(For our Future, I Go to School)
Sivunitsatinnut ilinniapunga (For our future, I go to school) is an Inuit youth driven exploration of postsecondary education through archaeological fieldwork, networking, and culturally grounded media projects in high school. The project was pursued together with the Avataq Cultural Institute, the community of Akulivik and Tukisiniarvik School, starting with an archaeological field school on Qikirtajuaq (Smith Island).
Phase 2: Visit to Tukisiniarvik School in Akulivik, Selection of Pictures for Exhibit, November 2013
In November 2013, we returned to Akulivik (2 archaeologists, Tommy Weetaluktuk & Pierre Desrosiers from Avataq & myself, Jrène Rahm). Tommy and Pierre offered presentations about archaeology to students at the elementary and high school level. Students could touch different artefacts and learn more about their history and culture. I worked with youth after school, selecting pictures with them for the upcoming exhibit, pictures they took from their community in the fall and others from those taken in the summer.
Phase 3: Archaeological Week and Photo Exhibit at the McCord Museum in Montreal, April 2014
Nine Inuit youth came South with their teachers to learn more about the ways artefacts are preserved and sotred. They also met different people working in the field of archaeology and culture at the Avataq Institute, visited John Abbott College to learn more about education in the South and visited many museums and archives in Montréal and Ottawa.
The photo exhibit was also inaugerated with the youth and their teachers at the McCord Museum with a special reception that attracted many visitors from Montreal, as summarized also in Nunatsiaq News.
Phase 4: Photo Exhibit at Tukisiniarvik School
The photo exhibit returned to Akulivik in the spring, and was exhibited at the school and inaugerated with a special opening night organized by the youth and their teachers.
The goal of the project was to enrich the summer archaeological field school experience through additional youth centered educational activities during the summer and the school year. The fieldschool was a means to reconnect with history and culture, while the photo exhibit led to the sharing of youths' hard work in the field with the public in the South and the North. The exhibit itself occassioned the sharing of many stories about the history and culture that the digging of materials brought alive for youth and that they captured through their pictures for the visitors to engage with. Through the sharing of the photo exhibit with the community and the peers at the school in the North, and through the museum space in the South, youths’ ideas gained visibility. We hope the project is an inspiration for other youth voice driven community projects to come.
Phase 1: Archaeological Field School on Qikirtajuaq (Smith Island), July 15th-August 15th 2013
Since 1985, the Avataq Cultural Institute has been involved in archaeological field schools, working with local Inuit while also training Inuit youth and involving Elders in a quest to document and preserve the rich cultural heritage and the history of Nunavik. This project took place in the context of a five week field school in the summer of 2013 and implied the participation of 13 Inuit youth who took pictures and video of their experiences, documenting their experiences and the land. We also created I-Comic pages for the Facebook page of Avataq, documenting each week what happened in camp and shared a powerpoint presentation with our pictures with the community at the end of the field school while also exhibiting the artefacts found.