Nunavut land claim board 'rejects' proposed reversal on Inuit language education

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The board of directors for Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. is "rejecting" a proposed law that would significantly roll back the government's commitment to offering Inuit-language education to Nunavut students.

Bill 37 would push the deadline for offering bilingual education to 2029 for Grades 4 to 9, and postpone the deadline for Grades 10 to 12 indefinitely.

"NTI has thoroughly reviewed Bill 37," said NTI president Aluki Kotierk, in a news release. "It will dilute our Inuit right to Inuktut education. This is unacceptable. Nunavut was created so that our rights to learn in Inuktut would be recognized and protected."

Inuktut is the name used for the two Inuit languages in the territory, Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun.

The board, made up of NTI's president and vice-president as well as the elected presidents of three regional Inuit organizations, passed a unanimous resolution during a regular meeting in Arviat.

NTI is instead asking the Nunavut government to come up with an Inuit employment plan that would include details on how to create more Inuktut-speaking educators. It's suggesting a deadline of December.

"It doesn't make any sense," Kotierk told CBC News, to push the dates by which bilingual education will be offered in Nunavut schools "without a concrete plan as to how it can be achieved."

The land claim body says changing the legislation is not the solution. Rather, increasing funding and support for Inuit teacher training is.

NTI is urging Nunavummiut who agree to contact their MLA or make a written submission to the standing committee on legislation by the April 21 deadline.