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Volume 33, numéro 1-2, 2009, p. 283-293

Éducation et transmission des savoirs inuit au Canada / Education and transmission of Inuit knowledge in Canada

Sous la direction de Frédéric Laugrand et Jarich Oosten

Direction : Murielle Nagy (directrice)

Rédaction : Murielle Nagy (rédactrice en chef)

Éditeurs : Association Inuksiutiit Katimajiit Inc. et Centre interuniversitaire d'études et de recherches autochtones (CIÉRA)

ISSN : 0701-1008 (imprimé)  1708-5268 (numérique)

DOI : 10.7202/044978ar

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This dissertation presents data from an archaeological survey and oral history project conducted on Nelson Island (Alaska) in 1983 and 1984. Located in western Alaska along the Bering Sea coast and geographically isolated, the Qaluyaarmiut (Yupiit of Qaluyaaq) of Nelson Island, continued a traditional way of life well into the 20th century. During the 1900s and 1910s, they lived in underground sod houses, they seasonally migrated between villages and camps, travelling by kayak, skin boat, and dogsled, and they fished and hunted the open streams and the Bering Sea coast to provide a living for their families. This dissertation discusses 47 habitation sites and the oral histories associated with the settlements, which include 84 taped interviews with 43 Nelson Island Yupiit elders. Specifically, it focuses on the traditional seasonal settlement patterns of the Nelson Island Yupiit and the variables affecting the types of settlements and the resources used. The oral histories give additional information that goes beyond what archaeology alone can provide.

This descriptive case study explores Inuit visions for schooling in a remote community in the Qikiqtani (formerly Baffin) Region of Nunavut. I use information from interviews, casual conversations, observations, and a review of the literature on minority and cross-cultural education to describe what participants want, discuss obstacles to student learning, and suggest ways to improve schooling in Nunavut. The research critically examines power relations and is meant to help explain change. Data came primarily from semi-structured interviews with 74 Inuit adults, and were contextualised by two years of teaching Grade 7 in this community in the late 1990s. Findings echo descriptions of what Inuit participants wanted from schooling during the Sivuniksamut Ilinniarniq consultations and the Nunavut Education Act consultations. Participants supported schooling and wanted an increase in Inuit knowledge and skills taught in (and outside) the schools. In the schools, they wanted an increase in, or strengthening of, Inuktitut, meaningful inclusion of elders, and higher academic standards. Participants described a number of obstacles to student achievement, and no one theory can explain the failings of Nunavut schools. Many concerns identified in the literature on schools that underserve Aboriginal and minority students are discussed. These include culturally incongruent pedagogy, a weak connection between school and work, prejudice from non-Inuit, and disempowering relations between the school system and the community. Eurocentric thinking in the schools, the school system, and Canada continues to block the creation of schools that work for Inuit. The Government of Canada must provide funding to help transform Nunavut schooling into a system based on Inuit culture. The Nunavut Department of Education must work with Inuit educators to implement the changes called for in the Bilingual Education Strategy. As long as non-Inuit educators are needed in Nunavut, District Education authorities should prioritise hiring of people who are willing to examine their own Eurocentrism.

This thesis examines the influence of fur trade technology on the adult learning process of five Inuvialuit ancestors who traded at Cape Krusenstern (Nuvuk), NWT (now Nunavut), one of 51 Coronation Gulf-Holman trading sites operating from 1935 to 1947. Cape Krusenstern Inuvialuit lived in semi-permanent family-based camps near caribou-crossing areas and good fishing lakes or rivers. They left their camps from April to October, travelling inland while caching food along the way for future needs. These journeys were characterised by individual adult learning of subsistence living skills. Having added fur trapping to their subsistence practices in the 1920s, the Inuvialuit set up lengthy traplines to catch predominantly white fox. Abandoning their traditional practice of December to March gatherings, they gathered at trading-mission centres for shorter periods (Christmas, Easter). There, under the direction of elders and through traditional ways of knowing (non-verbal, intuitive, reflective, spiritual, and using present time and spatial memory), Inuvialuit participated in both individual and collective adult learning to develop community and cultural ties.

Titre : Thèses / Dissertations
Revue : Études/Inuit/Studies, Volume 33, numéro 1-2, 2009, p. 283-293
URI : http://id.erudit.org/iderudit/044978ar
DOI : 10.7202/044978ar

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