Inuit culture is rooted in a deep appreciation for the land. Over time, Inuit have developed many specialized, land-based skills for traveling, hunting, fishing, and living in the beautiful, frozen land and waters of Nunavut. While Inuit now live in permanent communities and Inuit identity is not limited to land-based knowledge and skill, for many, the land continues to play a central role in their lives. Often, the land is a place of comfort and familiarity, a place where people can continue to practice the skills and knowledge that have been handed down across generations. Many Clyde River residents tell us that they feel safer and more open to talking about issues and challenges when out on the land. Because of this, Ilisaqsivik runs many land-based programs that support Clyde River residents in continuing their relationship with the land, land-based skills and knowledge, and with one another.
Summer Healing and Cultural Retreats – Ilisaqsivik holds several multi-day land-based healing and cultural retreats throughout the year to promote intergenerational healing from past traumas associated with settlement and rapid socio-cultural change. The retreats also offer the chance for families, elders, and children to form strong bonds on the land while sharing skills and knowledge. In addition to offering workshops and teaching land-based skills, retreats provide time for relaxation and laughter while enjoying the beautiful land and environment that surrounds Clyde River.
Qimmivut (Our Dogs) – The Qimmivut workshop introduces Clyde River youth and young adults to dog teaming through land-based hunting and camping trips facilitated by experienced mushers, hunters, and Elders. Musher instructors are paired with youth apprentices for several expeditions to traditional camps of historical and cultural importance. Participants learn new skills and develop mentorship relationships with respected hunters and Elders.
Country Foods – Ilisaqsivik recognizes the importance of country foods for nutrition, identity, wellness, and community building. We hire hunters throughout the year to harvest country foods, which we serve in our programs for new and expecting mothers, children, and elders. We also provide country foods for community feasts and celebrations. Many of our land-based programs, such as our Ataata-Irniq program, incorporate the transmission of hunting skills to younger generations.
Youth Justice – Facilitated by Ilisaqsivik’s Community Justice Committee, our Youth Justice program takes at risk youth and youth that have been referred by the RCMP or the Nunavut Court on the land to teach them traditional skills and provide counseling and mentorship.
Men’s Group and Father/Son Program – Inuit men of Nunavut have seen their community and family roles change significantly in the recent past. Ilisaqsivik runs several programs to support male youth, adults, and elders in their efforts to build meaningful lives and relationships in the context of change. Land based activities provide a safe and empowering environment for Inuit men to share experience and knowledge and build relationships. Our Men’s Group organizes hunting and fishing trips on the land, and we also hold an annual Father/Son trip in the winter or early spring for youth and adult mentors.
Arnait (Women’s) Retreat – The Arnait retreat was held in September, 2010, as part of an ongoing research project on the changing role of women in Clyde River and the neighboring community of Qikiqtarjuaq. Women of different ages from both communities participated in the retreat, which was held at Kiglapait, a camp located approximately 40 km up the fjord from Clyde River. The purpose of the retreat was to give women the opportunity to spend time together on the land away from their everyday work and caregiving responsibilities to reflect on the impact of social and environmental changes on their lives, and to find ways to support one another in navigating these changes.