There is a longstanding desire among Inuit and some northern educators to better integrate Inuit culture and modes of learning in education. At present, efforts to include Inuit culture in education can be described as ad hoc or add-ons to a Euro-North American schooling system, which puts many Inuit in internal conflict trying to live according to two value systems that in some ways contradict themselves. This thesis reports on research conducted with Inuit in the Canadian Arctic to identify what aspects of culture and modes of learning Inuit desire to have included in education beyond those identified a priori by non-Inuit educators. A conceptual framework for the cultural negotiation of Indigenous education is empirically applied in a case study of Ulukhaktok, NWT to identify what Inuit think young people should learn, how they should learn it, where they should learn it and from who, and why it is important for them to learn it. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews (n=31), free-lists and participant observation. Findings show that Inuit desire to have subsistence knowledge, skills and values, and understanding of the local environment included in education, which not only builds competence in subsistence but also provides students with capacity to cope with challenges in the modern world. This involves on-the-land hands-on learning with a skilled person and/or family member. Inuit perceive school as a place for learning and the findings identify opportunities to negotiate this space to better integrate Inuit culture and modes of learning.
12th ArcticNet Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM2016), Winnipeg, United States 5-9 December 2016
12th ArcticNet Annual Scientific Meeting Program Booklet / pp.120