Today, Iqaluit has many technologies and devices. As the years have gone by, many people from different ethnic backgrounds have come to Iqaluit, but their arrival influences young Inuit children to act and behave differently. This causes them to be distracted from their culture by the variety of people and the modern entertainment which young children have become accustomed to. This is becoming a problem because grandparents and parents want them to carry their culture on to the next generation, but the present generation cannot do this if the schools, the community and family are not helping enough to help keep the culture alive. It is also partly the individual’s problem, too. If that person is more intrigued to kill zombies in their video games or do their makeup than learning their own culture, how are they going to teach their own children in the future?
In schools, the teachers and elders are not providing enough Inuit activities to teach the Inuit children what life was like as a true and strong Inuk. Compared to the other communities in Nunavut, Iqaluit has a variety of cultural backgrounds. For example, the majority of citizens in Clyde River are Inuit, so it is much more important for that community to teach the youth the importance of the Inuit culture. Schools there are teaching the students how to survive on the land with certain equipment and how to make Inuit clothing. In Iqaluit, we occasionally have culture-related activities and we have Inuktitut classes for 40 minutes every day. This is unfortunately insufficient for the Inuit children to learn about their own culture.
The Inuit culture is extremely important for the new generation in Nunavut. Having the new generation of children carry it on gives them a connection to their family’s past and shows them that continuing their culture will help the Inuit culture blossom once more.
JOY NOWDLUK (13), GRADE 8
Growing up in Nunavut as a young Inuk I try to learn everything I need to know. But I’m learning in a different way than my parents did. With my father growing up speaking Inuktitut and my mom speaking English, I’m having a hard time learning Inuktitut even more. Because I have to go to school, I never have time to go on the land with my dad.
The traditional language of Inuit is Inuktitut. While Inuktitut is one of the strongest aboriginal languages in Canada, not as many people use it any more. I think one of the main reasons it is decreasing is because of the media. The media such as TV, radio and social media like Facebook are mainly in English. There are not a lot of articles and shows that are written or spoken in Inuktitut.
Another reason that the use of Inuktitut is decreasing is that we do not have a lot teachers who speak Inuktitut and the teachers don’t have a lot of resources in Inuktitut. This means that they usually teach us in English. We do have one [class] in Inuktitut, but it is not enough to make us fluent. If we had more teachers who spoke Inuktitut and the teachers had more resources, then maybe we would become better at speaking and reading it.
My friends and I aren’t being raised like our grandparents or parents. We are being raised in communities and not on the land. We do not have to hunt for our food, we buy food at the store. We don’t have to make our clothes, we can buy them in stores, too. Back then they would travel by dog team, and now we go by cars. We don’t know how to hunt like our ancestors or live and learn from the land. We don’t have the traditional knowledge of our ancestors.
It is important to keep our language and culture strong because I want my kids to learn what I learned. If we lose our language and culture, then we wouldn’t be able to remember what it means to be Inuit, proud and strong people with a fascinating culture. I hope that our culture will last for many generations, so that other people can learn our language and traditions.