The Inuit Broadcasting Corporation’s (IBC) goal is to promote Inuit
culture and language through the medium of television. It is clear that
if the culture is to survive, Inuit youth must understand and identify
with their history and their people. One of the chief threats to that
sense of cultural identity in past years has been the tide of southern
television programming aimed at children. Takuginai was created to help
counteract that tide. Formal evaluations and viewer feedback have confirmed
that it’s doing just that for its target audience.
Directly or indirectly, all of the television programming produced by
the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation is intended to promote Inuit culture
and language. To achieve that goal, no audience is more important...or
more difficult to reach...than children.
Inuit children’s programming was first identified as a priority
in 1983 by IBC’s Board of Governors. After three years of research,
consultation, planning and fundraising, IBC began training for the Children’s
Television Unit. The first series of Takuginai, which means Look Here,
was produced and broadcast to a northern audience in the spring of 1987.
Takuginai celebrates traditional Inuit values of community and respect
for elders in an atmosphere of kindness and general all round fun. Peopled
by a mixture of Inuit families from the region and puppets created by
the Takuginai crew, this series is set firmly on the tundra and in the
northern way of life.
Takuginai has a lively and supportive community of characters. Two favorites
are Johnny, the ever-hungry Lemming who has survived a variety of ill
advised adventures from riding in a weather balloon to trying out a punk
hair-cut, and Granny the toothless, spectacled old woman who dishes out
humour and love along with her wisdom.
The half hour episodes explore themes like healthy bodies, making things,
and singing from a northern, Inuit perspective. The style of Takuginai
reflects IBC’s philosophy of friendly, accessible television. Any
of the regular characters is liable to take a turn at hosting an episode,
even Jaji, the puppet cameraman takes an occasional turn in front of the
camera. Individual segments within an episode vary from traditional storytelling
illustrated by Inuit artists, to music videos performed by popular Nunavut
In summer there is clam digging at a beach on the Arctic Ocean and in
winter it’s ice fishing with a dog team. There are songs and legend
stories, happy times and silly faces. The sun stays up for six months
and the sun goes down for six months. The location is a magical place
unlike any ever seen on television. Takuginai is a show that sparkles
with the joy of life in the land of Canada’s Arctic Inuit.
In Takuginai, IBC has created a program, which promotes the use of Inuktitut
and enhances the sense of cultural identity among young Inuit. Formal
and informal response to the program confirms that it succeeds on several
levels...as entertainment, as a teaching tool for specific skills, and
as a vehicle for providing positive role models for its audience.
The series has been well received by its audience. Takuginai receives
more fan mail, invitations to communities and visitors than any other
IBC series. IBC receives numerous requests for tapes of the programs from
schools and from individual viewers.
Takuginai has also been recognized outside Nunavut. In 1996 and 1997 Takuginai
won a Special Recognition Award from the Alliance for Children and Television
and in 1990 the Children’s Broadcast Institute presented Takuginai
with an Award of Merit. Takuginai’s program “Puppet Health”
was awarded the Telefilm APTN Best Aboriginal Language Award in 2002.
More important than the program’s popularity is its effectiveness.
Parents, teachers and elders confirm Takuginai is teaching language, life
skills, and cultural concepts.
Takuginai is produced out of Iqaluit with contributions from IBC centers
in Rankin Inlet, Baker Lake, Igloolik, and Taloyoak. On occasion, events
with Inuit children in Ottawa are also covered as part of the show. The
current producer is Michael Ipeelie, (otherwise known as “Magic
Mike”), who also puppeteers and often hosts the show. The approximate
budget for the show is half a million dollars per season (26 episodes).
Takuginai is broadcast on APTN.
Telefilm Canada/APTN Award
for Best Aboriginal Language Program to
Takuginai’s program “Puppet Health”
National Aboriginal Achievement Award to
Leetia Ineak, Takuginai Producer
Media and Communications
The Festival of Television for Australian Children
August 25 - 29, 1997
Alliance for Children and Television
Special Recognition Award
Native Americas International Film Exposition
Santa Fe, New Mexico
August 9 - 15, 1996
12th International Festival of Film and Video
for Children and Young Adults of Iran
September 28 - October 4, 1996
Northern Lights International Film Festival
The Chicago International Children’s Film Festival
October 4 - 13, 1996
The Far North Film Festival
November 29 - 30, 1996
||Children’s Broadcast Institute
Award of Merit
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