Michael McLeod, NWT MP, announced $562,666 in federal funding for the Town of Inuvik’s Chief Jim Koe Park Redevelopment Project. The Canada Cultural Spaces Fund goes towards the creation and renovation of cultural spaces that host a wide range of events, including festivals, arts performance and community celebrations.
McLeod stated how important of a step the announcement is in the revitalization of Chief Jim Koe Park.
“In remote communities, particularly in the North, having a practical, flexible space for festivals, celebrations and events is critically important to our sense of community and connection to Indigenous culture and heritage.”
The money will go toward a modern special events pavilion at Chief Jim Koe Park. A new mobile stage, modular decking and accessible bleacher seating will ensure better professional standards for live performances, increase seating capacity, improve accessibility and provide protection from inclement weather.
Jackie Challis, Director of Economic Development and Tourism, Town of Inuvik noted how pleased the Town of Inuvik is to receive such a contribution from Canadian Heritage.
“These funds will allow our remote Arctic community to support, showcase and promote our local artists, performers, and Indigenous culture for years to come.”
In August 2019, Mr. McLeod announced $475,000 from CanNor, bringing total Government of Canada investments in the project to more than $1.04 million.
McLeod also announced $150,000 in federal funding for the development of an Inuvialuktun Language Immersion Program in Inuvik. The funding is to support the efforts of Indigenous Peoples to reclaim, revitalize, maintain and strengthen Indigenous languages across the country.
McLeod noted that this investment will allow the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation to concretely put in place a mechanism that will keep the Inuvialuktun language alive for years to come.
“As a Northwesterner, I can only be proud of seeing Inuvik communities taking action to reclaim, revitalize, maintain and strengthen an important part of their heritage, the language of their ancestor.”
This investment, provided through the Indigenous Languages component of the Indigenous Languages and Cultures Program, will support the development of an Inuvialuktun education immersion program that will contribute to the advancement of an Inuvialuktun Bachelor of Education Program.
Duane Ningaqsiq Smith, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation Chair and CEO stated that the IRC has been advocating at all levels for immediate actions needed to retain the language.
“These new funds are specific to the task and will allow Inuvialuit to begin the development on a much needed Inuvialuktun immersion training program. Taking responsibility for revitalization of Inuvialuktun means that we must first enable Inuvialuit with strong tools and approaches, guided by input from Inuvialuit Elders, so they are able to be immersed in the language and teach others.”
The immersion program will be developed in collaboration with the Aurora Campus, the Beaufort Delta Education Council and with Inuvialuit Elders.
This is part of the engagement to which the Government of Canada has committed through the Indigenous Languages Act.