Canada: Inuktitut has been given the status of an official language in Nunavut, Canada, because it has been proven to be important in the area. As from April, 2013, the Official Languages Act replaces the Northwest Territories Official Languages Act, which gives unequal importance to the English and French languages, which were the only ones recognized as official.
The reality in Nunavut shows a high percentage of the population of Nunavut who do not speak French or English. Instead, these people communicate with each other in their aboriginal mother tongue. This unparalleled support of an aboriginal language ensures locals’ access to public services in Inuktitut itself and play a major part in the establishment of the language’s status. The Department of Culture and Heritage will support this new piece of legislation by providing $5 million to foster initiatives that will help solidify Inuktitut’s position.
James Arreak, Minister of Languages, commented on the situation and the outcome of the new legislation and highlighted the matter of equality: “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”.
Inuktitut, or Eastern Canadian Inuit language, is a language spoken in several areas in Northern Canada, like Quebec, Nunavat and the Arctic Ocean coast of Yukon. Inuktitut is one of the Inuit languages, which are those which are spoken all around the North American Arctic. According to the last census, there are 35,000 speakers of the language in Canada, making it an important language not only in the area, but in the entire country.