Access to Justice for Deaf Persons in Nunavut: Focus on Signed Languages
 For issues specifically related to signed languages (ASL/LSQ) see Klima and Bellugi (1979); Lane and Grosjean (1980); Petitto (2000); Siple (1978); Siple and Fischer (1991); Wilbur (1987).
Issues related to early language acquisition, gestures and "home sign" can be found in Goldin-Meadow and Mylander (1994); Goldin-Meadow and Mylander (1983); Petitto (2000); Volterra, Beronesi and Massoni (1994); Volterra and Erting (1994).
General language references including a discussion of the prescriptive vs the descriptive approach to linguistics can be found in Crystal (1987) and Crystal (1987a).
General background on signed language use among Aboriginal peoples can be found in Farnell (1995); Kendon (1989); Mallery (1889); Sayce (1880); Scott, (1898) and Tomkins (1969).
 As in all areas of deafness the question of prevalence is controversial. Various estimates are tied heavily to what is meant by the term "deaf". In fact the term "d/Deaf" itself is in debate. A convention has arisen where deaf with a capital "D" refers to the culturally deaf signing population and deaf with a small "d" refers to those who have a serious hearing impairment but do not consider themselves as part of a deaf signing culture (Padden and Humphries, 1989). Whether this convention applies in the context of Nunavut is an open question due to the unique cultural context. Except where direct reference is being made to cultural Deafness, for the purposes of this report "deaf" is used throughout.
There is also an important distinction to be made between those who are pre-linguistically deaf as opposed to those who are deafened later in life. The hard-of-hearing constitute a distinct group who have unique needs which are quite different from the deaf. There is also the issue of the degree of deafness and whether the hearing loss is in one ear or both ears (unilateral vs. bilateral) (Moores, 1987; Ling, 1984). Most deaf people have some residual hearing which in some cases can be successfully amplified by a hearing aid or other assistive device (Ling, 1984) but in other cases, even with substantial residual hearing, a hearing aid can be of little or no value (MacDougall, 1991; Moores, 1987).
The question of what is meant by d/Deafness is very complex and great caution should be exercised in the interpretation of any blanket statements about the characteristics of all people with hearing loss. The degree of deafness, the age of onset, the cause, the presence of additional disabilities (estimated at 1/3), the environment in which a deaf person finds him or herself all have a profound effect on the impact of deafness on the individual (MacDougall, 1990, 1991; Moores, 1987 ). It can be safely said that much of the controversy and misunderstanding surrounding deafness stems from loose use of terminology and the strong tendency to inappropriately compare groups and individuals with different types of hearing loss.
In terms of numbers, a major demographic study has been done in the USA (Schein and Delk, 1974). The "McGill Study of Deaf Children in Canada" (MacDougall, 1990) established the prevalence of deafness in the 0-21 year range. The generally accepted number for prevalence of deafness which precludes use of speech and hearing without special intervention is 1/1000 (MacDougall, 1990; MacDougall, 1999). Information on sensory-neural hearing loss in northern Canada can be found in Destounis, MacDougall, Geisel, Pollitt, Waters, and Gledhill (1990), and in Stamos-Destounis (1993).
While the 1/1000 prevalence rate is generally accepted, the controversy arises when all those with hearing impairment are added, including the hard-of-hearing, and those with any sort of hearing loss associated with advancing age. These numbers have been estimated at 1/100 for those with a hearing loss serious enough to warrant some type of intervention, to 1/10 for the entire population of persons with any degree of hearing loss (MacDougall, 1999). This is an important factor to be considered in the northern context as middle ear disease (otitis media) has a high prevalence rate in the north generally (Stamos-Destounis, 1993). This type of ear disease (conductive) can cause significant hearing loss although it is generally not as severe as profound sensory-neural hearing loss. A further complication is that many persons can have both types of loss: sensory-neural and conductive (known as mixed loss). Clearly the medical aspects of hearing loss in the north are very complex and beyond the scope of the present discussion. For an up to date comprehensive discussion of the issues in a Nunavut context see Baxter (1999).
Time and space constraints prevent a more detailed discussion of the topic of deafness. For those wishing a more thorough treatment see Erting, Johnson & Smith (1994); Lane (1984; 1986; and 1992); Lane, Hoffmeister and Bahan (1996); Ling (1984); MacDougall (1991); Mindel and Vernon (1987); Moores (1987); Padden and Humphries (1989); Rodda and Grove (1987).
For a popular account of the main issues in deafness see Seeing Voices (Sacks, 1989).
-  We have requested a copy of the video for examination but have not received it to date.
-  Clearance to show videotaped interviews to a limited number of people was obtained by all individuals included in the video-tapes.
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