Mr. Speaker, for decades, Inuit Elders have expressed concern about the knowledge Inuit youth have of their own social history and culture.
The Nanisiniq Arviat History Project is a community-based, research project involving Inuit youth and Elders from Arviat. The project, which began last year, is co-ordinated locally by an Arctic College graduate Tamar Mukyunik and by Professor Frank Tester of the University of British Columbia School of Social Work. The project is funded through a two-year grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Mr. Speaker, The name Nanisiniq was chosen because this exciting project is, quite literally, a journey of discovery -- bringing together Inuit Elders and youth in an exploration of their history and culture from an Inuit point of view.
Through the use of historical research, web-based technologies like video conferencing, blogging and the use of social media our fluently-bilingual youth have been learning and documenting their history from their own perspectives.
Next month, four members of the Nanisiniq Project, Jordan Konek, Curtis Konek, Amy Owingayak and April Dutheil will join the Canadian Youth Delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, COP 17, in Durban, South Africa.
To raise help raise money for COP 17, the team organized a simultaneous Arviat-Toronto film screening and virtual on-line town-hall discussion.
Mr. Speaker, more than 60 Arviat youth and Elders used interactive technologies to discuss their perspectives about climate change and traditional knowledge with researchers and students from around the world.
This highly-successful event would not have been possible without the invaluable assistance of a number of people and organizations from across Canada and beyond.
I would like to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to:
- Dr. Frank Tester and April Dutheil with the University of British Columbia in Vancouver;
- Canada Research Chair in Human Dimensions of Climate Change, Dr. Ian Mauro of Mount Allison University in New Brunswick and Nunavut’s own Zacharias Kunuk of Igloolik;
- Annette Dubriel, Chun Nam Law, Anders Sandberg and Rachel Hirsch from York University and the Institute for Research in Innovation and Sustainability in Toronto.
- Mariette Wheeler and Daniela Liggett and the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists at Canterbury University in New Zealand;
- The York University Aboriginal Students Association;
- Nunavut Arctic College and the Nunavut Research Institute’s new Arviat Research Support Centre,
- The Hamlet of Arviat, the Arviat Film Society, and the Arviat Elders Society;
- Arviat Elders Martha Okotak and Silas Illungiayok, who as cultural advisors have worked tirelessly this past year to support our youth in their traditional knowledge research;
- Youth Nicholas Arnalukjuak, Keith Otuk Alikut, Abraham Eetak,
- John Arnalukjuaq High School teacher Gord Billard and principal Jay Thomas;
I would also like to thank Zacharias Kunuk and Dr. Ian Mauro for donating a copy of their film, Inuit Knowledge on Climate Change, to the John Arnalukjuak High School. More students will be able to watch and learn from this informative and thought-provoking Inuktitut-laguage film.
Mr. Speaker, when communities come together to support each other, incredible things can happen. Together, we are supporting opportunities for science, science education, the sharing of traditional Inuit knowledge and exposing our youth and community to the many careers available in science, research, media and education.
On behalf of our community, I would like to thank all those who took the time and effort to support our young Inuit researchers.
We are very proud of our youth and wish Jordan, Amy, Curtis and April a safe and successful journey of discovery to South Africa.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.