Bill 96: Inuit join protest movement

96, qui va causer beaucoup de tort aux Inuit du Québec”,”text”:”Je me sens vraiment triste aujourd’hui que le gouvernement de François Legault soit allé de l’avant avec le projet de loi96, qui va causer beaucoup de tort aux Inuit du Québec”}}”>I feel really sad today that the government of François Legault has gone ahead with Bill 96, which will cause great harm to the Inuit of Quebec.commented Sarah Aloupa, president of Kativik Ilisarniliriniq, the school board of Nunavik.

If we cannot be assured that this law does not threaten the Inuktitut language, the Nunavik organizations will definitely have to work together and decide quickly whether we go to court. Our rights have not been respected. We urgently need to do something.

A quote from Sarah Aloupa, president of Kativik Ilisarniliriniq

Of the many provisions included in this reform of the Charter of the French Language, it is those concerning university-level education that do not apply to the Inuit.

The piece of legislation, passed by 78 votes to 29 thanks to the support of Québec Solidaire and two independent deputies, will impose three additional courses in French – or in French – for students of Anglophone CEGEPs. Earning a university degree also depends on passing a uniform French test.

In addition to English-speaking communities in Quebec, some First Nations in the province who speak primarily English are directly affected by the bill. The First Nations Education Council, the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Association, and several Quebec Aboriginal communities, including the Mohawks of Kahnawake and Kanesatake, have already sharply criticized it.

Claimed an exemption

Kativik Ilisarniliriniq has added his voice to that of the many protesters, asking that all Inuit students be exempted from Bill 96. The chairman of the Nunavik school board wanted to take the opportunity to express the Aboriginal people’s stance on the reform to clarify the minister Simon Jolin-Barrette.

96 offre une image trompeuse des demandes des communautés autochtones. L’anglais n’est pas une langue coloniale que nous souhaitons adopter. Les langues autochtones sont les langues que nous souhaitons parler, transmettre, revitaliser, nourrir et renforcer”,”text”:”Tel qu’il est actuellement médiatisé, le débat entourant le projet de loi96 offre une image trompeuse des demandes des communautés autochtones. L’anglais n’est pas une langue coloniale que nous souhaitons adopter. Les langues autochtones sont les langues que nous souhaitons parler, transmettre, revitaliser, nourrir et renforcer”}}”>As currently mediated, the debate surrounding Bill 96 paints a misleading picture of the demands of Aboriginal communities. English is not a colonial language that we want to adopt. Indigenous languages ​​are the languages ​​we want to speak, pass on, revitalize, nurture and enhancesaid Mrs. Aloupa.

Since the agreement between James Bay and Northern Quebec was approved in 1975, the language of instruction in Nunavik’s primary and secondary schools has been Inuktitut. French and English are taught as second languages.

According to data collected by Statistics Canada in 2016, Inuktitut is spoken by 98% of the population of Nunavik’s 14 villages. It is the main language used in 85.7% of households. For obvious demographic reasons, the survival of this language remains fragile.

Les francophones sont des millions dans la province tandis que nous, les Inuit, nous ne sommes même pas 20 000. On ne met pas la langue française en danger, ce sont plutôt nos enfants qui perdent leur langue au profit de l’anglais et du French. Instead of treating us as a threat to the French language, I believe the government should instead pass a law to protect our language, the Inuktitut.

A quote from Sarah Aloupa, president of Kativik Ilisarniliriniq

She believes Bill 96 will pose an additional obstacle to the success of Inuit students, who must already go into exile to continue their studies at CEGEP or university.

According to the Quebec Ministry of Education, the high school graduation rate averages 23% in Nunavik. Only 3.5% of the Inuit population has a university degree. At the university level, 1.2% of Inuit have a diploma and 0.8% have a bachelor’s degree.

For Inuit students in Nunavik, going to university is already a second language journey, whether it takes place in a CEGEP in French or in English, said Ms Aloupa. Adding additional requirements to a university degree for Nunavik Inuit students who choose to continue their university studies in English is not acceptable.

An unnecessary burden

In a context of reconciliation, where Canada and the provinces want to renew their relationship with the First Nations and the Inuit on a more egalitarian basis, it seems inappropriate for Kativik Ilisarniliriniq to impose a new burden on Aboriginal people.

96 devrait être l’occasion de renforcer les langues autochtones, pas de les reléguer au second rang ni de les traiter comme une menace à la survie de la langue française au Québec”,”text”:”Le projet de loi96 devrait être l’occasion de renforcer les langues autochtones, pas de les reléguer au second rang ni de les traiter comme une menace à la survie de la langue française au Québec”}}”>Bill 96 should be an opportunity to strengthen indigenous languages, not relegate them to second place or treat them as a threat to the survival of the French language in Quebeclaments Sarah Aloupa.

We have no choice but to send our English speaking students to other provinces to continue their studies. It’s not part of the reconciliation project we’ve been hearing about for years. Unfortunately it continues, the assimilation, the lack of respect.

A quote from Sarah Aloupa, president of Kativik Ilisarniliriniq

Together with the members of her community, she is determined to withstand and protect the hard-won gains made by the Inuit over the years. She still holds out her hand.

It is time for the government to know who we are, she emphasizes. We want to be heard and recognized. We need to have a real discussion.

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