My Inuktitut name is Kanovak. I was named after my great-grandmother on my mom's side. I was given this name by my late great uncle, Peter Apiana; Kanovak was his mom. He would always kunik me really hard when I saw him, because I was named after his mom.


I grew up in Gjoa Haven. My mom's family was from an outpost camp on the mainland between Cambridge Bay and Gjoa Haven, called Perry River. They first relocated to Camridge Bay then later moved to Gjoa Haven.

Favourite Inuit Niqini:

My favourite country food is maqtaaq. We don't get any whales in Gjoa Haven, so our maqtaaq comes from Taloyoak or Kugaaruk. It is considered a real delicacy because it is so hard to get in Gjoa Haven. I also recently gained an appreciation for uqsuq with my mipku. This spring my mom made goose butter. Goose butter is made when you boil goose meat, gather the fat floating at the top, and freeze it to harden. You can add soup mix to the boiling goose to add flavour to the goose butter.

What is your passion?

My passion and personal research right now is focused on gender studies. When I was teaching high school back home in Gjoa Haven, there were a couple male youth, who were the classmates of some of the students I taught, who died by suicide. This really piqued my interest in looking at the suicide stats and realized there was a disproportionate percentage of young male Inuit dying by suicide. I then began to look at the education and workplace stats, and realized that a lot of Inuit women were succeeding in those areas. So I began to ask why there was this huge discrepancy between young Inuit men and women. To better gain an understanding toward an answer, I began looking at colonial history of when Inuit were moved into settlements, specifically the Perry River relocation. I realized that Inuit men have been disadvantaged and displaced at a greater degree than Inuit. For example through the dog slaughters. I also realized that Inuit women, through Inuit traditional child-rearing practices, have been prepared to be more resilient to change. From colonial history to our modern context, this cycle has been more-or-less perpetuated through policy. These are just ideas and thoughts, and I would welcome discussion from anyone if they have any ideas - different or supporting.

Who is your inspiration?

My mom inspires me. She is always willing and open to share her experiences, even if some of them are hard to share. She has gone through the brunt of colonial policy, and despite this she has turned into an amazing hard-working and positive person. This really is a true testament to her strength and resiliency. As a young Inuk woman, I often feel there are constant barriers and challenges. In those moments I find myself trying to channel my mom's strength and resiliency.

Future plans/goals:

My plans right now are to focus my work at Polar Knowledge Canada with CHARS. Polar knowledge is a Canadian government department mandated to advance Canada's reputation for science and technology in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. One aspect of that is Indigenous Knowledge and research governance. I feel like all the pieces are mostly in place to make a positive contribution to reconciliation in my department and how Indigenous challenges and opportunities are approached. I want to be a part of that and do my best to ensure it happens.

Inu-vative thoughts or programs:

I want to use this space to promote an inu-vative idea. I want to promote the thought of a University in Arctic Canada, specifically in Nunavut. I have done two years of university at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and I see the positive contribution a university can have on the community - locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Canada currently is the only Arctic country with no Arctic University, and this affects our ability to determine what our Arctic looks like, to make it our own and be self-sustaining on our own people rather than depending on people and programs from the south. This is something I hope we can achieve in Nunavut in my lifetime.

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