Nunavik Sivunitsavut Course Offerings

  • Fall 2017

    1. 603-101-CL: English - Circumpolar Literature
      • There is a growing body of Inuit literature that has either been written by Inuit in English or translated from Inuktitut to English. In this course, students will investigate common themes and literary devices that appear in several different bodies of literature written by Inuit: legends, short stories, a novel, poetry, music, spoken word, and film. Much of this literature is related to the history of the Arctic and deals with historical themes: contact, colonization, and resurgence. Students will be challenged to make these connections and think critically about how the works that they study fits into the historical context. They will also be asked to analyse the literature, and produce some of their own.

    2. 345-101-MQ: Humanities – Knowledge and the History of Nunavik: Archaeology, Archives, and Oral Traditions
      • The courses will be given at the Avataq Cultural Institute, which has an impressive department of archaeology, so part of the course will focus on how students can learn or "know" about the past through the archaeological record. Avataq is also home to a wonderful archive of documents and photos, so students can investigate how they construct knowledge from archival records. Finally, Nunavik Sivunitsavut plans to have visiting elders who can provide students with oral histories, so they can consider how to formulate knowledge from stories handed down over generations. Students will also consider how these records inform, contradict, and complement each other, and ultimately build a critical perspective on how knowledge is constructed. The course will have a prehistory unit that will focus on the archaeological record. From there, the students will learn about the first contact with Europeans, from the explorers, to the fur traders, whalers, missionaries, and finally, about the government era, at which time Inuit had basically lost control over many important facets of their lives. The content will span the history of Inuit Nunangat, but will focus on Nunavik whenever possible. This will not be a history course taught from the point of view of the colonizers. Rather, it will investigate how Inuit assimilated the increasingly rapid changes into their lifestyles.

    3. 614-103-03: Aboriginal Languages: Inuktitut and Identity
      • This course will have students reflect on two important questions as they start their academic careers: “who am I (personally)?” and “who are we (Inuit)?” These questions will guide students’ exploration of their personal and cultural past to help them understand who they are today. Thus the time focus of this course is on the past and present. All topics explored will fall under five themes: language, culture and traditions, history, religion, and politics and economics. Computer labs will provide students time and space to practice their Inuktitut typing skills as well as translating skills, while field trips will offer a hands-on approach to familiarizing students to Inuit organizations in Montreal.

    4. 109-102-MQ: Physical Education – Inuit Games
      • Inuit traditional games require skills that were absolutely necessary for everyday survival in the Arctic. Some of these games have been practiced for thousands of years, while others have been developed over the course of the past few hundred years. There are regional, national and international competitions in Inuit games, such as the biennial Arctic Winter Games. Taken together, Inuit games provide a workout that test participants’ strength, agility, and endurance.

    5. 360-CEN-AB: Cultural Exploration for Nunavimmiut
      • In this course, students will be introduced to various Inuit cultural practices, focused primarily on the visual and performance arts. They will visit exhibitions, attend shows, visit Avataq’s reserve, and take part in cultural workshops. The course is designed to bolster cultural confidence in the students. In this course, the students will also take part in cultural workshops where they will learn some of the traditional performance and visual arts. These talents will then be put on display through presentations to schools, government, organizations working in Nunavik, and the general public.

    6. Inuit-Government relations and satuigiarniq*
      • This course will explore the period of satuigiarniq, of reclaiming political autonomy. In the early 1960s, leaders in the cooperative movement began to investigate new ways of organizing Inuit society. In the 1970s, Nunavik found itself at a crossroads over whether or not to sign the JBNQA, and it sparked the most important political and cultural debate of the generation. Students will study these events and how Inuit have struggled over the past half-century to stake out a place in Canada and the world. The course will also introduce the students to the major terms of the JBNQA and the organizational and governance structure that it created.
  • Winter 2018

    1. 603-102-MQ: English – Current Circumpolar Issues
      • In this course, students will be introduced to several different genres of non-fiction literature in English (memoir, documentary, news articles, etc.). The content of the course will focus on issues that are important in contemporary Nunavik and the circumpolar world (climate change, housing crisis, sustainable development, colonization, cultural resilience). Students will learn to analyze non-fiction and produce non-fiction texts.

    2. 345-102-MQ: World Views – Transcending the Traditional/Modern Dichotomy
      • What is “traditional” Inuit culture? What does the term “modern” mean? Culture and world views are not static but are always changing. The terms traditional and modern are almost always put in opposition to each other. Creating this dichotomy undermines the numerous and exciting ways in which cultural practices transcend this dichotomy. Students in this course will investigate what we think of as traditional Inuit world views, and modern westernized world views and learn to appreciate cultural continuity by looking critically at this dichotomy and the practices which transcend it. By showing youth that traditional Inuit culture is not static, but rather fluid and extremely malleable, we would like to suggest with this course that there are possibilities to bridge the generational gap between themselves and their elders, and even ancestors, and to help to show students the value of cultural continuity.

    3. 614-203-03: Aboriginal Languages – Inuktitut and Modernity
      • We foresee that this course has students reflect on two important questions: “who am I (personally) in this modern age?” and “who are we (as Inuit) in this modern age?” The questions above are the guiding principles by which students will explore the current affairs affecting their culture and the potential that their collective culture holds in a modern world. Thus the time focus of this course is on the present, and to a lesser extent, the future. Computer labs will provide students time and space to practice their Inuktitut typing skills as well as translating skills, while field trips will offer a hands-on approach to familiarizing students to organizations in Montreal associated with Inuit.

    4. 109-101-MQ: Physical Education – Traditional Skills
      • This course will be course conducted much like a John Abbott College Outdoor Education course (Phys. Ed.) that incorporates pre-camp planning and preparation, and promotes the use of traditional tools and the construction of both modern and traditional shelters. We project that it will take place over a two-week intensive period on the land near one of the communities in Nunavik. This medium will help students shine in their traditional roles not often recognized by formal education, and provide access to traditional knowledge that is not always available to them.

    5. 360-CPN-AB: Complementary – Cultural Performance for Nunavimmiut
      • The students will undertake workshops animated by Inuit cultural performers and practitioners, and create works and performances of their own. Since it is an experiential course, a large part of the course will consist of demonstrating dance, games, and celebrations to the general public. Ultimately, the goal of this course will be to celebrate the vibrancy of the culture of Nunavik Inuit, and provide the students opportunities to build cultural confidence and personal development.

    6. Contemporary Inuit-Government Relations*
      • This course will examine the different paths that aboriginal groups in Canada have taken in attempting to reclaim control over their lives since the signing of the JBNQA. They will study the JBNQA implementation process, and how Nunavik has come to be what it is today. Students will also research and compare the four major Inuit land claims as well as the terms under which the James Bay Cree signed the JBNQA. We plan to invite the signatories of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement and other land claims agreements to speak to the students, and invite experts who work at the Makivik Corporation to speak to the students about the challenges of implementing an agreement like the JBNQA.

* These courses will not count for college credit in the first school year (2017-8). However, we plan to turn them into an AEC in political leadership for the following year.