The text below is an excerpt from the original article by Giovanna Mingarelli, published August 23, 2014 on The Huffington Post.
I’m grateful to have spent the last four days in Arviat, Nunavut (Northern Canada) participating in a fascinating roundtable dialogue with Inuit Elders from across the territory about maintaining their traditional culture in a rapidly changing world.
Only reachable by air and snowmobile, this small hamlet along the Western coast of Hudson Bay originated as a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post back in the 1920s. With a population of almost 3,000, it is now considered by many to be Nunavut’s second largest community.
The predominantly Inuit hamlet boasts beautiful weather, striking marine mammals and wildlife, including: beluga whales, caribou, arctic fox, wolves, polar bears and snow geese, amongst others. Little known in the past, Arviat was put on the map in the past few years when it won a World Travel and Tourism Council Award and founded it’s own youth-run television station, Arviat.TV.
The dialogue was spearheaded by several of Nunavut’s Elders in partnership with the Arviat Wellness Centre and the National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health (NCCAH) based out of the University of Northern British Columbia. It was designed as part of one of the final pieces in a publishing project documenting the core beliefs, values and social systems of the Inuit culture for future generations as a book called: Inuit Quajimajatuqangit – What Inuit have always known to be true.
The funding for this project was endowed by the Arctic Inspiration Prize (AI). Also known as the “Nobel Prize of the North,” AI is a fund that recognizes and encourages teamwork and collaboration among diverse groups and organizations, from north and south, in addressing the causes and issues of importance to the Canadian Arctic and its Peoples. One to five prizes totaling $1 million CAD are awarded to groups and organizations each year. The writing project was awarded this prestigious prize in 2012.