Statement made on 08 February 2012 by Senator Charlie Watt
[Please note that Senator Watt spoke in Inuktitut — translation follows. Click play to listen to the audio of this statement.]
Hon. Charlie Watt:
Honourable senators, today I rise on the occasion of Inuktitut Language Week.
Although this initiative was created by the Government of Nunavut, the Inuit language is also spoken in northern Quebec, Labrador, and the Northwest Territories, and in cities where the Inuit choose to live. Montreal, Ottawa and Winnipeg also have vibrant Inuit communities.
I am proud to say that my mother tongue is one of the strongest Aboriginal languages in this country. This is because Inuit continue to use their language at home. I am grateful that honourable senators are supportive of my wish to speak Inuktitut in this chamber as sometimes the words come more easily for me in my mother tongue.
When I speak Inuktitut in this chamber, it is a source of pride for the Inuit to know that their language is recognized by the Parliament of Canada.
We, the Inuit, also look forward to further cooperation and support from this government in the area of Inuktitut literacy programs and the development of Inuktitut language films and television.
Our language and culture provide us with the stability that we need, keep us connected to our ancestors and unify our families. These are the critical elements in preparing our youth for success in other arenas, because we know that happy, well-grounded individuals are more likely to be contributing members of society.
Thank you. Nakurmiik.