Nancy Mike and Andrew Morrison say it’s very important their daughters Viivi and Laivi learn Inuktitut so they will understand the feelings and dynamics of the family.

Nancy Mike and Andrew Morrison say it’s very important their daughters Viivi and Laivi learn Inuktitut so they will understand the feelings and dynamics of the family.
Photo Credit: Sima Sahar Zerehi/CBC

Indigenous family bans English to preserve culture

Like many parents, Nancy Mike and Andrew Morrison have to work hard if they want to preserve their aboriginal language. Because so much English is spoken in Iqaluit in the northern territory of Nunavut, they have decided to ban English at home and oblige their two daughters to speak their native language of Inuktitut, reports CBC.

“Language is not just language; it’s the way you transmit culture,” said Mike to CBC reporter Sima Sahar Zerehi. Mike said she wanted to be certain the girls were able to speak to her unilingual grandfather and great-grandfather and to be close with the extended family.

Nancy Mike takes her daughters to her hometown of Pangnirtung in Nunavut to help them learn Inuktitut and Inuit tradition.
Nancy Mike takes her daughters to her hometown of Pangnirtung in Nunavut to help them learn Inuktitut and Inuit tradition. © submitted to CBC by Nancy Mike

English is everywhere

Preserving the language is difficult because English in books, movies, toys and movies is ubiquitous. Although the school system has an Inuktitut stream, materials are most often in English.

When Mike reads English books to her children she translates on the spot.

Total immersion with extended family

Four or five times a year she and her partner send their children to visit relatives in the more remote town of Pangnirtung where they can spend time with family and be totally immersed in their native language.

They also enjoy the lifestyle which includes spending more time on the land and eating what’s called country food—food hunted or gathered locally.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Indigenous, Lifestyle, Society

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*

2 comments on “Indigenous family bans English to preserve culture
  1. Gangte Venbit says:

    So great to see this story! You are taking an important step in making sure Inuktitut lives on to the next generation. We hope that all those speaking an endangered language will take a similar path.

    Know that many of your endangered languages friends around the world are with you and wish you luck! We face similar struggles in our corner of the world, too. Our group’s next step is to create books for kids in our language, Gangte. It’s a language with only 15,000 speakers.

    As humans, we all need to cherish and protect our linguistic diversity. May all languages thrive!

    • Morne van der Merwe says:

      I’m glad to read such information. English did a lot of harm to languages and it needs to be reversed. English is not everything.