Aqqiumavvik Society (Arviat Wellness Centre)
The Ujjiqsuinig Young Hunters Program (YHP)
Delivered by the Aqqiumavvik Society (Arviat Wellness Centre) The Ujjiqsuinig
Young Hunters Program is designed to develop sustainable harvesting practices in youth between the ages of 8 – 25 years old. Guided by experienced elders and instructors, youth engage in local hunting activities and monitor wildlife, weather, water, ice conditions.
Youth Environmental Monitoring Program
(see also Arviat Goes Green & Climate Change Adaptation; YEMP)
The Youth Environmental Monitoring Program grew out of a collaboration between Aqqiumavvik Society (Arviat Wellness Centre) and ARCTIConnexion, and led to the experimentation of growing local food in a greenhouse, while it also supports youth training in monitoring skills, encouraging youth to observe and respond to climate change, serving youth from 8 – 18 years of age.
Results from the Youth Environmental Monitoring Program
(Arviat Goes Green & Climate Change Adaptation; YEMP)
Food Insecurity in the Community led to both Projects
"The Greenhouse project was initiated because people noticed changes in the climate, the warming of the climate, so we wanted to take advantage of that and try to take advantage of that longer growing season in Arviat.
It was so great to work with the youth, trying to find out if we could use local soil, and local fertilizer to grow vegetables and plants in Arviat. So it was all about finding out whether we could use local soil , a local fertilizer, and be more self-sufficient in growing vegetables, that worked out great, because we found out that we could" - [N. Lindell, 2016]
The Necropsy Project – Monitoring the Health of Fish
"Another project that we did was to monitor the health of the fish around Arviat, because fish is a very important staple to Arviat *meals and diet*, and we have white fish, grayling, trout and char, and, fish is so healthy, and it's been a staple in Inuit’s diet for so long, that we want to make sure that it's, that all the fish are healthy for people to eat. So we would have local people, catch the fish, and then we pay them for the fish, and then we would, dissect the fish, and the students learned how to dissect the fish and the same with the water quality monitoring, they learned so quickly, after having done two or three fish they already knew the whole routine and then we did about 80 fish each year, taking samples. And, I've worked with Fisheries and Oceans, and they've done this, they do almost the same exact routine. The students really enjoyed it, plus they are getting skills, you know for their C.V. or to go on to the Environmental Technology Program for instance" - [N. Lindell, 2016]
The Value of Inuit-Led Environmental Monitoring
"A community-based project, it feels like it is my project, it is our project. Like these people are helping us, train us to do these things, so that we can keep doing this, and then, when researchers come into town, you know, you don’t only know one aspect, you do not know only about collecting the samples, you know what to do with the samples, you know how to analyze them, you are not just collecting for a researcher"
[N. Lindell, 2016]
"It’s a great feeling that it’s ours, that we know that it’s gonna stay in Arviat, it’s a great feeling being able to tell people we are doing this because elders want it. We film everything so everybody gets to see it all on the local channel. That’s a great way to explain, …seeing all the youth from their community and actually doing the research, they’re hearing elders and their knowledge, on the film, it’s a great feeling, people understand what’s happening and people listen more, they care more because they know their grandparents are on TV, sharing their knowledge…”
[N. Lindell, 2016]
What I like about Environmental Monitoring
"I always had like a passion in learning about the environment and doing more work with the environment. I was really lucky with that job in Arviat, with the greenhouse, but it was mostly hands-on and stuff like that. That made me, after working there for three years, that made me want to, like, to do more for the community, like what ways I could do more for the environment and stuff like that. That’s how I got to Environmental Technical Program in Iqaluit by Arctic College."
[M. Muckpah-Gavin, 2018]
What are some Dreams you have for the Future?
"I’m not too sure. I don’t really have dreams. Just keep going where I’m going. Keep going to school and succeeding with my education. Especially as an Inuk, I want to be able to be a role model for Inuit, like what, like with the environmental related stuff, I want to be able to get other youth to, want to do that, like be a role model."
[M. Muckpah-Gavin, 2018]
Results from the Young Hunters Program
How Program Emerged From the Community
"Our health committee had held a community consultation where they were asking the community “What do you see as the need in our community, prioritize those needs?” So a lot of people were saying that they wanted more country food in their diet and we needed more things for youth to do, more youth activities. I started thinking “More country food, and more things for youth to do: why not the youth go hunting?” [K. Baker, Program Director, 2016]
Education Through/By the Community
I think, the really exciting thing about the Young Hunters Program is that it’s so mutually sustaining. We have all these young kids who are keen on the program and their energy and keenness is, you know, continually motivating the instructors. We have the elders, who contribute their knowledge and experience to the program. That is revitalizing their role as elders, as, you know, advice givers, as experts in the community. And then we have these young people and it’s their opportunity to train others, to contribute their knowledge to the common good to improving their community. So, all of the cultural system that would have been in place falls into place in this program because it creates these interactions of relationships and relationship building and engagement with a sense of a common purpose, and a sense of shared expectation for improving the lives of others. [S. Tagalik, 2016]
What we Did in the Program – Two Youth Participants
"We interviewed some elders, and visit them, talk to them, ask questions, how life was back then. The elders told us some stories about hunting, how they used to hunt, how the weather was. …. I felt great because we visit them and talk to them." [W. Male Youth Participant, 2016]
"Every single day… every single day on weekdays, we go there after school, to the Young Hunters Program. It was fun because I got to make harpoons with them, and they teach me how to do it." [D. Female Youth Participant, 2016]
"The best time… the best time we went out hunting caribous and ptarmigans and geese."
[W. Male Youth Participant, 2016]
"The Young Hunters Program teach us how to make tools and how to survive, what trail to use on the land." [D. Female Youth Participant, 2016]
What Makes the Program Special ? - Being on the Land & Well-Being
"No matter what you go through, if you feel like you are having a hard time or you can’t think clearly, go out on the land and the land will renew you and rejuvenate you, and you’ll be able to start to think clearly and work through whatever problem you are going through. The land is very much a healer for us." [K. Baker, Program Director, 2016]
"Yeah, and they always have fun. The kids we take out [with Young Hunters], it’s… even, you can even tell with their faces, they’re happy. Happy to be out, on the land. Away from town, away from anything, worry, nothing, no worries, nothing, just land. Nothing else. That clears their mind." [Instructor, Interview 2016]
Well-Being In and Through Relationship Building for Life
"The parents are telling us that their kids are happier, they would rather go outside and do things with their hands than sit and play games, be on the internet or watch TV, they are more active, they become … their diet becomes healthier, a little healthier because getting more country food. And the relationship that they build between the elders and our instructors, it’s something that they keep lifelong. They are… a lot of kids growing up, they are shy with elders and do not want to talk, but once they start working with the elders through our program, they feel a lot more welcomed and feel that it is easier to approach elders, to ask for advice… so that connection, we see a lot of that, connection, relationships growing with the kids in our program and community members. That’s very interesting to see."
[K. Baker, Program Director, 2016]
Arviat Film Society (AFS)
The Arviat Film Society (AFS) is a youth-driven program offering digital media literacy while also contributing to the development of many skills to become future leaders and innovators. Participants in AFS range in age from 13 years on to adulthood, with anywhere
from 10 to 30 participants.
Results from the Arviat Film Society Program
“AFS is committed to facilitating opportunities while responding to community needs…” to offer youth a safe space to “tell their stories… and to define their own sense of identity from their own perspectives, rather than have other people do it [for them] [J. Bell, Co-founder]
"We use film and video, but it’s not really about film and video, it’s really about empowering them to explore and discover what they wanna do with their lives, rather than have a preprogrammed system telling them what to do, and how to be and where to go. This is the way for them to explore, experiential learning, you could call it and look at it that way, as well. [J. Bell, Co-founder]
"I think AFS is a lot of different things. I mean it’s not really just a film society, for some youth it’s fun, for some it’s an opportunity to get extra credits, for some it’s just a safe place to go, as well some of our youth really enjoy working in film, so it’s a great way to introduce them into the industry, early career exposure as well, hands-on experience that might help them decide where they might wanna go later in life"
[J. Bell, Co-Founder]
Creating Opportunities Through A Blended System of Formal and Informal Education
"The Film Society, it’s kind of a mix, it’s a blended system of formal and informal. And that’s partly because we needed space in the school and the support, the schools also have a lot of students, so it’s a great place to maximize the investment that research projects and art projects and film projects are putting into the community. You wanna maximize, you know, what you can do. But at the end of the day, a lot of why we started it was to help them get through school, and get into a program, and so, you know, at some point, once they’re old enough, you try to differentiate them into activities that support their interests… life" [J. Bell, Co-Founder]
Working together for the Common Good
"They can also experience their culture through their participation: for example, «one of the eight principles of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit is working together for a common cause. And... I think that a video project… coming up with a video project, telling a story, is - wherever it’s through film or on stage -, is one of the best ways to work together for a common cause" [G. Billard, Co-Founder]
From Co-Creation of Video to Relationships
"When you work with a group like that on something so intensely, and you all have the same focus… I think it becomes an agent - not only of social change and storytelling -, it becomes an agent of friendship building and forming bonds that will last a lifetime, you know. You share your heart and soul when you talk with somebody about bullying, or a video makes you cry, those are seminal moments in life that, I think, stay with us forever" [G. Billard, Co-Founder]
Opportunities to Film and Participate in Projects
"I’ve been a member of the Film Society for like 5 years, but I don’t know how it started but I started being a member because I love being around cameras and I want to learn more about how to interview people. But I know how to interview people like how to set up the lights, the cameras and other things, like editing and other stuff… the reason I became a Film Society member is because I really love being around cameras. And I went to Québec City for 2 weeks and it was because of the documentary that we made about Makuktut, and that’s why we went to Québec City. And it was funded by the Film Society and all thanks to them that we went to Québec City." [S. Youth Participant]
What I Enjoy about AFS
Film Society made my life better cause they let me experience the things that I’ve never experienced before like going really far out of community and coming back safely and how to use the cameras properly like how to repair the cameras when they’re broken and yeah, broken or like how to fix the lenses when they’re dirty or clean them when they’re dirty and how to interview the people that we’re gonna be interviewing, how to set up the lights and other things. That’s how important it is for me. [S. Youth Participant]
AFS Helped Me Connect with People
What I learn in Film Society is how to connect with people, also outside of the community. That’s what I learned.
[J. Youth Participant]
Learned Many Things
Yes. I learned a lot of things during our meetings, like how to do some documentaries, how to do some different angles about the filming, how to do some stories and how to edit the video and how to narrate the video and get the right stories about things like what kind of topic should we do for the topic, something like that. [E. Youth Participant]
Launch of Movie Makkuktut in Arviat, 2016
Through a collaboration between Arviat Film Society and ARCTIConnexion, two youth from Arviat, Jamie Okatsiak & Samuel Kunuk Kanatuak Pauppa pursued a two-week internship with a professional movie production team in Québec City and members of ARCTIConnexion and Gordon Billard from Arviat Film Society.
Together, they developed a short documentary on a topic of their own choice. That documentary was then shared with the community during a visit in Arviat by Jrene Rahm, Vincent L’Hérault & Marie-Hélène Truchon, as part of this project.