Information about Nunavut-Canada
Knight's Canadian Info Collection


Nunavut and the
Inuktitut Language

Tungasugisi / Welcome

Canada's National FlagNunavut Flag

Nunavut in Inuktitut


Nunavut Map

In 1992, a referendum was passed authorizing the separation of the eastern half of the Northwest Territories to create a new autonomous territory, to be called Nunavut, which is Inuktitut for "Our Land".

See our Nunavut Quick Facts Page for further facts and details about this Territory.

Nunavut, (pronounced noo-na-voot), came into existance as a Canadian territory on April 1, 1999.

The Nunavut Government
Under the agreement signed in 1992 by the Canadian government, the Inuit received title to 216,000 sq km (83,400 sq mi) of the new territory. On April 1, 1999, the Canadian government handed over political control of Nunavut to the Tungavik Federation of Nunavut, the Inuit government.

There are 19 members of the Legislature, which is a "non-party" system where members run as independants, choose the Premier and Cabinet from among themselves and govern by majority/consensus.

There are about 12,200 registered voters in the Territory. The population as at July 2001 is 28,200.

Nunavut's Territorial capital is Iqaluit (pronounced ee-kal-oo-weet), and the Premier is Paul Okalik. The capital was formerly called Frobisher Bay..

The Nunavut People
Nunavut's 16,000 Inuit residents comprise approx. 58 percent of the population, making the new territory, in effect, an Inuit homeland for a people that trace their ancestry back over 4000 years.

The North Magnetic Pole is contained within Nunavut Territory. This means that Santa Claus is a Canadian ....(?)..!!

Nunavut encompasses most of the Canadian Shield, also called the Laurentian Plateau, a crust of ancient rocks 500 million years old. The climate is harsh. Temperatures average -32C (-25F) in January and 5C (41F) in July, with less than 25 cm (less than 10 inches) of precipitation per year, mostly in the form of snow.

Much of Nunavut is uninhabited, although settlements stretch as far north as Ellesmere Island. In the past, the Inuit were a nomadic people who followed the seals that they relied on almost exclusively for their survival.

Through trading with European settlers and government programs, most Inuit now live in fixed settlements along the coast of Hudson Bay and the Labrador Sea and depend on trapping and mining for their income.

New Nunavut Parks
In the summer of 1999 Canada added another 80,000 to the national park system when it established 3 new parks in Nunavut Territory. These parks are described as northern gems and will be named Surmilik, Auyuittuq and Quttinirtaaq. The Inuktitut names chosen for the parks illustrate the frozen terrain's major features: "place of glaciers," "land that never melts" and "top of the world"." The Inuit will maintain their hunting rights within the parks.

Some Nunavut Facts

Area of Nunavut 1,935,200 sq km
Area of Canada 9,970,610 sq km

A few comparisons
Greenland 2,175,600 sq km
Germany 357,047 sq km
China 9,596,961 sq km
Sweden 449,964 sq km

How Far North are these Nunavut places?
Arctic Circle 67
Grise Fiord 77
Coppermine 68
Iqaluit 64
Rankin Inlet 63

A few comparisons of other places
Ottawa 45
Stockholm 59
Moscow 56
Berlin 52
Rome 42
Beijing 40

Total Population of Nunavut is 27,692 (July 2000)
Total Inuit Population of Nunavut: Approximately 16,000
Total Population of Canada: 30,000,000
Total Inuit Population in Canada: 25,000
Population per square kilometre in the Nunavut area: 0.01
Population per square kilometre in Canada: 2.9

Sample of community populations:
Coppermine 1,200
Iqaluit 3,600
Rankin Inlet 1,800
Resolute Bay 175

Largest Community
Iqaluit is the largest community in Nunavut. It has a population of 3,600 and is located approximately 2,000 kilometres from Ottawa. The mean temperature in January is -30C and in July is 15C. Iqaluit experiences 24 hours of daylight per day in June, and six hours per day in December.

Most Northern Community
Grise Fiord is the northernmost community in Nunavut. It has a population of 130 people and is located approximately 2,700 kilometres from Ottawa.
The mean temperature in January is -35C and in July is 10C. Grise Fiord experiences 24 hours of daylight per day in June, and round-the-clock darkness in December.

Other Facts About Nunavut
Kilometres of highway: 20
Unemployment rate: 22% Cost of two litres of milk: $7.00
Cost of one apple: $2.00 Cost of a loaf of bread: $3.00
Average per-capita income in the Nunavut area: $11,000
Languages spoken: Inuktitut, Inuinnaqtun, English

See our Nunavut Quick Facts Page for further facts and details about this Territory.

Learn Inuktitut Language

Inuktitut -The Language of the Inuit People
Inuktitut is the traditional language of the Inuit (formerly known as Eskimo people). Inuktitut means "to sound like an Inuk". Although Inuktitut has been spoken for thousands of years, Inuktitut has only been written in recent years. In the western and central Arctic, Roman orthography is used. In 1894 Reverend Edmund Peck developed a syllabic script written for the Cree language and adapted it for use in the eastern Arctic where it is still used today. Inuktitut is written most often in Roman Orthography (alphabet) in the Kitikmeot, or central arctic Region. In the (eastern arctic) Baffin and Keewatin Regions, Inuktitut is written in syllabics. (see chart below)

The Common Inuktitut Sounds

i (ee, long e) u (oo, u --long u) aa (ah)
pi (pe) pu (poo) pa (pa)
ti (tee) tu (too) ta (ta)
ki (key) ku (koo) ka (ka)
gi (ghee) gu (goo) ga (ga)
mi (me) mu (moo) ma (ma)
ni (nee) nu (noo) na (na)
si (see) su (soo) sa (sa)
li (lee) lu (loo) la (la)
ji (jee) ju (joo) ja (ja)
vi (vee) vu (voo) va (va)
ri (re) ru (rue) ra (ra)
Guttural: qi qu qa
Nasal: ngi ngu ngaa


In the territory of Nunavut, the national anthem is sung in English, French, and Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit. It is called O'Kanata in this language.

O'Kanata nangmini Nunavut piqujatii
Nalattiaqpavut angiglivaliajuti sangijulutillu
O'Kanata mianiripluti
O'Kanata nunatsia nangiqpugu mianiripluti
O'Kanata salagijauquna

Useful Phrases


How are you?
I am fine
What is your name?
I want to take your picture
Thank you






That's all
You are welcome
I am hungry Kaaktunga "Kak-toon-ga"
I am cold Qiuliqtunga "K-o-lick-toon-ga"
It is cold (weather) Ikkiirnaqtuq "Ick-eang-nak-took"
Will the weather be good today? Silasianguniapa? "See-la-see-aang-un-ee-aa-pa?"
Help! Ikajunga! "Ick-a-yung-ga!"
Did you make this? Una sanajait? "Oo-na san-ai-yate?"
How much is it? Qatsituqqa? "Cat-see-to-kaw?"
How many? Qatsiit? "Cat-seet?"
Yes Ii "Ee"
No Aakka or aagaa "Ah-ka" or "Ah-ga"
Maybe (I don't really know) Atsuuli or aamai "At-soo-lee" or "Ah-my"
Expensive Akitujuq "Ah-kee-too-yuk"
I have to use the washroom Quisuktunga "Kwee-soot-toon-ga"
I am sick Aaniajunga "Ah-nee-a-yung-ga"
What is it? Una suna? "Oo-na soo-na?"
Where is the hotel? Nau taima sinitavik? "Naowk tie-ma see-nee-ta-vik?"
Where is the store? Nau taima niuvivik? "Naowk tie-ma new-vee-vik?"
Where is the church? Nau taima tuksiavik? "Naowk tie-ma took-see-aa-vik?"
Where am I? Namiippunga? "Nah-me-poon-ga?"
I want to go by dogteam Qimuksikkuurumavunga "Kim-mook-sick-koo-roo-mah-voon-ga"
I want to phone Uqaalagumajunga "Oo-ka-la-goo-ma-jung-ga"
I want to go fishing Iqalliarumajunga "Ee-ka-lee-aa-roo-ma-jung-ga"
Goodbye (to an individual) Tavvauvutit "Tah-vow-voo-teet"
Goodbye to you all Tavvauvusi "Tah-vow-voo-see"
Merry Christmas Kuvianak Inovia "Koo-vi-a-nak-In-o-vi-a"

Syllabics Chart
In the eastern arctic, the Inuit language, Inuktitut, is written using these symbols (called syllabics) to represent different sounds. Missionaries working in Labrador and on Baffin Island developed this system, inspired by Pittman shorthand.

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