Arviat Workshop Summary

Workshop summary by: Natalie Carter, Alexandra Oakes, and Gita Ljubicic
Arviat, Nunavut (October 15-22, 2021)

In October 2021, 18 Local Research Coordinators (LRCs), project collaborators, Elder mentors, young hunters, and university researchers gathered in Arviat for a 4-day collaborative analysis workshop. Together, we reviewed and discussed the preliminary survey results from 5 communities where questionnaires were completed as part of our ArcticNet WWIC project, including: Arviat, Gjoa Haven, Iqaluit, Pond Inlet, and Sanikiluaq.

From left to right [Back Row]: Lucas Owlijoot, Peter Aliktiluk, Aupaa Irkok, Natalie Carter, Kyle Kablutsiak, Natasha Simonee, Jason Carpenter, William Aglukkaq, Julia Mickiyuk, Joe Karetak

From left to right [Front Row]: Abraham Kublu, Andrew Muckpah, Jayko Alooloo, Andrew Panigoniak, Alexandra Oakes, Ivan Koonoo, Andrew Arreak, Kukik Baker, Gita Ljubicic

Time on the Land

We started our time together as a Project Team with a weekend at Tingmiatalik to reconnect, with some LRCs and team members meeting for the first time. Tingmiatalik is a destination for fishing and hunting a few hours drive (by truck or ATV) outside Arviat, where many family cabins can be found along the shoreline in the area. Time on the land was spent building relationships, caribou hunting, cooking fish with moss, talking about research experiences, learning about Inuit Qaujimajatuaqangit principles, and sharing stories and meals. For many team members this was the highlight of their visit.

Collaborative Analysis Workshop

Back in Arviat, each of the four days of meetings was opened by an Elder who spoke on a topic of their choice. We began with LRCs discussing their survey experiences and goals/vision for collaborative analysis. Then LRCs worked in small groups to review survey results from their home community, and to compare their results with other communities. Surprising, interesting, and confusing results were presented to the whole group, and discussed as to how best highlight or clarify these results in a final report.  We also had important discussions surrounding: 1) participant recruitment and improving “the hook” to get people interested (i.e. let them know survey results will lead to safer travel for young people); 2) survey translation; 3) participants and LRC payment; 4) ways of sharing results; and, 5) next steps in the project. 

Later in the week, LRCs, Elders, and young hunters identified and ranked key messages to share with service providers (i.e. what they want service providers to understand or work on), and planned and recorded videos about 8 key messages.  LRCs also shared about: 1) why they wanted to be part of the project; 2) why it is important to understand how community members use environmental information to make safe travel decisions; and, 3) what they learned through survey responses about how community members make safe travel decisions.

Discussing Local Research Coordinator (LRC) Experiences

LRCs play a unique role in the Project Team, and it was important to find time during the week for LRCs to reflect on the process of working together in this ArcticNet project (without project leads present). All LRCs work in their home communities to recruit participants and conduct surveys, while some also participated in project proposal and survey development. Between collaborative results analysis sessions, MA student Alexandra Oakes facilitated discussions with LRCs where they could reflect with one another on their experiences in the project. This included LRC perspectives on project development, training, and what it was like conducting surveys in their home communities. This proved to be a valuable time for LRCs to learn from each other about their shared experiences, including challenges they have faced and successes they have had in their roles. At the end of the week LRCs also discussed the collaborative results analysis workshop itself, including what they thought went well and suggestions they have for future improvements. These LRC conversations will help the Project Team as a whole to improve and evolve in our work together as the project moves forward.

Matna

Thank you to Kukik Baker and her family, Joe Karetak, and the Aqqiumavvik Society’s Young Hunters who generously welcomed and hosted the Project Team while in Tingmiatalik and in Arviat.  Thank you to Abraham Kublu for help with communications as he interpreted between English and Inuktitut throughout the workshop.  Thanks to Katimavik Suites and Beach House for a great meeting venue and accommodations, as well as to the Nunavut Research Institute for use of their bunkhouse. A delicious potluck dinner was a wonderful way to conclude our week together. 

Thanks to all in the Project Team for dedicating your time, and sharing your stories and insights, to make this project so enjoyable, and the outcomes meaningful.

Photos: Arviat Young Hunters, Gita Ljubicic, Ivan Koonoo, Natasha Simonee, Natalie Carter

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