Anthropologist Jenanne Ferguson has told students and post-graduate students of NEFU how people try to preserve the Inuite language in Canada - the language of the smaller people that was on the edge of disappearance after the colonization of America and Canada. On October 17, the interdisciplinary seminar «Cold Lands» has continued its work.
«I have been researching a process of Russian-Yakut bilingualism in Yakutia, observing a process of urbanization, and studying how Yakut people preserve their native language living in a city», Jenanne Ferguson said. She defended the dissertation at Aberdeen University (Scotland). In Canada, she studied the Inuit language and found many parallels with the Yakut language.
«The Inuit language, as well as other languages of smaller peoples was lost after the British and French colonies in Canada. Children from Athabaskan and Inuit tribes were taken away in boarding schools in order to «Christianize and civilize» them, they were trained in the English and French languages, and were forbidden to speak in a native language», the anthropologist noted. According to her, restoration of rights of the indigenous peoples has begun in Canada since 1970.
The main issue that now disturbs Inuit people and linguists is how to develop the native language with English simultaneously. At school, children study English after three years of the Inuit language, and it creates certain problems. However, for the language popularization there are language courses for state employees in province Nunavuta, they try to make shop signboards and bus stops in the Inuit language, and develop a local cinematograph.
Next week the Professor of University of Alaska Fairbanks Kenji Yoshikawa will speak at the meeting within the framework of the seminar «Cold Lands». According to the Pro-rector of NEFU Mikhail Prisyajny, it will be an interesting lecture about life of the indigenous peoples in Greenland; also, the professor will share experience of permafrost studying in the Southern Yakutia.