On April 13th, 2007 a letter published in the Nunatsiaq News suggested a murky future for the Inuktitut language and this in spite of recent government moves in Nunavut to promote more use of the language. There has definitely been a change in the language of the Inuit over the years. Even back in the 1970's, older people complained that young people no longer spoke the language "properly", especially the dropping of many of the old expressions and the rich variety of infixes and suffixes which characterize the language. The language was naturally responding to changing times and the rapid influx of new ideas and materials as well as the opening of the rest of the world into Inuit homes. English and French words were increasingly being used within Inuktitut to express ideas. It was both 'cool' and easier to borrow words.
Here's Louis-Jacques' letter:
Without having been schooled in the Inuit language until the end of high school, nobody possesses enough Inuktitut vocabulary and speaking habits to express him- or herself with ease in all fields of conversation in this language
Such vocabulary does exist in specialized lexicons, but it is not taught in school. For the time being, then, mastering a level of Inuktitut sophisticated enough for expressing oneself easily when speaking about administration, technical topics, or even everyday life in a modern community constitutes a professional skill which only interpreters and translators possess (and which most of them do not use outside their work.)
The situation varies from place to place, but given Inuktitut is a window into the world-view of the Inuit, I hope Louis-Jacques is wrong. If I had my way, every child in Canada would be given at least introductory lessons in one of the 'First Languages' of Canada. What an insight we would all have into the place we call home if we could 'see' it from the collective experience people who have been here for thousands of years! Clearing away some of our 'mucky' ideas wouldn't hurt a bit!