Identifying our Strenghths Trip

Province: Nunavut

Community: Naujaat

Date: 2022

This trip brought community members and healthcare workers together to learn about each other and learn from one another.

In preparation for this trip, Inuit youth met to discuss details including who they would invite to guide & which elder might join them. This would be a significant ask b/c the summer season in Canada’s north isn’t long: community members spend weekends boating/camping w family, or whale hunting. Inviting nurses was also difficult because the Health Centre is understaffed. One guide offered to shuttle nurses at different times so all could enjoy this experience. On July 16th at 9am five boats gathered side by side. Guides made sure radios worked while discussing weather & destination. Very soon a polar bear was spotted! At Tinujivik the group had lunch onshore. A few spoke in Inuktitut filling the air w laughter. Guides shared camping stories & nurses spoke about their profession. A few decided to go fishing. At Sipurjaqtuuq, the guides explained that polar bears lay on top of hills, so two guides w rifles escorted the group exploring. During a Sharing Circle each person was asked, “Where am I from?”, “Who am I?”, “Why am I here?”, “Where am I going?”. Heading back, there was a lot of radio communication; elders on land confirmed strong winds could push sea ice in & that the group should be careful to not get trapped in the bay. The evening was enjoyed on the shores of Amitutjjuaq. Elder Mary shared about her family. Guides talked about the narwhal hunt & how different parts of the animal are used. They also discussed the righteousness misunderstanding of Inuit guardianship of the land & sea. This shared experience helped build trust between Inuit youth & healthcare workers in Naujaat & reinforced how strong the Inuit are connected to land & sea. In total, 10 youth, 5 guides, & 7 healthcare professionals participated.