A new, all-Inuit Inuktut language channel has been launched in Canada, serving as the country’s first channel broadcast entirely in an Indigenous language. Devised by the team at Nunavut Independent Television (NITV), Uvagut TV (Inuktut for “Our TV”) began broadcasting Inuktut language shows, movies and live programming on January 18.
“Our ancestors survived by the strength of their wits and their community. These new ways of storytelling can help Inuit survive for another thousand years,” said Dr. Zacharias Kunuk O.C., a filmmaker and co-founder of NITV in a press release. “People who turn on Uvagut TV any time of day or night will see our own stories in our own language.”
Uvagut TV is currently broadcasting Inuktut programming 24/7 all across Canada, and can also be streamed online worldwide at uvagut.tv. Along with the Aboriginal People’s Television Network, Uvagut TV is the second channel geared toward Canada’s Indigenous community, and increases the amount of Indigenous-language programming available to Canadians by approximately 500%.
Inuktut is spoken by the Inuit people of Canada, largely in the territory of Nunavut—it is the second most widely spoken Indigenous language of Canada after Cree, with about 35,000 speakers. Lucy Tulugarjuk, the NITV chair and executive director, said in a press release that she sees Uvagut TV as a tool for preserving and revitalizing the Inuit people’s language and culture.
“For me, Uvagut TV is a dream come true—to see Inuit culture and to hear our language full time on TV,” Tulugarjuk said in the press release. “As our elders pass away, we are fighting against time to keep Inuit culture and language alive for our children and grandchildren. TV in Inuktut all day every day is a powerful way to keep a living language for future generations.”
Image courtesy: uvagut.tv