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Inuit broadcaster encourages language revitalisation through short videos

Natasha Hill

An indigenous broadcaster in Canada is paving the way for language revitalisation.

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

An indigenous broadcaster in Canada is paving the way for language revitalisation after a recent decline in native speakers.

Julie Grenier (Inuk from Kuujjuaq) was one of the key speakers at the World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network conference today alongside Pango production chief executive Bailey Mackey.

Grenier is the director-general for Taqramiut Nipingat Incorporated (TNI), an indigenous regional radio and television production company.

Canada has three indigenous groups called the First Nations (aboriginal people), Inuit and Métis.

Grenier said their mission was to promote the language in hopes of increasing the number of fluent speakers.

“We started at 98% and have declined three points to 95% in the past five years. It might not look like much but it is, considering it’s been only five years.”

She said the production company broadcasted their programmes in the Inuktitut language for the Inuit of Nunavik Northern-Quebec.

A language resurgence could be achieved in a simple but innovative way such as at sports games, with Inuktitut being spoken by the commentator, she said.

The company found children were primarily consuming content on their tablets and preferred to watch shorter episodes.

To combat this, it shortened the run time of episodes and clipped out two to three minutes to further promote the content.

Parents started watching their programmes as it became more accessible for consumers.

During her presentation, she showed one of their popular children’s shows, Uvikkauvugut.

The show uses puppets to cover a wide range of topics with graphic stories, live action, animation and special effects.

She said they chose to broadcast the show with no subtitles because they found it helped their audience to retain the language.

Today is the final day of the World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network conference.

Hero image: Director of an indigenous broadcaster, Taqramiut Nipingat Incorporated Julie Grenier attends WITBN 2024 speaking on language revitalisation.

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