Reconnecting Youth with their Heritage

Photo: Left, Troy Issaluk, Chesterfield Inlet Northern Store employee and 4-year participant of The Qajaq program. Right, Glen Brocklebank, qajaq program director and Vice President of KSEC

Youth in Nunavut are continuing to embrace important aspects of their Inuit heritage, thanks to a grant from the Healthy Horizons Foundation. The $10,000 grant was awarded to The Kivalliq Science Educators’ Community (KSEC), a non-profit organization in Chesterfield Inlet that hosts science and cultural camps that teach youth how to build and paddle traditional Inuit qajaqs (kayaks). 

“The purpose of The Qajaq Program is simple,” says Glen Brocklebank, Vice-President of KSEC. “It’s to reintroduce qajaqing to Inuit youth, something that has not been practiced in this community or region for at least a century.” 

In addition to the newfound appreciation of Inuit culture, youth learn valuable lessons about water safety, rescuing techniques for capsized qajaqs, resilience and self-confidence.

Photo: Students of The Qajaq Program in Chesterfield Inlet take in valuable qajaqing lessons from their KSEC instructor

"The grant will be used to help fund major investments in new cold water paddling gear, paddles, life-jackets and a sea-can for winter-month storage," says Brocklebank.

“This funding will go a long way to improve our programming for all students who attend the Kivalliq Science Cultural Camp in September here in Chester!”