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Two applications for language commissioner

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (July 26/04) - Just two people have answered a second call for applicants for the post of Northwest Territories official languages commissioner.

Herb Norwegian doesn't think there's a lack of interest in the position.

The Grand Chief of the Deh Cho First Nations believes suitable candidates who speak aboriginal languages are in high demand as translators.

"We cherish them and kiss the ground they walk on," he said.

A search in April failed to find a suitable candidate. The second application deadline was July 19.

Norwegian believes the position should be filled by an aboriginal person.

"It's got to be a First Nations person," he said. "There's no other way around it."

The search shouldn't be limited to people with university degrees, the Grand Chief said.

"We need to be flexible on this stuff," he said.

Andrew Stewart, the operations clerk with the Legislative Assembly, said the two latest applications will be evaluated by the board of management.

The board of management makes a recommendation to the Legislative Assembly, which votes on the appointment.

The official languages commissioner investigates complaints under the NWT's Official Languages Act. There are 11 official languages in the NWT.

Shannon Gullberg, the commissioner's legal counsel, has been acting commissioner since Fibbie Tatti, the former commissioner, completed a four-year appointment in July.