Nunavut Sivuniksavut is characterized as a silattuqsarvik (‘a place and time to become wise’ in Inuktut). At NS we are dedicated to providing Inuit youth with the best possible post-secondary academic and cultural learning experiences. Throughout the length of our program, students participate in activities designed to support the development of a vital set of knowledge, skills, and positive attitudes that will allow them to successfully contribute to the world as young adults.
Caring and Respectful Relationships
At NS, we believe that effective education relies on the development of positive relationships between all participants. Knowing students as individuals and getting to understand their personal stories, their strengths, their goals, and their aspirations allows us to support them through the challenges of the NS experience. These positive, caring relationships are the heart of the NS experience.
Responsiveness to Needs
Although the demands of our program require challenging psychological, academic, and lifestyle adaptations, NS strives to provide the support students need to succeed. We are dedicated to putting students first by always taking their individual needs, personal background, unique strengths, goals, and aspirations into account.
We pride ourselves on offering academic content that is relevant to students’ own collective experience and reality. We continually refine our programs, courses, and activities in ways that integrate, respect, and celebrate Inuit culture, values, knowledge, and historical experience.
Collaboration, Flexibility, and Innovation
At NS, we have created a work environment where staff and students are encouraged to work collaboratively. Our environment fosters a safe space for collaboration, flexibility, and innovation—we look forward to seeing students’ ideas become reality.
Board of Directors
As a not-for-profit charitable organization, NS is governed by a Board of Directors—many of whom are former NS graduates.
History of NS
Our program began in 1985, at a time when Inuit of the eastern Northwest Territories were negotiating their land claims with the Government of Canada. These negotiations spanned almost two decades prior to the signing of the Nunavut Agreement (NA) in 1993. It was this Agreement which also committed the government to creating the Nunavut territory in 1999.
Established by the Inuit negotiating body, the Tungavik Federation of Nunavut, our original purpose was to train fieldworkers who could then return to their communities to both spread and collect information about the land claims negotiations. Over time, the NS program evolved into a more comprehensive educational experience, in part due to the overwhelming positive response 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" or “Our land is our future.”
Our program humbly began with two instructors and an enrollment of ten students. As financial resources allowed, our intake rates gradually increased to the point where we were able to accept a total of 54 students into our program in 2015. This also allowed us to increase our complement of staff, permitting us to offer a broader range of programming activities.
At its core, NS is founded upon the desire to help students learn about the world they’re stepping into as young adults (Nunavut)—how it came to be, and their own place in it.
Students enrolled at NS embark on a life-changing journey of self-discovery and personal development. They leave the program with a greatly enhanced sense of pride in their Inuit identity, a newfound confidence in their ability to pursue their dreams, and a passion for contributing to Nunavut’s future.
Over the years, NS has achieved this success through innovative and experiential programming that includes:
- A unique ‘Inuit-focused’ post-secondary curriculum, designed and taught from the position that the Inuit point of view matters, and delivered with passion and attention to each individual student.
- A supported independent living experience wherein students are encouraged to develop self-management skills and a strong sense of autonomy.
- An exposure to various cultural learning experiences that reinforce students’ personal identity and allow students to develop valuable cultural skills.
- An opportunity for students to become ambassadors for Inuit culture and Nunavut, while helping create a positive awareness of Inuit society in Canada and abroad.
Today, NS offers two Certificate programs: Inuit Studies, and Advanced Inuit Studies. Each is accredited through Algonquin College, but delivered by NS instructors at NS’ own facility in downtown Ottawa.
Lynn Kilabuk joined NS in 2021 as the Executive Director. Lynn has had a long career in leadership, management and administration in several Inuit organizations, notably Larga Baffin, Qikiqtaaluk Corporation, the NCC Investment Group, Kakivak Association and Qikiqtani Inuit Association. She has a Business Administration Diploma in Accounting from St. Lawrence College.
Martha Kyak has been actively involved in Nunavut education for many years. Before joining NS in 2010 Martha had worked as a classroom teacher, as a Principal at Ulaajuk School in Pond Inlet, as Superintendent of Schools at Qikiqtni School Operations, as well as the Manager of the Teaching and Learning Centre. She holds a Bachelor of Education degree from McGill University. At NS Martha focuses on teaching Inuktut, Inuit History, and Cultural Education.
Dan Guay’s involvement with Inuit education has involved a diverse range of experiences, included coordinating Youth Outreach at the Pulaarvik Kablu Friendship Centre and coordinating international exchange trips for Northern Youth Abroad. Prior to joining NS in 2012 Dan taught high school in Igloolik where he was involved in the development of curriculum and many new program initiatives. Dan holds a Bachelor of Arts from Carleton and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Ottawa. Dan teaches the courses Land Claims and Inuit-Government Relations and he also coordinates the music and shop programs.
Samantha Mitchell joined the NS team in 2013 to develop the new role of coordinating the Year 2 Advanced Inuit Studies program. Samantha recently completed a Master of Education at the University of Ottawa and brings many new active learning and engaging innovations to her delivery of Year 2 courses in Research Methods and Circumpolar Studies. While she enjoys beading, sewing, cooking, and gardening, Sam’s main focus outside NS is on her new son and family.
Robyn Mo-Lian completed an internship at NS as a requirement for her Social Work degree and then promptly joined NS in 2013 to develop a comprehensive role for student support; a role that includes individual counseling, supporting families for child-care and schooling, coordinating and maintaining housing, arranging individual academic support, and organizing extra-curricular student activities. Robyn also assists the Cultural Studies program, guiding performing practice and art workshops. Robyn recently completed a Masters of Social Work degree from Carleton University.
Larissa MacDonald’s teaching path began in an outdoor education setting. Her career continued with Inuit youth and has included many years of teaching in Igloolik, NU. She has written many children’s stories for Inhabit Media; which have been translated into Inuktut and used in Nunavut schools. She has an undergraduate degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies and a Bachelor’s of Education degree in Outdoor and Experiential Education. Larissa joined the NS team in 2015, where she teaches in both 1st year Contemporary Issues and in 2nd year Circumpolar Studies. Larissa also coordinates the Cultural Outreach program and manages the annual public performance of the NS Play, a dramatization of the Inuit story in Canada.
Zorga Qaunaq is originally from Igloolik, Nunavut but has lived in Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, and Iqaluit. Her affiliation with NS began in 2014 as a tutor while studying Indigenous Studies at the University of Ottawa. Zorga joined the NS team full-time in 2017 focusing on office/financial administration and student support. Her current role involves facilitating delivery of both the 2nd year program and the Inuktut language classes and she’s our “go to” person for video making workshops
- Meeka Kakudluk, Inuktut
- Kim Hedges, English
- Lyn Williams-Keeler, Counsellor
- Jaya Bordeleau-Cass, On-line learning facilitator
- Aliqa Illauq, On-line learning facilitator
- Alex Angnaluak, Artist in Residence
- David Erkloo, Cultural Studies, tool making
- Asenath Kannutaq, Cultural Studies, sewing
- Greg Brown, Cultural Studies, music
- Charlotte Lee, financial administration
“NS was such a great opportunity. I’ve learned so much. One of the greatest decisions I’ve made. Amazing things are constantly happening here.”