About us

NS school at 211 Rideau St

Nunavut Sivuniksavut (NS) is a silattuqsarvik (Inuktitut for "a place and time to become wise"), dedicated to providing Inuit youth with unique cultural and academic learning experiences that will allow them to develop the knowledge, skills and positive attitudes needed to contribute to the building of Nunavut.

Since 1985, it has been affiliated with Algonquin College in Ottawa, through an innovative arrangement that allows NS to remain independent while at the same time providing for formal accreditation. Graduates of the program are enrolled as Algonquin students, receive Algonquin College certificates, and NS staff are college employees.

On February 12, 2014, NS' Inuit Studies program received post-secondary recognition from the Ontario government's Credential Validation Service.
NS' Approved Program Sequence (APS) number is ALGO 04014

Accomplishments

Since 1985 our Ottawa-based college program has been achieving remarkable success in helping Inuit youth make the transition from high school into the workforce and/or further post-secondary education. What are the indicators of this success?

  • The program's retention rates are in the 80-85% range, far higher than the typical rate for youth coming south for post-secondary education.
  • Students demonstrate a dramatic increase in pride in their cultural identity, confidence in themselves as individuals, and enthusiasm for contributing to the future of their territory or region. 
  • A survey of 214 graduates showed that virtually all had returned to their community or region. 
  • Demand for entry into the program is consistently greater than the number of places available. 
  • In 2006, NS was presented with a national award for innovation and effectiveness in the area of aboriginal learning by the Canadian Council of Learning 
  • In 2008, NS was named one of Canada's "Top 10 Social Change Organizations" by the Tides Canada Foundation.
  • NS initially obtained post-secondary recognition through Confederation College in Thunder Bay.
Board of Directors at NS

NS is governed by a Board of Directors, elected for four-year terms. Students also elect a representative to sit on the Board each year.

The current members of the Board are as follows:

Jesse Unapik Mike (Chair)
Jesse Unaapik Mike (Chair)
Pujjuut Kusugak (Vice-Chair)
Pujjuut Kusugak (Vice-Chair)
Christy Sinclair (Secretary-Treasurer)
Christy Sinclair (Secretary-Treasurer)
Maatalii Okalik
Maatalii Okalik
Krista Zawadski
Krista Zawadski
Isaiah McKeown-Philip 2016-2017 Student Rep
Isaiah McKeown-Philip 2016-2017 Student Rep

 

 
Pam Gross
Pam Gross

 

History of Nunavut Sivuniksavut

The NS program began at a time when Inuit were negotiating their land claims in what was then the Northwest Territories. These negotiations spanned almost two decades prior to the signing of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA) in 1993. It was this agreement which also committed the government to creating the Nunavut territory in 1999.

Our original purpose was to train fieldworkers who could return to their communities to keep people informed about progress in the land claims negotiations. Over time, it evolved into a much broader educational experience, in response to the expressed needs of the young Inuit who attended. The initial program was simply called the "TFN Training Program," but in the second year, students recommended that its name be changed to "Nunavut Sivuniksavut" (Our land is our future).

The program began with two instructors and an enrolment of 10 students. Intake gradually increased over the years to the point where, in 2015, a total of 54 students were accepted into the program. Staff has similarly increased to six full-time instructors, one full-time social worker, plus several, part-time lecturers and support workers. 

Staff at NS

Morley Hanson

Morley Hanson
Morley Hanson

Although not by design, Morley's career has focused almost exclusively on education for youth in cross-cultural and Indigenous communities; with experience ranging from Katimavik, to Wilderness Challenge, to public school teaching in northern Saskatchewan, before joining NS in 1988. While at NS, Morley completed a Master's Degree in Arts, with research focusing on the impact of the NS experience on the students' identity. In 2007 and 2013 he took year-long sabbaticals from NS to volunteer at the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Rwanda, where he worked on the development of Genocide and Peace Education Programming. In 2014 Morley was appointed to the Order of Canada.


Martha Kyak

Martha Kyak
Martha Kyak

Martha Kyak is originally from Pond Inlet, Nunavut but now lives in Ottawa, Ontario. She has been actively involved in Nunavut education for many years and is currently teaching at Nunavut Sivuniksaut. She has a worked as a classroom teacher, as a Principal at Ulaajuk School in Pond Inlet, as a Superintendent of Schools at Qikiqtani School Operations, and also as Manager of Teaching and Learning Centre for Nunavut. She holds a B.Ed. degree from McGill University.


Melissa Irwin

Melissa Irwin
Melissa Irwin

Melissa Irwin is an Instructor with the Contemporary Issues course at Nunavut Sivuniksavut. Raised in Chesterfield Inlet, Nunavut, she completed high school in Rankin Inlet, which became her home for the next 15 years. Her professional experience includes working in the print, radio & television media, with local grassroots organizations (employment & education), at Nunavut's land claims organization (harvester support), with the territorial government (health), and in communications with Canada's national Inuit organization. A mother of two, and NS alumni herself (pre-Nunavut days!), Melissa brings personal understanding and professional comprehension to the NS Program.


Dan Guay

Dan Guay
Dan Guay

Dan originally came to the North in 2000, where he was the lifeguard for Rankin Inlet`s pool, and Coordinator of the Pulaarvik Kablu Friendship Center`s Youth Outreach Program (2000-2004). Subsequently, he became a high school teacher in Igloolik, and taught social studies, English, and other courses (2007-2012). Here, he was also active in creating several new initiatives, such as a successful metalwork and carving program. He was also involved with the GN Department of Education to develop made in Nunavut curriculum. 

Dan also brings a diverse range of other experiences to the position. He has worked as a personal trainer to athletes (2002-2006), and coordinated exchange trips for the Northern Youth Abroad Program and other organizations (2004-2006). Dan holds a B. Arts from Carleton, and a BEd from the University of Ottawa. He is fluent in English, French, and Spanish, with some Inuktitut. He is also an amateur musician. 

Dan came to NS in 2012, and has since taught land claims, contemporary issues, English, and computers. He also coordinates the tutoring and music programs.


Samantha Mitchell

Samantha Mitchell
Samantha Mitchell

Samantha Mitchell    Samantha Mitchell is the 2nd Year Coordinator and Research Methods Instructor. Sam is passionate about active learning and is always looking for new ways to make the classroom fun and engaging for her students. When Sam is not in the classroom, you can find her beading, sewing, cooking, or gardening.


Robyn Mo-Lian

Robyn Mo-Lian
Robyn Mo-Lian

Robyn Mo-Lian is the Social Worker at Nunavut Sivuniksavut. She graduated from the Carleton School of Social Work. Her previous work experience includes working with other NGO's around Ottawa, working with newcomers and refugees, as well as working with Inuit.


Larissa MacDonald

Larissa MacDonald
Larissa MacDonald

Larissa MacDonald has recently joined the Nunavut Sivuniksavut team. She is currently teaching English, coordinating the Inuit Studies program and guiding students in PASS class. Larissa and her family lived in Igloolik for eight years where she taught at the local high school. Larissa thinks fondly of Igloolik and misses friends, as well as getting out on the land. Larissa has written several children's stories for Inhabit Media which have been translated into Inuktitut and used in the levelled reading program. Larissa is very passionate about educating Inuit youth, and is thrilled to be part of the NS community.