Teamwork! Staff and Elders working together to finish a big sewing project.
We're in this together.
In our 25th year, we are all in for Inuinnaqtun! And if you're reading this newsletter, we know that you are too. We wanted to say a big thank you for following along and supporting our work to see Inuinnaqtun thrive.
Over the past few months, we have been able to do more together, and in-person. The May Hakongak Community Library & Cultural Centre has re-opened to the community 6 days a week with new and extended hours, and we're getting into a groove connecting our communities virtually in new ways as well.
As we continue to move forward together, we wanted to share a few exciting updates with you from the frontlines of Inuinnaqtun revitalization.
The Board Appoints Emily Angulalik
Our New Executive Director!
We are thrilled to announce the appointment of Inuinnaqtun leader Emily Angulalik as our new Executive Director. Emily will lead the Pitquhirnikkut Ilihautiniq / Kitikmeot Heritage Society, and bring Inuinnait communities together to foster innovative solutions to the revitalization of our language and culture.
“The Executive Director has a vital role in our organization and to the people it serves, working to nurture our language and culture. Working with Emily, we will continue to follow our vision to carry out programming for our future generations.” – PI/KHS Board of Directors
Read our full announcement here.
Those who make the way forward together
In January, we held the very first virtual meeting of Inikhaliuqatigiit / 'Those who make the way forward together', connecting language leaders from Cambridge Bay, Gjoa Haven, Kugluktuk, and Ulukhaktok. Spread out across remote communities with varying internet connectivity, we worked through connection issues, with some dialing in by phone, and others using video. Since then, Inikhaliuqatigiit has been meeting monthly to focus their energies and expertise on developing the Inuinnaqtun resources and strategies needed for transformative revitalization across all of our communities. Together, they are making the way forward for all of us.
Led by Emily Angulalik, the team is tackling their first project: to create an online language curriculum called Inuinnaujunga, which translates to 'I am Inuinnait'. Starting with a 10-lesson beginner's module, Uqahukhiutit, the course is aimed at adult Inuinnait who are in the process of reclaiming their language. The team is approaching learning in a way that is deeply informed by intergenerational trauma and the consequences of being denied one's language. Uqahukhiutit will take learners on a very personal journey of reconnection, helping them understand and embrace their identity in relation to their kinship network and the land.
It is our goal that the curriculum will help dismantle sources of trauma and pain, by empowering learners to honour and rebuild relationships and kinships through their language learning. Focusing on their own wellbeing and self esteem, learners will be fully grounded in Inuinnait culture as they reawaken the language within themselves.
Building Nests to Nurture Language
Our Summer Immersion Camp for Families
As the days get longer and warmer across the Arctic, snow begins to melt and the first migratory birds return to their summer grounds to signal the start of spring. The landscape is abuzz with their songs and movement as they spend days and weeks gathering materials like grasses, plants, lichen and moss in the surrounding environment. They're building nests of all sizes to incubate the precious eggs that they will rear—the next generation of their species. These fortified structures provide a safe haven, protecting and nurturing the young until they are ready to fly on their own. Just like a bird's nest, a language nest protects and immerses those inside in a world that nurtures and supports their growth in Inuinnaqtun. The language nest concept originated in New Zealand in the 1980s as part of the Māori revival and is an immersion-based approach to learning one's language, geared towards children during crucial development years when they are particularly receptive to picking up language. If you're interested in learning more about the success of language nests, read about how they are being used to protect endangered languages in British Columbia here. While a language nest is an idea rather than a physical structure, it plays the same role. Earlier this month, we spent two weeks in a language nest of our own making, nurturing families who attended our Inuinnaqtun Immersion Camp. While language nests typically target the youngest generations, we want to support families to be part of this larger movement and work towards building intergenerational language nests, both in their own homes and in public spaces.
Whether we were inside the May Hakongak Cultural Centre, or outside on the land, our Elders and fluent speakers created an Inuinnaqtun space and immersed families in our language through activities and games rooted in Inuinnait culture.
Here's what some of our participants said afterwards:
"Very ideal to have families invited to be together and learn."
"Family programs are important as children can practise and communicate with family and parents at home."
Supporting Healing Alongside
The reasons why we are no longer speaking our language are complex. We have initiated multiple programs to support our communities to reclaim Inuinnaqtun, but language learning must also involve support for healing at the same time.
While speaking our language and being immersed in our culture will restore the links to our ancestors and their worldview, regaining Inuinnaqtun is just part of the healing journey. Our knowledge keepers and our Elders have to be part of the ongoing process as we all heal together from the effects of intergenerational trauma and work instead to build intergenerational support systems.
Evidence has shown the power of psychological support in healing. Humans are wired for social connection, whether it is to share positive, exciting news with our network, or to have somewhere to turn for guidance or a listening ear during challenging times. That's why we're committed to creating a culture of safe spaces where we learn and speak without fear, worry or judgment, encourage questions, uplift and give each other strength, listen and empathize, and applaud each other on the path to rediscovery.
Starting this fall, our staff and local Elders will receive ongoing training from mental health and wellness professionals so that they can effectively support all who will be part of the language revitalization process—the Elders and Mentors passing on their language, and the learners who will be carrying the language on for the next generations. With strengthened knowledge and understanding, our team will be prepared to foster immersive safe spaces for language learning, and they will continue to work alongside counsellors to embed evidence-based and culturally-informed paths for healing in all of our language programs.
|In the year of our 25th anniversary, we reconfirmed our commitment to reawakening our language and culture. We are all in for Inuinnaqtun. |
Every dollar directed to Akhuuqhimajara Inuinnaqtun supports critical initiatives like those we shared above—programs that are empowering Inuinnait to find our voices and reconnect to our ancestors and the worldview that is now ours to steward.
Since March 6, we have raised 73% of our goal to support healing and cultural resurgence. Will you help us reach our goal of $250,000?
|A new study is revealing a fascinating connection between British Columbia's Indigenous language families and the genetic variation of grizzly bears. |
While there are approximately 7,000 languages in the world, 10 of them dominate the internet. We're starting to see Indigenous youth take ownership of the Internet and carve out space for their languages.
The Māori Language Commission is hoping to set a new record this year! New Zealanders are invited to participate in Te reo Māori 2021 on September 14. In 2020, 1,058,356 people sang, recited poetry, paddled waka ama, prayed and celebrated the language. This year, they're hoping to see 2 million people join in the virtual Māori Language Moment, standing together as New Zealanders to commit to preserving their language for future generations.
How a hunt for bannock inspired a Cree language children's book.
|Kaapittiaq means 'good coffee' in Inuinnaqtun but it’s more than a brand...it’s a creed, a measure of Inuinnait values, and an experiment in how Indigenous companies can strengthen their communities. When customers buy Kaapittiaq, it’s both for its taste and the good it creates in the world through its commitment to support Indigenous culture, employment, and capacity.|
Our social enterprise is celebrating a new milestone! Not only did Kaapittiaq launch a brand new roast and line of merchandise created by Hinaani Designs last week, but the popular 1lb and 8oz bags are now 70% compostable. Read the full announcement.
|Canada Council for the Arts has an upcoming intake for proposals to the Creating, Knowing and Sharing stream to support First Nations, Inuit or Métis organizations, artists, cultural carriers or arts/cultural professionals fund short-term projects. |
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We're a leader for culture and heritage in Nunavut, guided by an Inuinnait Board. We address projects of critical importance to the revival of Inuit culture, language and history. We focus on the critical needs of Inuinnait—a distinct regional group of Inuit living in the Central Canadian Arctic.
Our mission is to preserve and renew Inuinnait knowledge, language and culture for the benefit of all Inuit.
Our vision is to concentrate and connect the resources, expertise and technology critical to Inuinnait cultural and linguistic survival.