Nunavut Television Network Launches Inuit Language Channel


Inuit Canadians will soon have 24/7 access to Inuktitut-language television programming.

The Nunavut Independent Television Network (NITV) launches a new channel – Uvagut TV – starting Monday at 12:01 am

It will be available nationally to Shaw Direct customers and to Arctic Co-ops cable subscribers in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, according to a press release announcing the launch. It will also be streamed online through the website.

The new channel’s Inuktitut title translates to “Our TV” in English – a term used to encompass all Inuit languages, including Inuktitut, which is spoken in western and central Nunavut.

Canada is home to several other Inuit regions in addition to Nunavut, including the Inuvialuit region of the Northwest Territories, Nunavik in northern Quebec, and Nunatsiavut in Labrador.

Uvagut TV bills itself as the country’s first indigenous language-focused TV channel. The content will be primarily in Inuit languages, with English subtitles, says network executive director Lucy Tulugarjuk.

“For me, Uvagut TV is a dream come true – seeing Inuit culture and hearing our language full time on television,” Tulugarjuk said in the statement.

“As our elders pass away, we are fighting against time to preserve Inuit culture and language for our children and grandchildren. Television in Inuktut all day is an effective way to keep a language alive for future generations. “

Circus artists from the Artcirq group. Music and performing arts television from Inuit regions across Canada will be broadcast on Uvagut TV. (CBC | High Arctic Haulers)

Tulugarjuk said the network will also offer programming in Inuinnaqtun, an Inuktut dialect spoken in western Nunavut, and Inuvialuktun, which is spoken by Inuit in the Northwest Territories.

These two languages ​​are considered dying languages, and organizations in these regions that create cultural programming for television, such as the Inuvialuit Communications Society, often also create content in English.

Tulugarjuk says the network hopes to have content from Alaska and Greenland in the future.

Daily television in Inuktut for children

Uvagut TV will offer five hours of Inuit-language children’s programming each day, aerial programming by circus and performing arts group Artcirq from Igloolik, and award-winning films such as Atanarjuat: the fast runner, the statement said.

The Nunavut Independent Television Network will create programming through partnerships with other Inuit video production companies, such as Taqqut Productions, a youth-focused company, online arts and cultural media group IsumaTV, and the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation. (IBC), founded in 1981., which currently broadcasts the majority of its content on the Indigenous Peoples Television Network (APTN).

NITV says it’s registered with the CRTC as a discretionary service, meaning it’s exempt from the type of license a large broadcaster would need, due to its small subscriber base.

In July, Nunavut Day, another broadcaster announced their own plans to launch an Inuit-language channel called Inuit TV, but that plan has not yet been approved by the CRTC and is still ongoing.

The Inuit Television Network receives funding from Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated – the organization that represents the Inuit in Nunavut – to continue the creation of this television station.

Uvagut TV is separate and is not in partnership with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.

Dying languages, shared archived content

NITV has been broadcasting programming on community cable in Nunavut since 2010 and works closely with streaming company IsumaTV, which started in 2008. NITV says the only external funding it accessed for the new channel was a $ 90 grant. $ 000 from a COVID-19 relief fund for Indigenous television.

“In the absence of external funding, all of our program providers have agreed to defer the license fee for the channel to air,” the network said in an email.

The Inuit Broadcasting Corporation will share six hours of its own content with NITV daily.

“IBC is ready to work with anyone to bring our invaluable programming to the public,” the broadcaster said in a press release Friday. “Seniors have been waiting for over 20 years for this to happen. ”

The Inuit Broadcasting Corporation building in Iqaluit. IBC will have six hours of content per day on Uvagut TV. (Inuit Broadcasting Corporation / Facebook)

IBC content includes archived videos of the creation of Nunavut and its Inuit governments, cooking shows on country foods, concerts and performances by Inuit-speaking musicians, and tales of stories and legends. Inuit.

“We have collected and preserved this treasure, and it must breathe in Inuit homes and we are happy that some of the content is being seen on this new station with new and innovative programming that IBC is now planning,” IBC said in the Liberation.

NITV says it will also use the channel to broadcast political content, such as live environmental hearings by the Nunavut Mary River Mine Expansion Impact Review Board. These two-week hearings begin on January 25.

The Nunavut Independent Television Network is working to make the channel available on other satellite and cable systems, it said in the statement.

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