Monday, January 16, 2006

New Inuit Government in Labrador Canada Defends Language Policy

CBC News -The new Nunatsiavut Inuit government in Labrador Canada is defending a requirement that its president be able to speak both English and the native Inuit language Inuktitut. The town council in Hopedale says the rule excludes many excellent potential candidates who are not fluent in Inuktitut. However, Tony Andersen, the first minister of the Nunatsiavut government, says the requirement was put in place for a good reason.

Andersen himself is not fully fluent in Inuktitut. "I myself believe that the leaders should be able to speak to all, and I think that that is important – to speak to all in their own language, whether it's English or Inuktitut," he said.

Andersen said he is not comfortable with having to rely on an interpreter, especially when he stands in for the president.

"The Inuktitut language is disappearing, but the Nunatsiavut government is focused … that the language is retained and promoted in such a way that the language begins to grow," he said.

The Nunatsiavut election is scheduled for September, 2006. A formal turnover ceremony was held December 1 of 2005. The new government replaced the Labrador Inuit Association as the voice of Labrador's Inuit communities.

See Inuit Soapstone Sculptures for some excellent artwork from the north.

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