Canada’s National Inuit Youth Summit will kick off on Thursday in Iqaluit, the capital city of Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut.
Approximately 100 Inuit between the ages of 15-30 years old, from each of Canada’s four Inuit regions, will participate in everything from workshops on traditional skills, to establishing upcoming priorities for the National Inuit Youth Council (NIYC).
“(The Summit) allows the Inuit youth to identify priorities that they bring from their respective regions,” said Maatalii Okalik, the president of the National Inuit Youth Council, the group that has set up the event.
“Youth will be able to contribute and raise their voices and concerns.”
Representing regional differences
Canada’s Inuit regions are spread out across the country from the Inuvialuit Settlement Region in Canada’s western Arctic all the way down to Nunatsiavut in Atlantic Canada.
Each have different cultures, dialects and histories.
But Okalik says this diversity makes the youth voice a stronger one, especially when bringing groups together from across the country to discuss issues like language preservation – and what the means for young Inuit today.
“There are lot of negative implications for not being able to speak Inuktitut fluently,” she says. “However I want to help to eliminate the shame around not being able to speak Inuktitut fluently.”
Other priority issues include cultural preservation, suicide prevention and education and traditional knowledge.
The National Inuit Youth Council was established by Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), Canada’s National Inuit organization, in 1993 to help ITK better understand the issues and priorities of Inuit youth.
The Summit runs from August 20- 24.
Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca
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