A still picture from the NFB film Martha of the North included in the Unikkausivut: Sharing Our Stories collection of films.

A still picture from the NFB film Martha of the North included in the Unikkausivut: Sharing Our Stories collection of films.
Photo Credit: Evangeline De Pas / NFB

National Film Board shares its treasure trove of Inuit stories


The National Film Board of Canada is launching a new learning resource designed to feature and share Inuit culture and life in the Arctic at the upcoming katingavik inuit arts festival in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Katingavik, which means a gathering place for ceremonies in Inuktitut, is the cultural component of the 20th Inuit Studies Conference that runs in St. John’s from October 7 to 10.

The new learning resource is part of the Unikkausivut: Sharing Our Stories initiative, a DVD box set of more than eight hours of film featuring stories from all four Canadian Inuit regions.

Each Inuit region – Nunatsiavut, in northern Labrador, Nunavik, in northern Quebec, Nunavut and Inuvialuit, in Northwest Territories – is represented with its own volume of films, with the learning guide available in six languages: four Inuktitut dialects, English and French, said Claude Joli-Coeur, Government Film Commissioner and NFB Chairperson.

(click to listen to the full interview with Claude Joli-Coeur)



The goal of the project is to share and promote the treasure trove of more 100 films, the world’s largest collection of Inuit cinema, made by various film-makers since the inception of the NFB in 1939, Joli-Coeur said.

“Since the foundation of the NFB, at the very beginning you had a white film-maker having a very white point view on Inuit stories and we have some very interesting films with that (perspective),” Joli-Coeur said. “Over the years that has changed, we get some white film-makers but they are really embracing the Inuit way of thinking, way of seeing things… And over the years we also shifted to have Inuit creators, Inuit film-makers to tell their own stories.”

A few years ago the NFB decided to make that unique collection accessible not only for the Inuit audiences but also for the rest of Canada, Joli-Coeur said.

In collaboration with the federal government, the Government of Nunavut, and with the support of Inuit organizations has selected more than 60 films from its collection, representing all four Canadian Inuit regions.

In 2011, the NFB released its first Unikkausisvut DVD box set with 24 films that are all in English, French and Inuktitut. The box sets have been widely distributed in cultural centres, schools and various institutions in the north as well as in southern Canada, Joli-Coeur said.

Map of Inuit regions of Canada. (Government of Canada)

Map of Inuit regions of Canada. (Government of Canada)

To mark the 10th anniversary of the Nunatsiavut land claims agreement, the NFB and the Nunatsiavut Government, have completed work on an expanded Unikkausivut: Sharing Our Stories box setwhich now includes six films from the Nunatsiavut region and in the local Inuktitut dialect.

“What we’re doing with that learning bundle, launching it at the Inuit Studies Conference is a learning resource that accompanies all those films to help students and their teachers to get the most of those films that we have released,” Joli-Coeur said.

The NFB is also working to actively encourage Inuit film-makers to tell their own stories, he said.

“It’s the power of cinema, of course, but when you see those films, when you understand the issues, the concerns, the beauty of what the North is bringing, you see our country very differently,” Joli-Coeur said.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Arts and Entertainment, Indigenous

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.


One comment on “National Film Board shares its treasure trove of Inuit stories
  1. Nellie Kusugak says:

    For us who won’t be attending the Inuit Studies Conference how can we purchase the Unnikkausivut: Sharing Our Stories box set?