Publisher in Arctic Canada putting Inuit-language books online amidst COVID-19 closures

A cover of Amaqqut Nunaat (The Country of Wolves), one of the books being made available for free on the Inhabit Media website. (Courtesy Inhabit Media)
A publisher, in partnership with the organization that represents Inuit in Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut, are making Inuit-language children’s books available online, to help families amidst the three-week school and daycare closures ordered in the region in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We want to support learning from home, and to encourage people to use this time to come together and strengthen our language,” said Louise Flaherty, a cofounder of Inhabit Media, in a news release on Wednesday. 

Nine books are currently available and more will be added in the weeks ahead as long as the school closures last. A spokesperson for Inhabit Media told Eye on the Arctic they’re  working to choose books from their catalogue to respond to different grade levels.  

Inhabit and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc say they’re also working with Inuit educators on other tools to support Inuit language learning at home. Those education resource packages will also be released on the website in the coming days for the duration of the school closures. 

“NTI is proud to contribute to Inuktut learning, connecting families and enabling all of us to stay at home as much as possible,” NTI President Aluki Kotierk said.

Inhabit Media is an Inuit-owned publisher founded in 2005 to promote and preserve Inuit stories, language and culture. 

All books and resources are available here.

As of Wednesday at 6pm ET, Nunavut was the only one of Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories to still have no confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases in its jurisdiction.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Inuktitut language education terminology developed for Inuit region of Arctic Quebec, Eye on the Arctic 

Finland: Budget cuts threaten international Sámi language cooperation, Yle News

Norway: Walt Disney Animation Studios to release Saami-language version of “Frozen 2”, Eye on the Arctic

Sweden: Can cross-border cooperation decolonize Sami language education?, Eye on the Arctic 

United States: Inuit leaders applaud UN move to designate International Decade of Indigenous Languages, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying an culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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