Nunavut

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      My final intensive course starts tomorrow, but I’m going to write about my third one today. The course’s theme was Canadian life. The teacher was of course a gentle Canadian. The students researched about famous Canadians and some provinces and territories, and made presentations in turn in the course. One of my topics was about Mr. David Suzuki, an environmental activist, and another one was about Nunavut, one of Canada’s territories.

     I’m going to introduce Nunavut Territory.

     Nunavut is the largest and the newest of the territories of Canada, and located near Greenland. It was separated officially from Northwest Territory in 1999. The 84 % of the population is Inuit. That is, Nunavut is, as it were, an area of Inuit. For more than 30 years, Inuit people had tried to be independent from other areas. Their long-cherished wish came true then.

     The meaning of Nunavut is “our land” in Inuktitut, the language of Inuit. By the way, the official language are Inuktitut, Inuinnaqtun, English and French.

      The capital is Iqaluit, which is located on Baffin Island. Nunavut is divided into three areas by the differences of culture and geography: Baffin, Kivallq, and Kitikmeot.

     Nunavut is the least populated and the largest of the provinces and territories of Canada. It has a population of only 30.850 spread over an area the size of Western Europe. If Nunavut was a country, it would be the least densely populated in the world. For example, Greenland has almost the same sized area but the population is twice. The density of the population in Canada is about 3 people / k㎡, in Japan is about 330 people / k㎡, and in Nunavut is only 0.015! There are about 28 communities in Nunavut, and the smallest one has only about 30 people.

     The climate is the cold latitude, and there are the tundra and the taigas in Nunavut. In Iqaluit, the capital, the average temperature in January is -29.7 degrees and in July 11.4 degrees! How cold!

     In Nunavut, the assembly is only one. It’s unicameral. There are no parties and the members of the assembly are elected individually, and the premier, the head of government is elected by and from them. The present premier, Mr. Paul Okalik’s basic policy is fusion of Inuit culture and traditional knowledge and the political and government decisions.

     They have some problems. For example, about 56 % of the population is under age of 25 (2003). Because of the age, they are short of numbers of workers and they need education, they cannot make money. If they had enough labor, they wouldn’t have many jobs, anyway. Moreover, prices are very expensive, and it’s double to three times as in the South. So now they are investing money to education and trying to improve the income level by 5 year planning.

     For another problem, they have many alcoholic people. They don’t have anything to do. Some say one of the reasons is night under the midnight sun. For a measure of alcohol abuse, you may not able to buy alcohol in most areas.

     Nunavut has some problems, but it has also many resources, wilderness, own culture and history, and future.

     How about visiting Nunavut someday?

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