Community & Education

Tuesday, August 21, 2007
This morning we had community representatives (RCMP, our MLA, Mayor, Anglican Deacon and several Elders) in to talk to us all about how we all play a roll in the education of our youth in the community. Here in Arctic Bay, there is a strong link between education and family - such that families want to be involved in their child’s education and support us in what we are trying to accomplish; however, often they are not adequately prepared to help their children with their work.

We (us teachers .. at least us Western teachers) learned more about how the Elders used to play a much larger roll in the education of youth by teaching them traditional skills (hunting, hide preparation....), but now that there are so few Elders in Arctic Bay (only 5% of the population) this task has become a challenge. The Elders also told us that today’s youth are quite angry - they are caught in between two competing cultures - the Western Culture and the Traditional Inuit Culture. Youth just do not know who they are any more or to which culture they should associate with. The Elders encouraged us to share our culture with the youth of Arctic Bay and to help integrate it (and the Inuit culture) into our teaching. And that if we ever wanted an Elder to join us in our classroom, that all we had to do was ask.

We also met our MLA for Nunavut, Levi Barnabas, who commended all of us for coming way up here to engage in this cultural exchange. He also gave us a brief history of Arctic Bay and that if we as educators ever needed help finding something to visit him over at his office when he’s in town.

The rest of the day was spent trying to organize my two classrooms .. there coming along.. thank god I have all day tomorrow to figure it out.. as it’s a nice disaster down in the computer lab.