Inuit Day: Celebrating the language and culture of Inuit in Canada and internationally

Press Release

Inuit Day was first celebrated on November 7th, 2006, when the General Assembly of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) was instructed to “annually proclaim this day as Inuit Day and conduct appropriate ceremonies and celebrations”.

The day chosen by the ICC coincides with tAhe birth date of ICC founder Alaskan Eben Hopson, considered a visionary by Inuit populations internationally. Hopson believed that speaking with a united voice was vital for Inuit to flourish in their circumpolar homelands. The day is thus intended to celebrate the identities, languages, and cultures of over 160 000 Inuit from several Arctic regions in Canada, Alaska, Greenland, and Russia.

  • In Canada, almost 70% of Inuit live in Inuit Nunangut, an area encompassing Nunavut, Nunavik (Northern Québec), Nunatsiavut (Labrador) and Inuvialuit (in the Northwest Territories), and where over 70 000 Inuit speak one of five dialects of Inuktitut.
  • In Greenland, about 50 000 Inuit speak Kalaallisut, which has official language status, is taught in schools, and used widely in Greenlandic media.
  • Alaska is home to two Inuit peoples: the Iñupiat, whose communities include 34 villages across Iñupiat Nunaat, as well as the Alaskan Yupik, who reside in the western and southwestern areas of the state and speak one of five Yupik languages, which are related to Inuktitut.
  • In Russia, the majority of the 16 000 Chukchi reside within the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug (region), which is located on the Chukchi Sea and the Bering Sea region of the Arctic Ocean. The Siberian Yupik (or Yuits) are a Yupik people who speak Central Siberian Yupik and live along the coast of Russia’s Chukchi peninsula, as well as on St. Lawrence Island in Alaska.

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