NS provides Inuit youth with a unique learning experience that combines college-level academic studies with the development of Inuit cultural knowledge, communication skills, as well as independent living and leadership skills.
Year 1: Inuit Studies
In Year 1, the focus is on having students learn their own collective story from the point of view of the Inuit experience. Students will take courses in Inuit History, Land Claims, Inuit-Government Relations, Contemporary Inuit Issues, Inuktut, English, and Cultural Studies.
The focus on the relationship of Inuit with the rest of Canada, with the loss and then regaining of a measure of control and independence, is the unifying theme that is central to NS’ Year 1 course material and pedagogy.
Year 2, Advanced Inuit Studies
In Year 2, students will expand on topics that are introduced in Year 1 but through a much broader perspective. Year 2 is made up of the following courses: Introduction to Research, Research Methods, Community Development, Intro to Circumpolar Studies, Circumpolar Peoples, Land Claim Implementation, Political Science, Northern Public Administration, Inuktut, and Cultural Studies.
Year 2 is also an integration into university level studies; both Political Science and Northern Public Administration are Carleton University courses, delivered in-house by Carleton University professors.
While Academics is the central focus at NS the Cultural Studies course allows students to maintain an attachment to their culture through practicing a variety of skills. One half-day of each week is dedicated to the learning such things as traditional songs, drum dancing, throat-singing, sewing of parkas and mitts, beading, and making ulu (women’s cutting tool), sakku (harpoon head) and qamutik (sled). Each fall we take a week-long cultural retreat outside the city to focus on these skills. We are thankful for local cultural experts who come to NS to instruct in these skills.
An artist-in-residence delivers various art workshops after hours each week, and through an affiliation with the National Arts Centre a skilled music teacher is at NS twice a week after hours to help students learn everything from fiddle to guitar to accordion and much more. Each year we end up with our own square-dance band!
Through regular sharing of their culture with southern audiences students become Ambassadors for Inuit Culture and Nunavut. From primary school students, to university students, to the crowds at outdoor winter festivals NS students foster new awareness of Inuit culture for hundreds of southerners each year. Demonstrating their culture with pride to eager southern groups is a great confidence booster!