A new course at Queen's University will teach students at the southern institution about Inuit culture and language.
Next January, an Inuktitut-language course is being offered at the university in Kingston, Ont. It will cover basic language skills and aspects of Inuit culture.
"We feel that teaching these languages in universities sends a very strong message about the importance of them for the broader Canadian fabric of culture," said Jill Scott, who is with the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Queen’s.
Noel McDermott, a graduate student who will teach the course, previously taught Inuktitut in Nunavut schools and at Nunavut’s Arctic College.
Scott said the course came about from a project at Queen’s to offer more indigenous-language courses. She said Inuktitut is spoken by many people, but it’s not taught very much compared to other indigenous languages.
While she said everyone is excited about the course, the ability to learn a language through one course only is limited.
"I think that even one course on the Inuktitut language and culture is fantastic for a university in the South," she said. "And what we really hope that some of those students will take the opportunity to do, for example, an immersion program in the summer, perhaps in Nunavut, and continue their studies and take this area of study really kind of seriously."
Scott said the course, which has 30 spots, is already filling up.