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Awards recognize commitment to language. (National News).

The efforts of two women to protect and promote traditional Inuit languages were officially recognized recently, when they received the first-ever Inuktitut/ Inuinnaqtun Language Awards.

Gwen Ohokak of Cambridge Bay received the Inuinnaqtun Language Award for her efforts to develop the first Inuinnaqtun dictionary, while the Inuktitut Language Award went to Eelee Higgins for her work promoting the use of Inuktitut among her students at Joamie school in Iqaluit. Both women are also involved in other projects aimed at preserving and promoting traditional language use among Nunavummiut.

The awards were presented as part of Inuktitut Uquattin (language week). Ohokak received her award from Peter Kilabuk, Nunavut Minister of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth on April 27 at a gathering in Cambridge Bay's community hall. The minister presented Higgins her award on May 2 at Joamie school.

"These awards support the Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth's mandate to protect arid promote traditional Inuit languages, but we cannot do it alone," the minister said.

"The real effort comes at the community level. There are many people who contribute to the richness of our Inuit language and the Inuktitut/Inuinnaqtun Language Awards program seeks to recognize these people."

The department plans to hand the awards out annually during language week. Nomination forms for next year's awards can be obtained by calling 1-866-934-2035, or by e-mailing a request to
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Publication:Wind Speaker
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jun 1, 2003
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