Hands-on. Land-based. Science is fun for Nunavik Youth !
NUNAMI SUKUIJAINIQ (“Our Science on the Land”) is a program of science land camps which are one-week expeditions to study local environmental issues identified by the host community while training youth in natural sciences. The NUNAMI SUKUIJAINIQ program developed from a previous collaborative and community-based research project called Imalirijiit (“Those who Study Water”). Imalirijiit was started by Kangiqsualujjuaq (Nunavik) community members and university-based researchers to monitor the water quality of the George River and foster environmental stewardship of its watershed. Motivated by the success of the Imalirijiit camps, community members wanted to start a new Arctic ecology education program focused on broader community interests, including marine edible resources, lake and river hydrology, winter ecology and Arctic char. NUNAMI SUKUIJAINIQ was therefore designed for Inuit youth across Nunavik, mixing traditional and local knowledge with western science to stimulate and nurture Inuit youth’s interest in science-related careers, to promote environmental stewardship, and to build better relationships between community members and researchers. The participants include Elders, local guides and coordinators, youth and researchers who work together to train lnuit youth in environmental data collection.
The NUNAMI SUKUIJAINIQ science camps are a place for communities and researchers to learn from each other and to do locally relevant collaborative research. We aim to inspire and support other Indigenous communities who want to start their own programs based on northern-led community engagement and researchers’ commitment to studying local environmental issues and having fun together!
Nunami Sukuijainiq Program Objectives
Kangiqsualujjuamiut are running a participatory and community-based research program called Imalirijiit in collaboration with a group of researchers from Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Université Laval and Université de Montréal since 2016. The purpose of this original project is to monitor the water quality of the George River, and foster environmental stewardship of its watershed, prior to the exploitation of a planned rare earth elements mining project in its upper portion. This project is centered around science land camps that became very popular in the community. Motivated by the success of the science land camps, the Kangisualujjuaq Youth Committee decided to apply to the Arctic Inspiration Prize in 2018 to create a series of land camps with diverse scientific activities under the Arctic Ecology umbrella to nurture youth interest in science. The idea was to create multi-communities camps, acting as sharing platforms for community members and researchers to learn from each other by doing locally relevant research TOGETHER.