Using The Inuit Perspective to Successfully Lead a School

Guest author:
April A. Strickland

Looking for an adventure five years ago, I travelled to a small Inuit community in Nunavut. I quickly discovered teaching Inuit children is a rich, rewarding, and learner-filled experience incomparable to past education I have experienced. Seeing first-hand the positive impact the Inuit culture had on the school was eye-opening. As I returned from my first field trip of berry picking, eating and making bannock on the land as a “Southern Outsider”, I had the privilege of witnessing Inuit students learning in a culturally respectful way.

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Eskimo Identification Tags Replaced Traditional Names

Photo: J. C. Jackson / Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development fonds / Library and Archives Canada / a102695-v6

"In Inuit tradition, a child is not considered to be a complete person until they receive an atiq or “soul name,” usually given at birth. The construction of a subject’s identity, therefore, is a complex process involving the historical customs of “naming,” kinship practices, as well as spiritual beliefs. The subject’s identity is thus composed of multiple layers, as the following narrative suggests:

No child is only a child. If I give my grandfather’s atiq to my baby daughter, she is my grandfather. I will call her ataatassiaq, grandfather. She is entitled to call me grandson.” [1]

A note on terminology: In this article, we use the term “Eskimo” as it is historically accurate for the subject “Eskimo identification tags”. Eskimo is considered derogatory in Canada but is still in use in Alaska. In Canada the preference is Inuit.

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Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Turns Twenty - 10 Fast Facts

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Nunavut Lands Claim Decision

Robert Janes, Janes Freedman Kyle Law Corp, Aboriginal Law in Canada Blog

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Inuit People of the World

Thank you for your question. We have looked into this and this is what we have found out:

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The Inuit Dog and My Adventure Outside Whitehorse, Yukon.

Earlier this week I delivered a pre-conference Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples® training session at the 3rd annual Yukon First Nations Resource Conference and Student Job Fair in 2012. The session was well attended and we were fortunate enough to receive the following feedback:

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3 Mistakes People Make When Working With the Inuit

Kenipitu women in beaded amautiit, Cape Fullerton (Qatiktalik). Photo: A.P. Low / Library and Archives Canada / PA-053606

The Inuit were identified as one of Canada's three distinct Aboriginal peoples in the Constitution Act of 1982 and as such Inuit have their own unique histories, language, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs as well as relationships with Canada.

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