Empowering Inuit youthBy Arviat Film Society
Arviat is a youth-led non-profit TV and radio broadcaster and website in one of the world’s most remote and least connected communities: the Nunavut region of the high-western Arctic.
The Inuit community here lived through one of the fastest transitions to modernity of any indigenous group ever recorded: moving from a culture of hunting and living in tents and igloos to permanently settled life with few economic prospects, in the space of a decade. The psychological, cultural and social impact has been profound: Nunavut has some of the highest youth suicide rates in the world, and sky-high truancy rates, of 50%.
Arviat TV, which grew out of a film society Inuit elders set up as a way to share their culture and history with younger generations, launched less than a year ago and has grown from five participants to 30, from age 13 to 66. By creating content about their culture and social history, including that devastating leap to modernity in the sixties, the young people learn about, and how to take pride in, their past.
The project also raises their academic, professional and creative aspirations: inspiring them to finish their education, and imagine previously unthinkable careers in media, film, technology or research. Anoee Jnr said, who works as a media coordinator for the Government of Nunavut’s education department. “They don’t often see these roles in their own community.” "We’re hoping to open their eyes to the possibility of doing these kinds of things,” said another of the elders.
So as well as playing a vital role in investigating, and conserving the difficult history and forgotten culture of the past generations of Inuits, the project builds hope and opportunities for the next generation.
Arviat TV is backed by Isuma TV, Canada Media Fund and Arctic Cooperatives.
Image 'Visite du Nunavut' courtesy of US Embassy Canada
Last updated: 25th of July, 2014