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Uvagut TV Becomes First-Ever Indigenous-Language Channel in Canada

Jan 15, 2021
by IAQ

Inuktut language gets a big boost January 18th with the launch of Uvagut TV, the first-ever Indigenous language channel, which will be available to select satellite and cable subscribers in Nunavut and Northwest Territories. Uvagut TV will also be available to stream 24/7 at uvagut.tv. After the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Uvagut TV is only the second Indigenous television service among 762 broadcasting in Canada today, and it is the first Indigenous-language channel. 

Uvagut TV (“Our” TV) will feature five hours of children’s programming a day, including shows from the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation, the Inuvialuit Communications Society, Isuma, Arnait Video, Artcirq, Kingulliit and Taqqut Productions, as well as award-winning Inuktut movies, classic series, documentaries and new programs. The service will also provide live coverage of events such as the Nunavut Impact Review Board Public Hearings.

The new channel was created by the Nunavut Independent Television Network (NITV) and IsumaTV with the goal of delivering Inuktut television to Inuit audiences in order to preserve, promote and revitalize Inuit culture and language.

“As our elders pass away, we are fighting against time to keep Inuit culture and language alive for our children and grandchildren,” said Lucy Tulugarjuk, NITV Chair and Executive Director in a press statement. “TV in Inuktut all day every day is a powerful way to keep a living language for future generations.” For Tulugarjuk, this new channel is “a dream come true.”

“After 35 years we finally have our own channel,” added Dr. Zacharias Kunuk, OC, NITV co-founder and head of Isuma. “These new ways of storytelling can help Inuit survive for another thousand years. People who turn on Uvagut TV any time of day or night will see our own stories in our own language.”

Kunuk and Tulugarjuk were both part of the team who represented Canada at the Venice Biennale in 2019, as director and assistant director of the film One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk, the centrepiece of the exhibition.

The launch of Uvagut TV follows a series of significant gains made by Inuit film and TV in recent years. In addition to Isuma’s presence at the Venice Biennale, they were listed alongside other circumpolar Indigenous filmmakers as one of the top ten films of 2019 by the Toronto International Film Festival. This July, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) and Inuit TV Network announced the launch of Inuit TV, just days after the Indigenous Screen Office, in partnership with Netflix, announced funding for Red Marrow Media, the production company of Inuit artists Stacey Aglok-MacDonald and Alethea Arnaquq-Baril.

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