Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories
Year(s) Funded: 2013-2014, 2014-2015
Topic Area: Knowledge Sharing / Education
Contact: Colin Okheena (firstname.lastname@example.org) & Dr. Tristan Pearce (email@example.com)
Partners: Ulukhaktok Community Corporation, University of the Sunshine Coast
Action: This project built on the previous year’s program Nunamin Illihakvia: learning from the land, whose purpose was to develop a network of marine mammal experts, and supported the transmission of Inuit traditional knowledge, skills, and values important for a healthy lifestyle, physically, mentally and culturally. Specifically, this program brought together young Inuit with experienced hunters, Elders and sewers to learn how to travel and hunt during shoulder seasons and how to prepare and sew with caribou skins. The TUMIVUT project sought to share knowledge of caribou hunting, traditional sewing skills, and language to strengthen Inuit health and food security during a time of rapid climate and societal changes.
Results: The TUMIVUT projects provided opportunities for community members to better understand and manage the health impacts of climate change. The project fostered the intergenerational transmission of Traditional Ecological Knowledge related to safe travel on the land, ice and sea during shoulder seasons, when climate related risks are pronounced, and how to sew with caribou skins. TUMIVUT is an Ulukhaktok-led project and several community members enhanced their skills in project administration, data collection and analysis, language promotion, and oral history database management.
The Tumivut project reinforced some priority issues that the community has long advocated for. These include engaging youth with Elders and experienced hunters and sewers to learn skills important for safe travel and hunting, and sewing with skins, and Inuinnaqtun language revitalization. There was a special energy in the community during the Nunamin Illihakvia and Tumivut programs, fed by the interest, passion, and pride Ulukhaktomuit have for their culture.
Outputs:Produced beginner-level “Learn Inuinnaqtun” videos and a documentary of phase I of the project; One master set of maps identifying hunting grounds on Victoria Island was created, 17 sets of maps were given to participants; sewing projects completed: mitkuliks (caribou leg kammiks), caribou skin tent, tuktu pauluks (caribou mitts), and koliktak (caribou skin parka); equipment making projects completed: halukhit (sharp scraper) and ektokhit (dull scraper); Numerous stories digitized and uploaded to the Nauvikhaq oral history database; Photo book that tells the story of the project through photos.
Additional Resources & Publications
“To go out on the land or on the ice, that is, it’s a very healing process. Just going out. Even to sew, to get your mind and yourself busy at doing something productive, positive. Those are just wellness in itself. To feel proud of something you accomplished.” -Project participant
“Hunting is the best medicine out on the land. If you go out on the land, it get you really your energy back... you see this nice country, nice place, nice view, and you see animals...you go back home, you feel good.”- Hunting instructor
“My favourite part is when they (young people) are finishing (their sewing), to see their eyes light up when they are getting there. Sometimes they don’t know what to do, sometimes they have problems, sometimes things are not turning out the way though should, but when we work together we figure it out.” - Elder sewing instructor
“I tell them [the young people] hunting is not just for fun, it’s a way of life, keeps you alive, and just makes you become a better person, how you harvest your animals and you start sharing with people.” - Hunting instructor