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From Settlement to Self-Determination: Towards an Anthropology of Education in Nunavut

  • Author / Creator
    Ertman, Selina
  • Self-determination is a core concept framing the historical and ongoing efforts of Inuit in Nunavut seeking to align the territory’s social and political institutions with Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ), or Inuit ways of knowing, being and doing. Educational self-determination represents an important and urgent aspect of these efforts, especially in the context of colonial education policies and practices which have deeply affected generations of Inuit. In 2008, the Nunavut territorial government set out to be the first provincial or territorial jurisdiction in Canada to implement an Indigenous-led vision for education when it passed the Nunavut Education Act. However, the mandates outlined in this act have yet to be fulfilled, prompting organizations such as the Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI), the legal representative of
    Inuit in Nunavut, to take recent action in an effort to advance Inuit control of education. In 2020, for instance, the NTI initiated a lawsuit against the Government of Nunavut based on cultural
    and linguistic discrimination of Inuit in the education sector.
    This thesis constitutes an anthropological study of self-determination and education in Nunavut from a historical and contemporary perspective. I incorporate a holistic framework and qualitative research methods including semi-structured interviews and archival analysis to address the following questions: 1) How has self-determination historically underpinned narratives about education in Nunavut? 2) How is self-determination part of ongoing discussions and initiatives regarding education in Nunavut? This research aims to increase scholarly understandings and public awareness of education and self-determination in Nunavut while highlighting Inuit perspectives. Fostering this understanding and awareness is crucial given that education and self-determination in Nunavut will only continue to be a site of evolving and complex negotiation, exploration, and tension in future years.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2023
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-95d9-f679
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.