2022-2023 Nipivut Youth Leadership Conference

Topics: Nunavut, Youth, Youth
Laura Ellis | May 02, 2023

The Nipivut Youth Leadership Conference is held annually to engage and support student leadership as well as foster tools and teachings to promote student wellness. Each year, a variety of speakers host workshops for Nunavut students that foster the Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) – or Inuit “Traditional Knowledge.”

This year’s conference, hosted over the course of several dates throughout the school year, offered a variety of teachings about the different principles of IQ. Many facilitators hail from the northern territories themselves and have a unique insight on how these teachings and tools can be used, whether it’s in school or out on the land.

Storytelling through music with Rebecca Han
Born and raised in Nunavut, Rebecca Han is a Senior Project Officer with the Canadian Red Cross. She works with Nunavut’s Risk Reduction and Resilience team to create safe environments, healthy communities and resources for empowering youth. Her Nipivut workshop used music as a means for youth to express themselves and as a tool to tell stories. This taught students how to foster Inuit traditional knowledge use the practice of Pilimmaksarniq – the development of skills through observation, mentoring, practice and effort. Rebecca facilitated this workshop virtually for two Nunavut schools - Tuugaalik High School in Naujaat and Sakku School in Salliq.

Jewelry and traditional tool making using land-based and recycled materials
with Nooks Lindell

Inuk artist Nooks Lindell uses materials found on the land in Arviat, Nunavut, in addition to recycled materials, to make high quality jewelry and tools deeply rooted in Inuit culture and traditions. The reclamation of materials, land and culture actively decolonizes this art form of tool and jewelry making and provides pathways to healing. Through his work, Nooks challenges the notions of value and waste in the mainstream fashion industry. He seeks to encourage Inuit youth to embrace their culture and creativity, realize the ingenuity of Inuit people, past and present, and to see themselves as part of creating a more sustainable future by sharing his process and stories. Nooks facilitated this workshop in person with students of John Arnalukjuak High School in Arviat, NU.

Inuit games and the art of circus with Tylie Arnatsiaq, Arcirq
Tylie Arnatsiaq is a coordinator with Artcirq, an Inuit circus performance collective, based in Igloolik, Nunavut. Created in 1998, the circus group has taught Inuit games and the art of circus to people around the globe though interactive workshops and shows. Using the IQ principle Tunnganarniq – fostering good spirit by being open, welcoming and inclusive – the high school students of Maani Ulujuk Ilinniarvik in Rankin Inlet welcomed Tylie virtually, while he taught them traditional Inuit games along with circus demonstrations.

Pijariuqsarniq, Pen to Paper with Sarabeth Holden
Sarabeth Holden is the author of two popular children’s books, Please Don’t Change My Diaper and Benny the Banansaurus Rex. She grew up in Nova Scotia, Nunavut, New Brunswick and Ontario, and is now the president of the Toronto Inuit Association, supporting the local Inuit community as it grows in her current city. Sarabeth’s workshop focused on the IQ principle Pijariuqsarniq as she led a discussion about how small actions, like simply putting a pen to a piece of paper, are often the first step in creating something great. Whether it's a simple story or just time to let your brain relax, Sarabeth taught the students of Victor Sammurtok School in Chesterfield Inlet how to use writing as an outlet for self-care and expression.

Perspectives on Respect with Braden Kadlun Johnston
Braden is a digital content creator with more than 130,000 TikTok followers. He was born in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, and believes in advocating for his Inuit culture by sharing it with the world. His videos focus on things such as sobriety, mental health, healing and exploring Indigenous identity. He also has film credits to his name, appearing as a cast member in the 2018 film, The Grizzlies, which centred on a group of Inuit students in a remote Arctic town transforming their lives after they are introduced to the sport of lacrosse. Braden’s presentation to the students of Jonah Amitnaaq Secondary School in Baker Lake talked about the importance of respect, for the self as well as others. He shared his perspective as an Inuk who has lived in northern communities and southern cities of Canada.
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