for the delivery of services in the majority language – Inuktuk. On a per capita basis: French = $8,190 vs Inuktuk = $184

June 7, 2017 – Inuktut language services in Nunavut Tunngavik receive similar funding to French services despite nearly 50 times more speakers (CBC)
The federal government funds $14.25M over 4 years to support 435 french-speaking people (2011 census) vs. $15.8M to support 21,515 people who speak Inuktitut or Inuinnaqtun as their mother tongues. On a per capita basis $8,189.66 for French vs $183.59 for Inuktuk languages annually.
Potential Solution
English and French are not the only official languages of Canada, especially in the north where both languages are in the minority and do not reflect the linguistic reality. The solution is the expand the number of “official” languages to include indigenous languages as well.
Mar. 20, 2019 – Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. President Aluki Kotierk. With this budget, the Government of Canada has strengthened funding for minority language service for English and French, yet, failed to invest equitably in Indigenous languages. NTI seeks recognition that Inuktut is the majority language in Nunavut and must be the language of public services, including education, justice and health services.
July 9, 2019 – The aspiration of Nunavut is a step closer as Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) seeks guidance for self-government from Inuit Elders and commits to becoming an Inuktut language workplace announced President Aluki Kotierk from Kugluktuk today. Inuktut language assessments have been completed with NTI staff. All staff will receive on the job training and support based on their needs. New terminology in technical fields, finance and law will be developed. More than 200 hours in Inuktitut training have been delivered with Inuit staff of NTI in the past two years.


Federal Government’s failure to appoint an Indigenous Language Commissioner

April 1, 2016 – Failure to appoint an Indigenous Languages Commissioner as per Call to Action # 15 from the TRC Summary Report released on June 2, 2015
Potential Solution
June 21, 2019 – The Indigenous Languages Act includes a provision for the creation of the Office of the Indigenous Language Commissioner.
Under Bill C-91, the Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages will:
·       conduct or commission research to support Indigenous languages and to obtain information on language use and vitality in light of community language assessments
·       work with Canada and Indigenous organizations to support innovative language teaching projects
·       promote Indigenous language use
·       prepare annual reports to Parliament on the vitality of Indigenous languages
·       promote public awareness of the significance of Indigenous language rights, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action and the negative impacts of colonialism and discrimination
·       provide facilitation or mediation services upon request
The Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages will be overseen by a Commissioner of Indigenous Languages and 3 distinctions-based directors: one each for First Nations, Inuit and Métis languages.

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