A northern moment: Minister Vandal chats with community members in Arviat about the Young Hunters Program (video)
Text on screen: Nunavut Virtual Tour
Text on screen: In Arviat, Nunavut, the Harvesters Support Grant program and the Young Hunters Program are coming together to build climate resilience, improve food security and increase community wellness and connection.
Hon. Dan Vandal: The Young Hunters Program is an excellent example of power that comes from involving young people and traditional ways of living. I think by learning from Elders and becoming masters and sustainable harvesting and environmental monitoring, you become leaders of your community, not only of tomorrow but of today.
Text on screen: An open discussion with Minister of Northern Affairs Dan Vandal on community-led harvesting programs supporting Inuit across Nunavut beginning with the Young Hunters Program.
Kukik Baker, Aqqiumavvik Society Executive Director: We started out as a food security program where we wanted to have activities for youth, but also country food, traditional food, peoples diets.
Text on screen: Young Hunters Program has 4 to 5 intakes a year of 10 youth each time.
Kukik Baker: We started the Young Hunters Program in 2012 as a food security project where we were taking kids on the land to teach them traditional hunting practices and Inuit values and beliefs around environmental stewardship. Over the years we've added monitoring aspects, where they're learning how to monitor the different animals and the environment around them.
Keenan "Nooks" Lindell, Ujjiqsuiniq Coordinator: It's a 8 to 10 week program where we teach kids about hunting techniques but also the values, the Inuit values behind hunting techniques in our culture. It's a really great program. I wish it was around when I was younger. And, I believe the kids get a lot out of it. They get a lot of great life skills and mainly those values that they'll continue to use for the rest of their lives along with the skills.
Hon. Dan Vandal: Can you describe to me how your program operates, how it runs?
Keenan "Nooks" Lindell: Every time I wake up in the morning the first thing I do is the weather. Really it's the weather that determines what we're going to do. Main things we're trying to teach the youth, not just the skills to be a hunter but all the values behind it. Also, the camaraderie and everybody kind of learning together. On Monday, we did our first boating trip and Rayn Copeland caught his first beluga whale.
Joe Karetak, IQ Coordinator and Elder, Government of Nunavut: It's traditional for Inuit people that when a person gets their first whale per se, you have to distribute it to everybody. It will help you be a more successful hunter.
Hon. Dan Vandal: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your program?
Kukik Baker: We changed the size of the groups so that we had fewer participants with the instructor and all doing different things, like there would be some people in the shop, some people on the land and some people in the classroom learning.
Text on screen: COVID-19 has resulted in a greater abundance of wildlife.
Joe Karetak: The weather is warmer than it has been in the last 20 something years. So all the animals are, there's way more animals, there's lots of fish, lots of whales, caribou.
Hon. Dan Vandal: So what you're saying is because of COVID-19, it's cleaned up certain things in your area?
Kukik Baker: Ya, I said the longer we stay home, the healthier our land gets. We know the polar bear should not be the poster child for climate change. The polar bear is the poster child for adaptation because they are very adaptable animals, and no matter what's happening around us, they're going to find a way to survive and so will we.
Hon. Dan Vandal: As soon as we get on the other side of COVID, I would love to come up to Arviat and to Baker Lake and to Rankin Inlet and visit your territory and see the work, the great work you're doing on the ground, and I commend you for your excellence.
Text on screen: Thank you to our participants:
Young Hunters Program from Arviat, Nunavut
Joe Karetak, IQ Coordinator and Elder
Liam Arloo, program participant
Wyatt Suluk, program participant
Keenan "Nooks" Lindell, Ujjiqsuiniq Coordinator
Kukik Baker, Executive Director
Text on screen: Video Courtesy of the Movember Foundation