Radical Pedagogy

Radical Pedagogy (2014)

Volume 11 Issue 2

ISSN: 1524-6345




Reconciling the Role of a Qallunaat Teacher in Nunavut



Jay McKechnie

E-mail: jmckechnie@teachers.ntanu.ca



Abstract

     The development of a ‘made in Nunavut’ social studies curriculum offers a unique site of culturally relevant schooling for Inuit high school students. The Nunavut Department of Education is committed to integrating the Inuit Qaujimajatauqangit (IQ) principles into all aspects of schooling in the territory.  However, the history of colonialism continues to present challenges to fully implement these IQ principles in a way that is culturally relevant to students.   Nunavut relies heavily on Qallunaat (non-Inuit) teachers and administrators for the education system to function.  But it is expected that Inuit societal and cultural values dominate teaching practices and content in the classroom.  How can Nunavut reconcile these seemingly opposing realities? I will seek to engage how power hierarchies in Nunavut produce inequalities in the ability for Inuit to realize and secure their material, cultural, and emotional needs (Steinberg, 2012).  I will engage these complicated issues by discussing the complexity of identity in Nunavut through the lens of Stuart Hall’s work The Future of Identities.

     I am interested in the concept of reconciliation and what this means for non-Inuit educators working in Nunavut.  I am a Qallunaat (non-Inuit) social studies teacher currently teaching in Nunavut.  As a social studies teacher, I am privileged with the opportunity to engage issues of colonization on a daily basis with my students.  However, the naturalized epistemologies of Qallunaat teachers working in Nunavut schools continues to hinder Nunavut’s unique potential to resist colonial hegemony through Inuit self-government within the constructs of Canadian society.   In considering these issues, what role do Qallunaat educators play in the future of Nunavut?

      Keywords: Nunavut, reconciliation, Qallunaat, Education