Aboriginal Language Gets Official Status in Nunavut, Canada

April 04, 2013

As of April 1, Inuktitut became an official language of Nunavut, putting it on par with English and French in the territory.

“This level of statutory protection for an aboriginal language is unprecedented in Canada,” said the Government of Nunavut’s Department of Culture and Heritage in an April 2 news release.

The passage of the Nunavut Official Languages Act has been five years in the making. This act takes the place of the Northwest Territories Official Languages Act, which recognized only English and French as official languages. The older act did give “a lesser set of rights to seven aboriginal languages, including Inuktitut,” according to Uqausivut, a comprehensive language plan. But, as the plan points out, “This does not reflect the realities of Nunavut, where a majority of people speak neither English nor French as their first language, but a single Aboriginal language.”

To help support public agencies in becoming compliant with the new act, the Department of Culture and Heritage will provide $5 million for Inuit language initiatives.

“I am proud that Inuit in Nunavut now have a clear statement of their inherent right to the use of the Inuit language in full equality with English and French,” said James Arreak, Minister of Languages, in the press release.



dncovington's picture
Submitted by dncovington on

That is one of the ONLY Native languages for that continent. And I'm ready to learn it before visiting there!

Pamela Andrews
Submitted by Pamela Andrews on

dncovington: What? There are hundreds of native languages on the North American continent. In fact, Inuktituk is only the 3rd most widely spoken of the over 50 languages from 11 different native language families in Canada. I'm glad you're ready to learn Inuktituk, but please educate yourself about the rich diversity of North American native culture before making such blanket statements.

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on

I think it is better than nothing. Here in Brazil native language simply disappear , and nobody cares about it.

Bill Birtch's picture
Bill Birtch
Submitted by Bill Birtch on


Nunavutmmiut's picture
Submitted by Nunavutmmiut on

alianai! quvianakuni! My own mother-tongue in my own territory is now recognized!

Rolonne Marie Ross's picture
Rolonne Marie Ross
Submitted by Rolonne Marie Ross on

It is about time.Should have been instituted 100 plus years ago...R


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