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Filming for our future


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Filming for our future

  1. 1. Ashoka: Innovators for the PublicFilming for Our futureSocio-Historical, Cross-Generational and Multi-media Approaches to InuitYouth Mental Health and Well-being School of Social Work, University of British Columbia School (UBC), Vancouver, Canada Nanisiniq Arviat History Project Research Team: Martha Okotak, Silas Illungiayok, Tamar Mukyunik, Jordan Konek, Curtis Kuunuaq, Amy Owingayak, Dr. Paule McNicoll, Mr. Peter Irniq, Dr. Frank Tester & April Dutheil
  2. 2. Nanisiniq Arviat History Project• Inuit Elders & youth from Arviat, Nunavut• Two year multi-media history project• Participatory action research• Sivulinuut Elders Society & University of British Columbia School of Social Work
  3. 3. Arviat, Nunavut • 1,200 kilometers north of Winnipeg • Third largest town in Nunavut • Population approx. 3,000
  4. 4. Inuit History• Most dramatic assimilation period in history• Relocation• Starvation• Residential school• An attempt to assimilate Inuit into western culture Tester & McNicoll (2004)
  5. 5. Mental Health and Well-being• Arviat: 74% of population under 25 years old compared to 35% for general Canada• Arviat: Highest national birth rate – 35/1,000• Nunavut suicide eight times the rate of suicide in southern Canada – 119.7/100,000 vs. 14/100,000• Socio-historical trauma & fractured identity/belonging Hicks (2004); Tester & McNicoll (2004); White (2010)
  6. 6. Generational Gap• Decreased interaction between Elders and youth• Impacts grasp of culturally, socially and geographically -relevant Inuit knowledge
  7. 7. Forgotten History• Limited understanding of Inuit history among youth• Inuit history not taught in Nunavut (or southern Canada)• Painful to talk about
  8. 8. History & Identity• Knowing one’s history to make sense of personal & community experiences• Rediscovering, celebrating & re- enforcing identity
  9. 9. History & Resistance“First of all Id like to say that Inuit were treated back then asif they were stupid. They knew how to hunt well and how tosurvive on the land but then, what did they get? Whitepeople writing them a book of wisdom which Inuit alreadyhad! From reading the documents we have been looking at,Inuit stayed quiet and tried to listen to the Whitepeople...What the whitepeople did not know then wasInuit were already smart enoughto live their lives...” -Amy Owingayak, August 22 2010
  10. 10. Elders• Cross-generational dialogue & understanding• Culturally & socially reaffirming for Elders & youth• Healing generational trauma
  11. 11. Elders & Strength“Im amazed by these Elders Im watching who were allmistreated by the Canadian Government - Yet they still standstrong. Im even more amazed how they know theenvironment around them. Were losing it.” -Jordan Konek, August 2 2012
  12. 12. Filmmaking
  13. 13. Digital Media:
  14. 14. What does this project mean to me?
  15. 15. Acknowledgements• Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada• Sivulinuut Elders Society• Nunavut Research Institute• Nunavut Arctic College
  16. 16. References• Hicks, J. (2004, January 24). Nunavut Kiglisiniaqtiit: Evaluation and Statistics. Presentation to the Founding Conference of the Nunavut Suicide Prevention Council, Iqaluit, NU.• Korhonen, M. (2006). Suicide prevention: Inuit traditional practices that encouraged resilience and coping. Retrieved from the Ajunnginiq Centre, National Aboriginal Health Organization website: evention-FinalEnglish_000.pdf• Tester, F. J., & McNicoll, P. (2004). Isumagijaksaq: Mindful of the state: Social constructions of inuit suicide. Social Science & Medicine, 58(12):2625-2636.• White, Patrick (2010, June 5). Inuit mothers fight for their children’s health. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from
  17. 17. Questions• Blog:• Twitter: @NanisiniqArviat• Email: