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Inuit.org | Statement on International Decade of Indigenous Languages

Statement on International Decade of Indigenous Languages

Tuesday 27th of April 2021

Tuesday 27th of April 2021

Inuit Circumpolar Council

Statement on International Decade of Indigenous Languages

Item 5(f)

UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

April 27, 2021

Delivered by: Tukumminnguaq N. Olsen


Thank you, Madam Chair


The International Decade of Indigenous Languages is a crucial opportunity to further strengthen and support Inuit languages. Inuit transcend international borders, and Inuit Nunaat stretches across four countries.


Our efforts to promote, strengthen and support our language is about Inuit self-determination. Each time an Inuk utters a word in their language, it is an act of self-determination, especially in the face of the colonial approaches of the nation-states that proactively worked to eradicate us.


The Los Pinos Declaration invites Member States to consider establishing a national mechanism for the successful implementation of the IDIL. IDIL is an opportunity to do something bold and just. We call on all Member States to work with Inuit to achieve long-lasting, transformational change that will leave a positive legacy on our Inuit language and dialects.


We draw the Permanent Forum’s attention to the ICC Inuit Education Committee, which was established to ensure the rights of Inuit children to their language and culture throughout Inuit Nunaat.

We believe culture is the key and most important component of any Inuit-focused educational policies. Inuit aspire to develop our own institutions because our youth deserve better than the colonized school systems that have been imposed upon us.


To exercise and enjoy our interrelated human rights, it is vital to ensure that Inuit receive public services in Inuit languages.

Covid-19 and its impacts on our communities is one example. It is crucially important that our people understand public health messages – it is a matter of life and death – in this case. For this and many other reasons, we call upon governments to recognize Inuit languages as official languages within Inuit homelands so that our languages and our communities can thrive.


Qujanaq, Thank you.

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