Jackson Lafferty: NWT Culture and Heritage

6 octobre 2015
Déclarations et discours de ministres

Mr. Speaker, the North has a long history and a rich heritage with numerous languages and cultures. Our people work to preserve, revitalize and celebrate all aspects of their cultures and languages, which continually grow and evolve.   

In 2014, the Department of Education, Culture and Employment began work on a government-wide 10-year Culture and Heritage Strategic Framework. This Framework aligns the existing culture and heritage work of the government around a shared vision, goals and priorities. It is a cultural lens and guide for government initiatives until 2025.

We reviewed the work undertaken in other jurisdictions. We also reached out to residents to help develop the Framework and received responses from people in 28 communities.  We held 31 focus groups, meetings, home visits and workshops across the NWT. A wealth of information was provided by Aboriginal governments; arts, culture, and heritage organizations; cultural groups, including francophone groups, immigrants, foreign-born NWT residents and newcomers to Canada; Elders; Youth; communities of various sizes and GNWT advisory groups. I will be tabling the Framework later today.

Mr. Speaker, languages are a vital part of this Framework and are important to our people. For a year we were without the largest broadcaster of Aboriginal languages. CKLB, the broadcasting arm of the Native Communications Society, experienced some operational challenges resulting in discontinued live broadcasts. This government provided an additional 400 thousand dollars to CKLB, enabling them to resume the live broadcasting our community residents enjoy. CKLB is a critical part of preserving and promoting diverse language use across the NWT and we commend them for the excellent job they do.

The primary hub of our history and heritage is the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre. The Centre showcases NWT culture through beautiful and informative in-house exhibits. This past Saturday, a new three-year collaborative exhibit This Land Is Our Home, Wıìlıìdeh Yellowknives Dene, opened to great success. The Centre also creates travelling exhibits and educational resources that circulate around the territory. It houses the NWT Archives that care for our historical and government records, which are available to the public. The Centre also conducts research to identify and preserve our archaeology and cultural places. We are continually striving to learn about, foster and protect our culture and heritage.

Mr. Speaker, earlier yesterday we celebrated the fifth annual Minister’s Culture and Heritage Circle ceremony. This was created in 2011 to recognize those who have contributed to preserving and promoting the arts, cultures and heritage in our territory. Our recipients this year were the Yellowknife Ukrainian Association for the Group category; the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games NWT Youth Ambassadors for the Youth category; Berna Beaulieu of Behchokǫ̀ in the Individual category and Jeanna Graham of the Hay River Reserve for the Elder category. The Minister’s Choice Award went to Vivian Edgi-Manuel of Fort Good Hope. Please join me in congratulating these tremendous role models for their work promoting the cultural diversity of the North.

Mr. Speaker, we are all stewards of our culture and heritage. We have the tools, information, technology, and most importantly, the will to ensure our diverse Northern heritage is protected, taught and celebrated for generations to come.

Masi, Mr. Speaker.