CURA Workshop, Inuit Women and Leadership: UPEI Presentation April 2013


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CIERA Annual Workshop Inuit Women and Leadership
At: Laval University April 18, 2013.
Presentation Titled: Inuit Women Educational Leaders: ‘Expanding Vision’ and ‘Creating Futures’
By: Naullaq Arnaquq, Fiona Walton,
Darlene O’Leary

Published in: Education
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  • Photo of the afternoon session of the Inuit Educational Leadership Workshop at Inuksuk High School, Iqaluit. Approximately 25 people attended the morning session, and approximately 75 attended the afternoon session.Moderator: PeeseePitsiulak Stephens (Dean, Nunattaq Campus, Nunavut ArcticCollege) Panelists: Mary Simon (former President, ITK), Kathy Okpik (Deputy Minister, NunavutDept of Education), Mary Etuangat (Principal,Alookie School, Pangnirtung), Sarah Ayaruak (Principal, Leo Ussak School, Rankin Inlet)Contributors to shared discussion included: Lena Metuq (Co-Principal, Attagoyuk School, Pangnirtung and Master of Education graduate), Millie Kuliktana (Master of Education graduate), and AviajaLynge (Institute of Arctic Education, University of Greenland)
  • Inuit educational leadership takes many forms. Inuit teachers, principals, DEA members, civil servants and politicians are all emerging with strong vision and determination for improved education in Nunavut. Levels of leadership involve the family, the local school and community, and the region or territory, and all of these are important to improving education. Parents, grandparents, and Elders play an important role in inspiring and grounding leaders in their identities and building confidence. Education is also a key to confidence, voice, and pride.
  • MillieKuliktanaInuit culture, values, and language form a foundation for Inuit educational leadership. The resilience, self-sufficiency, and survival skills of generations of Inuit who passed on traditions and stories are an ongoing source of strength and inspiration for Inuit leaders today. The values taught by Elders, grandparents, and parents help Inuit educational leaders to work together toward a shared vision and to take on leadership, even when it is difficult. Inuit leadership has traditionally been focused on the community, and not the individual. This has an impact on how current Inuit leaders see themselves and their roles.
  • While gradual steps are being made for more Inuit to take on leadership, it remains a slow process. Part of this involves culturally influenced perceptions about who leaders are and the need for leaders to be chosen and encouraged by others, particularly Elders or those in higher positions. As well, there is a humility that is pervasive and perhaps leads to reluctance for some to take on leadership, in case they appear boastful or self-promotional. Part of the hesitancy also involves an internalized inferiority and poor self-image, which remains as a legacy of colonialism. Further, there is still a dominant non-Inuit presence in leadership roles in Nunavut, which does not always foster Inuit leadership.
  • The legacy of colonialism still reaches into the consciousness and identities of Inuit. The “colonial mentality” perpetuates a lack of self-confidence and self-worth, as well as holding some back from taking on leadership. In order to over come this, there is a need for continued education about Inuit culture, identity, traditions, and worldviews, in order to address impact of cultural loss. There is a need for more Inuit to take on educational leadership roles, to inspire and motivate younger generations. There is also a need for a better understanding of the history of the region and the emergence of the territory, when Inuit worked hard for self-determination.
  • “Well there is not enough, I only know of one, one Inuk person who has a Masters in Education and I think that we need to start developing that, it's not because it's just one, but we need to build that professional expertise as Inuit so we can start depending and building on our human resources, on the local and regional level. I feel that too much emphasis is going outside, getting outside consultant, where, we already know all our, the content, but always depending, so it, I think an M.Ed. course also develops on the ability to start becoming autonomous as a society. …I think, personally, the fact that I am going to school, I'm going on to do my Masters, I know that it will be easier for my children, and for the younger generation and to say ... it's possible, the possibility is there.”
  • “… [MEd] it's empowering just to be in the classes, and so you want to, with each new thing that you learn you want to do more things that you might have thought were impossible to do, and because I've been research side of things, I used to think, well, we're surveyed, I'm surveyed out, I'm researched out, but really, if we're looking at research, I think I want to be involved in research side of things, because I think our Inuk voice and an Inuk researcher is what's needed out there, because there are so many things that socially, should be looked at, and find ways in how we can help, to voice those in print or on print and it's just endless, limitless.”
  • CURA Workshop, Inuit Women and Leadership: UPEI Presentation April 2013

    1. 1. CIERA Annual Workshop Inuit Women and Leadership Laval University April 18, 2013 Inuit Women Educational Leaders: ‘Expanding Vision’ and ‘Creating Futures’ NaullaqArnaquq, Fiona Walton, Darlene O’Leary
    2. 2. UPEI CURA Research Themes and findings from this research emerge from:  Inuit Educational Leadership Workshop held in Iqaluit in February 2012, and  Interviews with Inuit women educational leaders who are graduates and current students in the UPEI Master of Education Nunavut program
    3. 3. Inuit Educational Leadership Workshop Iqaluit, February 2012
    4. 4. Inuit Educational Workshop and Interviews Inuit women educators who shared their perspectives at the workshop and in interviews are strongly motivated: to give back to their communities, to empower others to achieve their goals, and to continue to strengthen Inuit language and culture.
    5. 5. Inuit Educational Workshop and Interviews There are still barriers that Inuit women educators face, including:  lack of access to university graduate education,  overcoming intergenerational trauma resulting from colonialism,  maintaining Inuit identity in a changing society, and  finding their own voice, identity and confidence.
    6. 6. Inuit women’s leadership foundations “We relied on our Elders to tell us the story, to pass on the knowledge. That’s how we were taught, by talking to us orally, and using tales from the past... We have to have a grounding, a place where we start from and understanding who we are ….that’s where all my starting points come from, especially from what I have heard from other Inuit and that’s where I form my direction and that’s how I have been able to perform as a leader.” Mary Simon, former President, Inuit TapariitKanatami (February 2012)
    7. 7. Inuit leadership and community “My style of a leader is to work for the common good, to build healthy communities. …You can be a leader and not give a damn about your resume, because you are just striving for something for something good, for something better.” Millie Kuliktana, MEd graduate Kugluktuk, NU (February 2012)
    8. 8. Inuit leadership improving communities
    9. 9. Inuit leadership and community “I think, in smaller communities, you see all your colleagues or peers and your Elders, and you don't want to be seen as a leader, it's very intimidating to be seen as a leader. You grow, you're pushed. When you're pushed by the Elders, the leaders in the community, to become a leader, [its] only then can you start sounding your voice ….So in order to be a very vocal leader, you almost…need a group of your community to back you up…the community has a big role in creating a leader…” JukeepaHainnu, MEd graduate and Principal, Quluaq High School Clyde River, NU (July 2012)
    10. 10. Colonial consciousness and need for recovery “There is a lot of consciousness that we don’t have about why we keep on measuring ourselves towards other people’s standards and not measuring our own culture as something valuable. Even in Greenland where we struggle and struggle a lot to put more culture in the school, still a lot of people (are not) aware of how … the colonial history has shaped us inside.” AviajaLynge, Institute of Arctic Education University of Greenland (February 2012)
    11. 11. Colonial consciousness and need for recovery “I just want to make myself available for people who have gone through what I did, and more … the residential school experience. So I got (healing) training and I’m available anytime people need somebody to talk to. … At the apology … all the things that happened in the past … just started to come back … and I had gone through the healing process … so I told my 7-year-old self, that’s the age when I went to school, I told the 7-year-old child in me, this is for you” Monica Ittusardjuat, MEd graduate Iqaluit, NU (February 2012)
    12. 12. Importance of higher education “I want more Inuit educators to deal with what’s holding them back. Even though we are being told you can’t do this or that [we] still need to speak.…The more Inuit [are] educated with higher degrees, the more people will want to see themselves as equal. If more students go through the Masters program, it will become the norm.” PeeseePitsiulak Stephens (February 2012)
    13. 13. Importance of higher education
    14. 14. Concluding points  Inuit culture, language, and values provide a strong foundation for fostering identity, confidence, and leadership.  Inuit leadership is traditionally non- authoritarian and communally-oriented.  Developing critical consciousness and recovering from colonization enables Inuit women educators to take on leadership;  Participation in decolonizing education contributes to empowerment and builds leadership capacity.