The INUNNGUINIQ Project
INUNNGUINIQ is a collaborative research project with Inuit youth, families and their communities about informal educational practices, community driven science research and lifelong learning with important implications for Inuit Education and Perseverance.
The goal of the project is to document the educational contributions of Inuit-led and community driven educational programs to the making of a human being or inunnguiniq.
To do so, we describe the educational opportunities of programs in Arviat, Nunavut that are run by Aqqiumavvik (Arviat Wellness Society), namely their Young Hunter’s Program, Climate Change Adaptation and Arviat goes Green. We then turn to the Arviat Film Society, also in the community of Arviat. In Pond Inlet, Nunavut, we describe the educational contributions of the Expanded Leadership to Study Water Quality Program, founded by Tim Anaviapik Soucie. Our collaboration in Sanikiluaq, Nunavut with the Arctic Eider Society led to a focus on The Arctic Sea Ice Educational Package that emerged from years of community driven monitoring of ice and water, and its contribution to the well-being of Arctic Eider Ducks.
"These programs should be part of life, they should be opportunities that every Inuk child in Nunavut has access to."
[Shirley Tagalik, 2016]
Illustration of Lifelong Learning by Project Participant
Through dialogue with youth and community members involved in the programs, filming, and other forms of collaborations over the last three years, we developed a joint-understanding of their rich contributions to the well-being of youth and their communities, as well as their role in preparing youth to become future leaders and environmental stewards, “researchers”, and contributors to the common good within and beyond each community.
The programs are understood as important educational venues that complement school learning in ways locally valuable and meaningful. The projects, programs, and developed curriculum challenge the Western vision of lifelong learning and school perseverance in offering a reading of those terms in light of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ), or what Inuit have always known to be true. The programs also can be understood as key to overcoming opportunity gaps that persist in Inuit Nunangat.
The programs are key tools in re-building relations that have been broken - relations among community members (children, youth, adults and elders), as well as relations among communities, as evident in the stories of programming we share and new ones that are still emerging (Use of Siku in Arviat; development of Young Hunters Programs in other communities, etc.)
Since the programs are led by Inuit, they contribute in important ways to language revitalization and the resurgence of culture, and contribute to youths’ and communities’ well-being.
The programs committed to environmental monitoring also challenge current practices of community research still too often assumed by scientists from Universities and committed to scientific issues of concern primarily to scientists but at times of little local relevance.
Most important, the programs offer rich examples of the form Inuit youth training can take in community-based monitoring and in doing so, fill an important gap in the current literature and practices in this area.
Stories of youths’ educational pathways that emerged from attending to youths’ participation in the programs over time make evident how important these opportunities are in helping youth discover their strengths and interests, and then turn them into new future aspirations.
The programs offer them opportunities to take on multiple roles over time, as learners and later as mentors. The programs are complementary to schooling and part of the rich fabric of educational opportunities deeply grounded in the community and Inuit ways of knowing or IQ, blended in part with Western Science, yet in ways owned by Inuit.