Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Speak and You'll be Set for Life

I was reminded of the time when i had to present at the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. No, they sit, they don't stand. And I think there was one half-aboriginal person in the committee.

But during that meeting, I had said this: "how can Inuit parents support us so much, trying to make us go through high school like that, and then when we go home they're saying, “You don't speak enough Inuktitut when you get home.” I always question my parents about why they support us so much in learning English and learning science, while at the very same time as we're learning that, I'm forgetting how to speak my language like my father does."

I was referring that my parents always told me to learn English so that jobs will be easier for me to obtain. I know, I believed them too. I am not saying that you shouldn't learn the language, I'm just saying maybe what we've been told is a lie or was a lie told to our parents.

Now I'll say this with all due sarcasm: In this great land and territory of ours. hahaha, did you laugh too? Anyways, in this part of the world, in this corner of the globe called Nunavut, language is an issue that is not taken lightly, which is a shame sometimes, because we take things seriously way too often. Anyways, two new language laws have been passed in the last year.

Official Language Act is this: The Official Languages Act (OLA) recognizes three official languages: Inuit language, English and French. Under this act the following rights are guaranteed:

Use of any official language in the Legislative Assembly debates or other proceedings;

Use of any official language in Nunavut Court of Justice and appeal court proceedings;

Anyone can communicate with or receive services in an official language from the head or central office of any territorial institution, and

If there is a significant demand, other territorial institutions that are not head or central offices also have a duty to provide a service in an official language.

Inuit Language Protection Act: "This is the only Act in Canada that aims to protect and revitalize a first peoples’ language. The aim is to increase the population of Inuit who can speak and read their language fluently. To help Nunavummiut achieve this goal, a new cabinet position of Minister of Languages was created under the act."

Remember that part about my parents and jobs? Well, I have been told and unfortunately many parents are still saying that. Even young parents are opting for Enlgish and is very evident in Kivalliq, Iqaluit and Kitikmeot. Yes there i said it. What is the shame of an Inuk to say that language in other regions is very weak? I know, I've met people from all three places and some don't even give a crap.

This will no longer be the case very soon, if the above laws are successfully and passionately carried out. Soon it will be the chic thing to be speaking and organizing in Inuktitut. Soon you will not be the favoured one if your only language is English. Soon government services shall be in Inuktitut, but don't trust the government on that because it is run by people who don't speak Inuktitut. Soon uni-lingual English speaking Inuit will be saying "son, i hope you learn Inuktitut because it will increase your pay-grade by 10 percent." or "daughter, Inuktitut is the language of the gods, it is so beautiful that poetry is the everyday language in Nunavut." or "there was a time when people in Nunavut only English now it is all Inuktitut and is so hard" I hope so.

You know its cool to speak Inuktitut. If you are young, listen to me please, at least this part:

it is you that is changing the face of Nunavut and it is your responsibility to speak your language. and believe me it needs changing. a little make-up can be good sometimes and have you seen Nunavut lately, looks like a 50 year old prostitute when it is only a 11 year old boy.

to speak Inuktitut is probably one of the most attractive traits that a person can have. I am utterly attracted to people that can speak Inuktitut. So you should be too. Forget that blue eyed qalunaaq and go for that Inuktitut speaking brown-eyed beauty.

we have the accents and dialects that are so pretty when spoken and should be practiced more readily and often, and that goes for proficient speakers as well.

If you cannot speak Inuktitut, you'll have a much harder time to get jobs (lets hope so)

Read and write in Inuktitut, because this culture really needs a revolution when it comes to literature. A culture that doesn't take advantage of its literature, orally or literally, has gone stagnant and should be resurrected.

I mean, when did it become cool to throat sing?

When will it become cool to speak Inuktitut? Pretty soon, if you don't - make sure you learn quickly because one day people like me (how scary is that) will eventually start making decisions. And when we make decisions, let's hope we are not angry and hope we don't have iron fists. With the amount of pride in some youth, I would not be surprised if they are ultra-nationalistic about being Inuk and speaking Inuktitut in 50 years. It is not going to happen, don't pee in your pants yet.

Speak Inuktitut and you'll be fucken cool.


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