Inuktitut Language

In 1981, the participants at the first Inuit Elders Conference recognized the importance of the Inuktitut language and adopted a resolution proposing the creation of an Inuit Language Commission.

Sustained work on language began in the mid 1980s, when Kativik School Board organized terminology workshops for Nunavik translators and interpreters as part of its ongoing educational activities.

In 1984, the Nunavik Inuit Elders Conference created a Language Commission composed of six Elders, which was financed by SAGMAI (Secrétariat aux affaires gouvernementales en milieu amérindien et inuit) and which today is called the Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones du Québec (SAA — Quebec secretariat of native affairs). Unfortunately, the Commission existed for only a short time, and its funding was eventually transferred, in 1991, to the Taamusi Qumaq Project in Puvirnituq, which compiled a Inuktitut dictionary that was published that same year.

Since 1995, Avataq has received annual subsidies from the Native Languages Programme of Heritage Canada, which cover the salary of a full-time employee. For some years, Makivik Corporation has allocated a supplemental amount for the language programme. Since 1995, the terminology developed at the language workshops held by Kativik School Board has been added to a database; terminology workshops take place once or twice each year. Many other projects have been launched, as well, but the demand is so great that more resources, both financial and human, are required if the programme is to be completely.

Resource person

Zebedee Nungak, Specialist - Inuktitut Language


Avataq Cultural Institute
320 - 4150, Ste Catherine West
Westmount (Québec), H3Z 2Y5
Tel : (514) 989-9031
Fax : (514) 989-8789
Email :

Financing and collaborations

Renewable financing:

- Department of Canadian Heritage– Aboriginal Language Initiative
- Makivik Corporation
- Quebec Department of Culture and Comunications
- Kativik Regional Government


- Negotiating team of the Nunavik Aquupvinga
- Kativik School Board
- Québec Justice Department
- Public Works Canada