Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Dr. Marianne Larsen

2nd Supervisor

Dr. Susan Hill




Ten Inuit Elders currently living in Qamani’tuaq, Nunavut who were born and raised on the Land who then were relocated from the Land to the fixed Community of Qamani’tuaq shared some of their Learning experiences and Stories on the ways in which they acquired Inuit Knowledge. I am originally from the Community of Qamani’tuaq, and spent some of my Childhood there, but have not lived there for many years. I have extended Family members who still live in the Community.

For each of the interviews, I began with three research questions: 1) what are the customary Inuit practices of Child rearing and Teaching? 2) in what ways can customary Inuit practices of knowledge sharing be adapted and utilized today? and 3) how can customary Inuit practices of Teaching and Learning (i.e., pedagogy) support students in the current educational system? In the careful listening and reading of the Elders’ Stories I have made suggestions on my understandings at this point in time of what the Elders are sharing in the answering of the questions posed. Each reader as they approach the Stories will infer their own meaning based on each person’s own Stories and Teachings; this is the gift of Storywork: there is not one meaning or understanding of the Stories shared. The Elders shared that customary Inuit practices of Child rearing and Teaching came from experiences that the Elders, as Children Learned from their Elders of the same gender. The Elders suggested that Inuit Knowledge could be adapted to the current school systems by authentic time devoted to Inuit Youth Learning on the Land from Inuit Elders. Inuit pedagogy can be supported in the current education system by incorporating Inuit methods such as encouraging students to observe the Teacher demonstrate the Learning and then scaffold the Learning. Scaffolding Learning can be applied by the Teacher observing the student applying the Learning and kindly correcting the student. The use of encouraging comments and relationship to the Teacher is also important in the process of Inuit Learning.

The Stories for this dissertation were collected conversationally, loosely guided by using open-ended questions in locations chosen by each Elder. A copy of their Stories was provided to each of the Elders in Inuktitut prior to the submission of the dissertation and each was asked to provide comments. The significance of gathering Stories from Elders in Qamani’tuaq is to assist in preserving the memories of the Elders for future generations. Through this dissertation I was able to make some suggestions for the preservation of culture, apply new theoretical approaches and make suggestions for curriculum development by using the Stories shared with me by the Elders. This dissertation provides a format for Inuit Methodology that is supported by Elders in Qamani’tuaq that could be used by other Inuit researchers as well. I was able to bridge Indigenous theoretical and methodological approaches through the use of Storywork and applied a unique lens of Indigenous theories rooted in my own Indigenous identity as an Inuk adopted into an Anishinabe family.

Keywords: Qamani’tuaq, Elders, Baker Lake, Nunavut, Inuit, Storywork, Indigenous, education, Land, customary knowledge, school.

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