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2014 Uqausirmut Quviasuutiqarniq

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Uqausirmut Quviasuutiqarniq
February 17 – 21, 2014

Uqausirmut Quviasuutiqarniq is a time to focus on Inuktut. Let’s learn and teach. Let’s sing and tell stories. Let’s take action.


The 2014 theme is “Our language keeps our culture strong.” It was inspired by youth who consider Inuktut to be a central part of their culture. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Our language roots us in our culture. When you practice our language, you make our culture stronger. 
  • Our language and culture are naturally connected. Together, they thrive! 
  • Practice Inuktut while doing traditional activities.
  • Use Inuktut with your children at home, with your friends and relatives in your community, and with your coworkers at work.
  • Encourage everyone to use Inuktut in digital and social media! Tune in to your local radio station to listen to Inuit stories and music. Watch Inuktut videos and movies online. Chat in Inuktut on social media sites.  

The 2014 poster shows Inuit singing in our language and proudly celebrating our culture.


What Will You Do?

This celebration is for everyone. We can all practice, teach, and promote Inuktut. 


February 21 is International Mother Tongue Language Day!

Mother tongue languages support wellbeing and community development. International Mother Tongue Language Day raises awareness about this. This day is also about the value of language diversity.

International Mother Tongue Language Day – February 21 


Background on Uqausirmut Quviasuutiqarniq

We have this celebration every February, during the same time as International Mother Tongue Language Day (Feb. 21). 


The purpose of Uqausirmut Quviasuutiqarniq is to promote the use of Inuktut and to raise awareness about its importance, history, status and diversity across Nunavut. We also want to publicize Inuktut information and resources (in accordance with the Inuit Language Protection Act).


Inuktut is one of three aboriginal languages in Canada that has a chance of long-term survival. But, Inuktut will only survive if we take action. The use of Inuktut has slowly declined over the last few decades. According to Statistics Canada, the use of Inuktut in our homes dropped from 76% in 1996 to 64% in 2006. The change in Inuktut use at home is a warning sign, because home is where our children learn language first. 


Together, we can reverse the decline in Inuktut use. Our language still has a very strong foundation. And, our language is now protected under territorial laws. But, we must all take action—in our homes, schools, offices, and communities. 


What Can We Do?

What can individuals do? Use Inuktut every day. Share our language with others, especially our children. Practice by talking and writing with others. Find more fluent speakers for support. Each time you use Inuktut, you help to keep our language and culture strong. 


The Government of Nunavut is committed to working in Inuktut and supporting the use of Inuktut throughout our society. We committed to this under the new language laws (the Official Languages Act and the Inuit Language Protection Act). With input from people and organizations across Nunavut, we created a comprehensive plan to implement the new language laws. Our plan is called Uqausivut. 


Raising public appreciation for Inuktut and awareness of the issues is part of our plan. We want to raise the status of Inuktut in our daily lives. We want more people to speak Inuktut at home, in schools, in our communities, and at work. Day by day, our language will grow even stronger and our culture will continue to thrive.


About the Name: Uqausirmut Quviasuutiqarniq

The first time we held this celebration of Inuktut, it was called Inuktitut Uqauttin. That means “speaking in the Inuit way” (in the Igloolik dialect). 


Uqauttin is the traditional plural form of uqausiq (“word,” “language”). This form is still used in Greenlandic (spelled as oqaatsit), in Inupiaq and Inuvialuktun (uqautchit/uqauttit), and in other western dialects of Inuktut. This form was commonly used by previous generations in the Eastern Arctic but it is not used very much now.


We consulted with communities across Nunavut about the name. Based on those consultations, we changed the name to Uqausirmut Quviasuutiqarniq in 2005. We chose this name because it can be understood in all dialects. It means “celebration of our language.”


What is “Inuktut”?

The Government of Nunavut now uses the term Inuktut to refer to all Inuit language dialects in Nunavut. This includes Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun. This term replaces the English phrase “the Inuit language.”