Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories
Year(s) Funded: 2018-2019
Topic Area: Food Security, Access to Land, Knowledge Sharing / Education, Mental Health
Contact: Donna Akhiatak, Project Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org); Dr. Tristan Pearce (email@example.com)
Partners: Ulukhaktok Community Corporation (UCC) & University of the Sunshine Coast (USC)
Title: NUNAMIN ILLIHAKVIA: Learning from the Land
Action: The Nunamin Illihakvia project brought together young Inuit, male and female, with experienced hunters and sewers, and Elders to learn how to travel and hunt under changing conditions, how to prepare and sew hides, and promoted the learning and use of Inuinnaqtun language. The generation and transmission of traditional knowledge (including skills and values) is important for adapting to climatic changes affecting subsistence as it affords Inuit dynamic and flexible use of the environment.
Hunter-Youth Mentorship: the project partnered with the local school and had students accompany skilled teachers (experienced hunters and Elders) on the land and work with them to make hunting tools. On-the-land activities included learning how to identify safe travel routes, and navigate and way-find using traditional methods, set up camp, build an igloo, get ice for drinking water, and butcher and share their catch in the community. Completed tool-making projects were: koveykhit (tool for setting fish nets under the ice), tuuk (ice chisel) and ilhout (ice fishing dip), fox drying racks, snow knife, and onak (for seal hunting).
Sewing Projects: younger generation Inuit and Elders worked together to share traditional knowledge of hide preparation and sewing. Sewers completed seven projects that focused on traditional hide preparation and sewing skills. Completed sewing projects were: delta braid, attigi (parka), traveling mitts, tututiq (traditional shoes), ipegaptek (waterproof seal skin boots), attungaks (sun bleached seal skin) and wall hangings.
Inuinnaqtun Language: the use and learning of Inuinnaqtun was promoted in all project activities. Specific activities that focused on Inuinnaqtun were the “Tuhungarvik radio show” and learn Inuinnaqtun classes. Tuhungarvik was broadcast live in Ulukhaktok ever Friday and led by Elder Robert Kuptana with co-host Crystal Kuneyuna. Learn Inuinnaqtun classes taught by Emily Kudlak were held twice a week during the winter and focused on getting people comfortable speaking their language.
Outputs: Nunamin Illihakvia Project Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcLtBBZ3ADg