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North By North #InclusionNorthernResearch

A proposal to explore transforming the Inclusion in Northern Research Session for ArcticNet’s Arctic Change 2020 Conference to an Inuit-led collaborative cross-cultural and intersectional research initiative.

Project Description:

The Northern research community is diverse: it includes both Northerners and Southerners, Inuit and non-Indigenous. It involves elders, scientists from communities, from the government and from academia as well as stakeholders and knowledge-holders from all around the circumpolar North.

This document is intended to provide as much information as possible given current time constraints and deadlines.

This project has already started with financial and in-kind support from ArcticNet, the Centre for Northern Studies and the Arctic Buying Company.

Northern and Urban Inuit and Indigenous youth researchers and artists frequently gather at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. In Phase 2, teams hope to meet and gather again once it is safe to do so.
Inuit youth from the Inclusion in Northern Research project co-hosed an international session about dignity and inclusion to students at more than 100 locations around the world for Global Dignity Day 2020.
Inuit youth from the Inclusion in Northern Research project co-hosed an international session about dignity and inclusion to students at more than 100 locations around the world for Global Dignity Day 2020.

Many different journeys and opportunities led our members to where they are now, contributing to the richness of our community. However, individuals involved in Northern research have also overcome many barriers along the roads they took to become involved in science. Our community faces many systemic hurdles that we cannot ignore: among these are (but not limited to) the historical use of science as a tool for colonialism and the lack of diversity within academia.

A graphic representing the many different hashtags, people organizations and subjects discussed throughout the Arctic Change 2020 Inclusion in Northern Research Phase 1 VoxPop Session (August-December 2020).
A graphic representing the many different hashtags, people organizations and subjects discussed throughout the Arctic Change 2020 Inclusion in Northern Research Phase 1 VoxPop Session (August-December 2020).

We must address these barriers and find ways to collectively lift them, to make our community inclusive to all who are involved in Northern research.

In this initiative, we hope to continue hearing from Inuit involved in research, as well as university and government researchers that are part of minority groups who have faced obstacles within our research community (BIPOC, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, newcomers).

Goals and objectives:

For the #InclusionNorthernResearch initiative, our goals were, and will continue to include:

  • Hearing the diverse voices within our community on their experiences;
  • Identifying obstacles and barriers with an intersectional approach;
  • Lifting these barriers as a community;
  • Celebrating Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for our community;
  • Doing better;
The Inclusion in Northern Research initiative also saw new conversations and relationships between the arts and research communities. The Intersection of northern arts and science.
The Inclusion in Northern Research initiative also saw new conversations and relationships between the arts and research communities.

Phase 1: Activities (August – December 2020)

Phase 1 of the Inclusion in Northern Resarch initiative is linked to ArcticNet’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) initiative. In Phase 2, this project proposes to explore opportunities to build on the contributions of Elders and youth to ArcticNet’s EDI process.

In partnership with Indigenous Youth from the Inuvialuit and Kivalliq regions, as well as the voices of urban and northern Inuit and Indigenous Elders, we are preparing short films showcasing different journeys from members of our diverse northern research community, that will be presented during the Arctic Change 2020 conference in December.

Phase 1 also saw the operationalization of an entrepreneurship incubator model, co-designed by Inuit Elders, youth and researchers from the University of Minnesota Duluth. This Inuit-led environment was established in parallel with the Inclusion in and Northern Research VoxPop project and will continue to grow in 2021 with the arrival of additional Inuit post-secondary research students.

Phase 2: Inuit Nunangat Research Program (INRP):

  • Purpose: The Inuit-led, governed and directed program, works to fund Inuit-led research and knowledge holders to engage in studies that are relevant and prioritized for Inuit Nunangat.
  • Inuit-led research strengthens the ability for communities to address knowledge gaps that matter to them and to work with southern and academic researchers as peers and colleagues.

Our proposed 2021 activites will include:

  • January 2021: Plan and co-design a second iteration of the Inclusion in Northern Research initiative including the necessary processes and activities needed to transform our original session idea, its resulting efforts into a formal project.
  • Plan for a second, improved VoxPop session for 2021.
  • Co-designing approaches for working more closely with northern Inuit and Urban Inuit, as well as southern First Nations and Metis on ArcticNet partner campuses. More information on this already ongoing activity will be available after Arctic Change 2020.

Phase 2: Northern Research Leaders Program (College-led program) linkages:

  • Purpose: The Northern Research Leaders Program focuses on building research capacity at the northern post-secondary institutions.
  • Access to accredited university education in northern regions provides opportunities for high-quality post-secondary education for Inuit students, and opportunities for northerners with PhDs to return home and develop new research programs for future generations.

Our Proposed 2021 Activities include:

  • Complete updates to the Creativity for Entrepreneurship in Arts and Research course material for online delivery and co-design a new module for inclusion in northern research.
  • This asynchronously-delivered online course and associated entrepreneurship incubator model has been co-developed by Inuit Elders and youth with support from the Arctic Buying Company, University of Minnesota Duluth and the US National Science Foundation since early 2020.
  • Explore and design opportunities for expanded online course delivery to students and research-involved youth and interested community members through Nunavut Arctic College, the Nunavut Research Institute and other community-based research projects.

Approach:

Phase 1 of the Inclusion in Northern Research initiative saw Inuit youth and Elders, Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers from a diverse range of backgrounds, connecting and communicating their conversations through the use of videoconferencing technologies.

People involved in Northern Research, from both Northern and Southern Canada, were sent links detailing our project through ArcticNet’s network, where a list of questions were presented to them.

Questions were intended to explore how respondents became interested and involved in Northern research; to discuss the impacts and importance of the roles their mentors and role models had on their journeys; and through those conversations, seek to better identify and better understand barriers to inclusion. Respondents had the option of sharing their answers by video, voice recordings and other forms of artistic media, which will be uploaded to our web site at http://arcticfamily.ca.

People who wished to respond anonymously did so by text, e-mail and video submissions. Some were read by Indigenous youth. A substantial amount of content was submitted and are being edited into short films. These short films will present a diversity of journeys in Northern research including Inuit youth from the Arviat Film Society, Inuit Elders from Arviat, urban Inuit and Indigenous youth voices as well as other Indigenous and non-indigenous, academic and non-academic voices from across the circumpolar world.

Northerners who shared their story were offered financial compensation of 50$, sent electronically via the Arctic Buying Company, a Nunavut Inuit-owned firm with offices in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut and Winnipeg, Manitoba.

We also recognized opening up and sharing on some personal journeys may be emotionally difficult. Our team put together a list of support resources from across Canada here, and aims to add to and improve the content provided on this resource page as the project grows.

These short films will be presented during the Arctic Change 2020 conference, which is happening entirely online. Videos will be available through ArcticNet’s website. These films will be used to guide ArcticNet in establishing EDI guidelines and recommendations, to lift barriers within our community.

Phase 1 of this project is not research and will not result in any scientific analysis or publication: our goal is to amplify voices and find ways to do better as a community. 

Phase 2 of this project, set to begin in January 2021 will see the initiative continue to explore the many diverse conversations, discussions and issues raised by Phase 1 participants and contributors, however this time the project will be adjusted to become a full research initiative.

Project Locations:

network visualization: graph of Inclusion in Northern Research; ArcticNet Arctic Change 2020 Engagement Graph
From August to December 2020, the Inclusion in Northern Research session for Arctic Change saw hundreds of interlocking stories, connections and tangible examples of inclusion from all over the world.

Phase 1 Locations: August 2020-December 2020

  • Rankin Inlet, Nunavut;
  • Arviat, Nunavut;
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba;
  • Ottawa, Ontario;
  • Montreal, Quebec;
  • Virtually, on our web site at http://arcticfamily.ca with additional content hosted on isuma.tv

Phase 2 Locations: December 2020 – December 2021

  • Rankin Inlet, Nunavut;
  • Arviat, Nunavut;
  • Iqaluit, Nunavut;
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba;
  • Churchill, Manitoba;
  • Ottawa, Ontario;
  • Montreal, Quebec;
  • Virtually, on our web site at http://arcticfamily.ca with additional content hosted on isuma.tv

Project Leadership and Structures

The proposed Phase 2: North by North component of the Inclusion in Northern Research Initiative will be led by Inuit Elder Atuat Tootoo. She is the founder and President of the Arctic Buying Company, a Nunavut Inuit-owned Arctic Shipping, Logistics and Consulting company based in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut with offices in Winnipeg.

A long time student counsellor and residence manager for Nunavut Arctic College, Tootoo has worked with ArcticNet-funded researchers for several years in her community of Rankin Inlet. She is a recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and in 2015 was awarded the Polar Medal.

Rankin Inlet Inuit Elders Atuat Tootoo, Poisey Alogut and Nellie Kusugak have been instrumentation in shaping the first phase of the Inclusion in Northern Research initiative.

Proposed Inuit Project Leads:

  • Dorothy Atuat Tootoo, CD
  • One Post-Secondary student from the, University of Manitoba;

Proposed Inuit Youth Co-Leads

  • Two Inuit youth from the Inuit research community;

Proposed Inuit Elder Advisors:

Three Inuit Elders have been guiding the Inclusion in Northern Research Initiative through its initial phase.

The 2020-2021 Inuit Elders advising, co-leading and shaping the first and second phase of this initiative are:

  • Dorothy Tootoo, Rankin Inlet, Nunavut;
  • Two additional Elders will join the project from Rankin Inlet.

Additional Inuit Elders and youth will be invited to participate in the second phase of this project.

Phase 1 and 2 Academic and ArcticNet Research Advisors:

A number of diverse individuals were instrumental in shaping the Inclusion in Northern Research project from its initial proposal as a simple session for Arctic Change 2020 through to its present form.

  • Mary Ellen Thomas, Nunavut Research Institute;
  • Dr. Emily Choy, PhD, McGill University;
  • Dr. Marie-José Naud, PhD, Centre d’études nordiques, Université du Québec à Rimouski;
  • Dr. Catherine Girard, PhD, Centre d’études nordiques, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi;
  • Paul Sokoloff, MA, Centre for Arctic Knowledge and Exploration, Canadian Museum of Nature;
  • Dr. Olaf Kuhlke, PhD, University of Minnesota Duluth.

Supporting Organizations:

The Inclusion in Northern Research initiative for Arctic Change 2020 (Phase 1) and our ongoing work planned for Phase 2 (January – December 2021) would not exist without the financial and in-kind support of ArcticNet, Université laval, the Centre for Northern Studies and the Arctic Buying Company.

We also acknowledge the support of the University of Minnesota Duluth and the US National Science Foundation.

Next Steps:

Dec. 8-10, 2020: Present the Phase 1 Inclusion in Northern Research Vox Pop Sessions for ArcticNet’s Arctic Change 2020 Conference.

January 2021: Plan and co-design a second iteration of the Inclusion in Northern Research initiative including the necessary processes and activities needed to establish a formal project.

For more information on this initiative, please contact, Atuat Tootoo at @dottootoo@gmail.com