The Uvagut TV LIVE Celebration - Feb. 24, 2021 in Igloolik: Back row, l-r: Bonnie Amaaq, Zacharias Kunuk, Eulalie Angutimmarik, Susan Avingaq; Front row, l-r: Leah Panimerak, Pacome Qulaut | Photo by Carol Kunnuk

Freeze Frame: Celebrating Uvagut TV

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2 mins read

While Canada has been broadcasting television since 1952, it’s only since 2021 that the country has its first station airing 24/7 in an Indigenous language. Uvagut TV, “our” TV in Inuktut, is now available in over 600,000 homes in Canada (mainly through Shaw Satellite) and is owned by Nunavut Independent Television Network (NITV). Everyone can access it online at uvagut.tv.

In this photo by Carol Kunnuk, we see Zacharias Kunuk, the vice chair of NITV, totally at home with crew and elders, during the Uvagut celebratory day of music, dance, and speeches. Not in the photo but a key presence in the launch was Lucy Tulugarjuk, executive director of NITV and Uvagut TV’s managing director, who said, “Countless Inuit have worked over generations to dream the first Inuit-language channel into existence.” Kunuk adds, “Now that day is finally here.”

Broadcasting in the Inuktut language, Uvagut TV is showing a lively program of children’s series, movies, documentaries, archives and live television. It’s a natural outgrowth of NITV, now in its 30th year of enhancing and preserving Inuktut and Inuit culture through the creation and exhibition of Inuit video art, hosting media train­ing, workshops, and digital literacy initiatives while producing and distributing of Inuktut video and film. Zacharias Kunuk and the team at Isuma are at the heart of the Uvagut initiative and are well known for the features Atanarjuat (2001) and One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk (2019).

Marc Glassman is the editor of POV Magazine and contributes film reviews to Classical FM. He is an adjunct professor at Toronto Metropolitan University and is the treasurer of the Toronto Film Critics Association.

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