AKUNNINGANIINNIQ: INUIT VISIONS OF SUCCESS AND THE ROLE OF INUIT KNOWLEDGE AND LANGUAGE
Morrison, Andrew D 1986-
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This master’s thesis explores how former Inuit high school students conceptualize success by exploring the role of the formal education system and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, and Inuktitut language in shaping this understanding. Using an Indigenist conversational methodology guided by the writings of Margaret Kovach (2009) and Shawn Wilson (2001, 2008), this thesis explores how 5 former Inuit high school students in Nunavut define notions of success . Upon completing the data gathering stage through individual interviews and a focus group of five participants , I moved to analyze the data using the Inuit Holistic Lifelong Learning Model set out by the Canada Council of Learning. This model allowed me to explore how participants viewed definitions of success. The labour market outcomes involving graduation from high school have prevailed over Inuit notions of success . Euro-Canadian epistemologies have held a dominant position of power within formal schooling noting success as defined by jobs and material gains while Inuit learning and success are broader in scope. Participants in the study spoke to the critical role being and living as Inuit continues to have in their lives, identities, and their concepts of success . Participants expressed their vision of education engaging with a formal education system that struck a complex balance between Inuit knowledge and skills with Eurocentric knowledge and skills . A fundamental part of striking this balance was critically analyzing, understating, and moving to dismantle the dominant position of power held by Eurocentrism in the Nunavut education system. Based on the participant expressions, I developed the Akunninganiinniq Model of Success as a recommended policy practice in the Northern schools. This model calls for the critical analysis of the dominant position Eurocentrism continues to hold in the shaping of formal education in Nunavut, a fully bilingual education system, and increased presence of Inuit educators within formal settings . In realizing the Akunninganiinniq Model of Education the potential exists to provide Inuit students with an education that allows them to honour their ancestral cultural values, while providing them with every opportunity to exceed within the contexts of modern Inuit communities. By centering the voices and experience of Inuit students, this research provides a developing understanding of the ways that Inuit youth negotiate tensions surrounding their education . Its primary objective , then, is to illuminate the perspectives of those who are most deeply impacted by dominant definitions of success – Inuit themselves.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
CommitteeBalzer, Geraldine; Miller , Dianne; Tompkins, Joanne
Copyright DateAugust 2017
Inuit Education Success