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Assuituq National Park, near Broughton Island.

On the shore of Ungava Bay south of Killiniq.

Where Do We Go From Here?

John Amagoalik

The creation of Nunavut has significantly changed the way Canada is perceived by the outside world. Many countries are fascinated by what is happening here. As mentioned earlier, one of the main motivations behind the creation of Nunavut was for Inuit to live, study and work in Inuktitut in their new territory. I don’t think that Nunavut will ever be a unilingual political entity. It will always be bilingual. My generation is still comfortable in our language. I don’t know if I can say that about my children. I don’t think that they are as comfortable as I am in Inuktitut, but I know that they very much want to keep using their mother tongue. You turn on the television and it is ninety-nine point nine percent English. When you turn on the radio, it is better; it is about fifty percent. The strategy of assimilation shaped government policies and spending. When the time came to spend money on education, it was one hundred percent on English. It took them a long time to finally start putting some money into the teaching of Inuktitut. They called it cultural inclusion.
In Chapter Thirteen, John talks about how the creation of Nunavut has changed the image of Canada on the international scene. He describes how the depiction of a Canada created by two founding peoples has gradually changed to at last include indigenous peoples. He comes back to the main objectives for creating Nunavut, particularly to the government functioning in Inuktitut, the language of the majority, and what will have to be done for that to happen. He speaks about the importance of English in Nunavut’s government, and underscores the low representation by Inuit in the labour force of Nunavut.

He speaks about the place of Inuktitut and the difficulties in teaching the language that arise partly from the strategy of assimilation that was in effect for so many years, and of the lack of teachers. He sketches the best and worst case scenarios with regard to the future of Nunavut, and talks about the importance of creating lasting communities. He is also happy to see the constant increase in the earning of degrees and to note that certain problems, such as alcoholism, are fading. He speaks also of the role that the administrators will have to play in consolidating the future of Nunavut, and cites examples of certain communities that stand out. He talks about the importance that hunting and fishing should continue to have in Nunavut as well as the concerns about them, due especially to climate warming and the cost of equipment. Last, he closes with the possibility of Nunavut gaining provincial status.