The Pitquhirnikkut Ilihautiniq / Kitikmeot Heritage Society is a nonprofit Inuit heritage organization, and while we operate out of the May Hakongak Community Library & Cultural Centre in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, our focus is regional. We address projects of critical importance to the revival of Inuit culture, language and history. We focus on the needs of Inuinnait—a distinct regional group of Inuit living in the Central Canadian Arctic.
Our reality is that the Inuinnaqtun language—the foundation of Inuinnait culture—has less than 600 fluent speakers remaining. By most estimates, it is a language that will be extinct in less than two generations. Language plays a critical role in our ability to communicate, but more importantly, language is an archive for each person’s identity, cultural history, knowledge, traditions, memory and experiences. The loss of a language means the loss of that culture.
Guided by a finely honed plan, we have set out to reverse the effects of advanced language and culture shift across our cultural communities. We're doing this through multiple, parallel programs that bring together communities, Elders, Language Specialists and researchers.