Starting on Jan. 18, Nunavummiut were able to watch Canada’s first all-Inuktut television channel, Uvagut TV (“Our” TV), launched by Nunavut Independent Television (NITV) and IsumaTV.
“For me Uvagut TV is a dream come true – to see Inuit culture and to hear our language full time on TV,” said Lucy Tulugarjuk, NITV Chair and Executive Director as well as the director of the Inuit-language children’s film, Tia and Piujuq.
“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.”
Residents in Nunavut, NWT, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nunavik who subscribe to Shaw Direct Satellite or Artic Co-op will be able to view the channel with a basic subscription. A live-stream of the channel also became available 24/7 at uvagut.tv on Jan. 18.
Manitok Thompson, CEO of IBC added in a press release that IBC Prime, which will air twice per day, will include selections from IBC’s extensive archives that date back to the late 1970s and early 1980s.
“I believe that Inuit deserve to see these programs,” said Thompson. “They have a right to hear Inuktitut in their homes and learn more about their ancestors. Television is a tool parents and caregivers can use to help pass on the legacy their relatives left to them. Seeing their grandparents and great grandparents on television will help our young people connect to their culture and language.”
There will also be programs and movies from various other companies, from Isuma, Arnait Video, Artcirq, Taqqut Productions and Kinulliit.
It will feature classics such as Atanarjuat The Fast Runner and new programs such as Silakut Live, From the Floe Edge and Tunnganarnil broadcasting live from the communities and on the land.
“This is an exciting time for Nunavummiut, especially for those whose first language is Inuktut,” said Mary Nirlungayuk, corporate secretary and vice-president of corporate services at Arctic Co-operatives Limited. “A lot of work went into making this happen.”
Uvagut TV is now available to watch online at uvagut.tv or isuma.tv.
Uvagut TV is also set to broadcast the Nunavut Impact Review Board hearings on Baffinland’s proposed expansion to its Mary River iron mine starting Jan. 25.
In July 2020, Nunavut News‘ sister publication Kivalliq News reported on another Inuit language channel still currently in the works, Inuit TV, which still awaits approval from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.