Language, Culture and Tourism Minister Roxanne Barbour says she is appalled to learn that the NunatuKavut Community Council (NCC) is planning to hold virtual Inuttitut sessions beginning this week.
“This is very upsetting,” says Minister Barbour, who is responsible for the protection, promotion and advancement of Labrador Inuttitut (Nunatsiavummiutut). The Minister noted that in the document, Unveiling NunatuKavut, the NCC maintains (based on research) that “the Inuit of South and Central Labrador had a different language system than those in Northern Labrador.”
“NCC claims to have their own language distinct from ours. The language they will be learning is Nunatsiavummiutut delivered by a Nunatsiavummiuk instructor. This is harmful, offensive and is nothing more than cultural appropriation,” says Minister Barbour.
In September of last year, the Nunatsiavut executive council issued a statement declaring that “based on our research, our consultations and the history of our people, the executive council does not recognize the proposed NCC land claim. We recognize that some members of the NCC may themselves have some Indigenous ancestry and backgrounds, but the NCC is not entitled to Inuit rights and it has no viable claim to land in Labrador…”
The Nunatsiavut Government released a report on October 28, 2021 that examined the land claim and assertions of Inuit identity of the NCC, and issued the following statement:
“Because of existing concerns about the NCC land claim, and the significant issues seen in the NCC report Unveiling NunatuKavut, the Nunatsiavut Government contracted a researcher to complete an analysis. The subsequent report forms one pillar of the Nunatsiavut Government’s review process. It illustrates a range of inconsistencies in unveiling NunatuKavut and supports the Nunatsiavut Government’s assessments that while there are likely members of the NCC in South-Central Labrador who have Indigenous ancestry and backgrounds, the nature and scale of the NCC’s claims aren’t supported by the evidence it brought forward.”