Curriculum Change in Nunavut: Towards Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit/changement Des Programmes Au Nunavut:vers L'inuit Qaujimajatuqangit

By McGregor, Heather E. | McGill Journal of Education (Online), Fall 2012 | Go to article overview

Curriculum Change in Nunavut: Towards Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit/changement Des Programmes Au Nunavut:vers L'inuit Qaujimajatuqangit


McGregor, Heather E., McGill Journal of Education (Online)


ABSTRACT. Between 1985 and the present, curriculum developers, educators and Elders in Nunavut have been working towards reconceptualization of curriculum to better meet the strengths and needs of Inuit students and to reflect, preserve, and revitalize Inuit worldview, language, and culture. This article outlines the development of the 1989 curriculum framework Piniaqtavut, the 1996 framework Inuuqatigiit: The Curriculum from the Inuit Perspective, and the 2007 foundation document Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit: Education Framework for Nunavut Curriculum. It goes on to describe the cross-curricular principles and philosophies of education in Nunavut, and identify the most important contributing factors in this system-wide curriculum change process. The intent is both to describe the approach taken in Nunavut, as well as to inform comparable work in other Indigenous contexts.

CHANGEMENT DES PROGRAMMES AU NUNAVUT: VERS L'INUIT QAUJIMAJATUQANGIT

RÉSUMÉ. Depuis 1985, des développeurs, des éducateurs et des aÎnés du Nunavut travaillent à la refonte des concepts des programmes et ce, afin de mieux répondre aux forces et besoins des élèves inuit. Ils veulent également refléter, préserver et redonner vie à la vision du monde, à la langue et à la culture inuit. Cet article explique le développement du programme d'études Piniaqtavut (1989), du programme Inuuqatigiit: Un programme d'études à partir d'une perspective inuit (1996) et du document fondateur Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit: le cadre d'éducation pour le curriculum du Nunavut (2007). Par la suite, l'auteur décrit les principes des compétences transversales et les philosophies de l'éducation au Nunavut. Elle identifie les facteurs ayant le plus contribué à ce processus de transformation des programmes dans l'ensemble du système. L'objectif est d'à la fois décrire l'approche préconisée au Nunavut et de présenter des travaux comparables, réalisés dans d'autres contextes autochtones.

Schooling in Nunavut should provide support to students in all areas of their development so that they can achieve personal goals, become well-equipped to contribute and serve their families and communities, demonstrate leadership and healthy attitudes, and be able to actively participate and contribute as Nunavut takes on new roles in the global community. (Nunavut Department of Education, 2007, p. 17)

The rich history of curriculum change in Nunavut, oriented towards delivery of education based on Inuit ways of knowing, being, doing and sense of place, is relatively unknown to educational scholars. While the call, and need, for quality curriculum and learning materials continues (Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami [ITK], 2011), there is much good work to be considered, and many foundational steps have been taken to guide the emergence of new ways of teaching and learning within the school system. Using documentary sources and historical analysis, the question I explore here is: how have Inuit and Northerners in Nunavut gone about creating a curriculum based on local perspectives and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ), which "encompasses all aspects of traditional Inuit culture, including values, world-view, language, social organization, knowledge, life skills, perceptions and expectations" (Nunavut Social Development Council, 1998, p. 1)?

Inuit are an Indigenous people, distinct from First Nations or Metis peoples, who for the most part live across the Canadian Arctic. The Inuit homeland of Nunavut was recognized by Canada in 1999 as a separate territory, in conjunction with the settlement of a land claims agreement specifying rights and benefits for Inuit residing in the region. The mechanisms of the public territorial government have been leveraged to set mandates for services, including education, that privilege Inuit language1 and culture. Self-determination is now in the implementation phase, unlike many Indigenous peoples in North America whose position in relation to their respective states remains less clear.

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