By Aleashia Echalook
Recently, an important project in Nunavik started to make noise in the news, on social media, and on the radio. Atanniuvik, Nunavik’s new research governance organization, was awarded a $500,000 Arctic Inspiration Prize in February 2023 to support Nunavik Inuit self-determination in research. Through this exciting news, many Nunavimmiut are hearing about Atanniuvik for the first time. Meaning “a place to seek permission” in Inuktitut, Atanniuvik will be the central place to seek permission from Nunavimmiut before any person or organization does research in Nunavik.
…Atanniuvik will allow Nunavik to better develop, share and manage northern research in a way that respects the values and priorities of the people, the communities, and the regional organizations’ mandates.
After years of planning, it is currently in the process of being created and benefits from the support of many Nunavik organizations – Makivvik, the Kativik Regional Government, the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, Kativik Ilisarniliriniq, the Kativik Municipal Housing Bureau, the Nunavik Marine Region Wildlife Board, Avataq Cultural Institute, the Anguvigaq, the Nunavik Marine Region Planning Commission, the Nunavik Marine Region Impact Review Board, the Nunavik Land Holding Corporations Association, and Qarjuit. There is a strong regional consensus that Nunavik needs an organization like Atanniuvik. There is a lot of research happening in Nunavik, and we have heard many times from Nunavimmiut that they do not feel that they have a say about this research happening on our land.
There’s a need. The way research has been conducted hasn’t had much consideration for Inuit priorities. Inuit need to regain that authority over research that’s being conducted in Nunavik.(–Adamie Delisle Alaku)
Nunavik Inuit have long understood that there is power in knowledge, and that knowledge is key to Nunavik Inuit self-determination.
There are many ways to be poor but in today’s world, not having the right kind of information represents a certain kind of poverty. As long as outsiders decide what is important and are in a position to ask all of the questions, we will never be able to solve our own problems. Without information we are nothing at all and have no power to understand things or to change our life. If Inuit society is to develop we must be able to collect and use information according to our own terms…(–Mark R. Gordon, 1976)
The purpose of Atanniuvik will be to make sure that research is truly serving Nunavimmiut well-being, and that Nunavimmiut are the decision-makers on research that is about us and our homeland. Through reviewing and approving research, Atanniuvik will be able to help make sure that research is better informed by our Inuit culture and values, and that our traditional knowledge will be more recognized and used. Through supporting communities to take on their own research, we also hope that Atanniuvik will be able to inspire more Inuit to become researchers.
Inuit have never collected data on paper and documented knowledge, and I would like to see the Inuit do that and document knowledge that would be recognized by government…If Inuit do it ourselves, then we don’t need translators. I can put it this way – I would like to see Inuit scientists.
To ensure that Atanniuvik is run by and for Inuit, the award from the Arctic Inspiration Prize will be used for hiring and training staff; establishing and training community and regional committees for research review; engaging Nunavik communities and organizations in identifying research priorities and needs; and communicating about Atanniuvik within Nunavik and beyond.
Atanniuvik’s operations are expected to be launched in 2025. Until then, the Atanniuvik team will be working on these and other important pieces to bring the vision of Atanniuvik into reality. To stay up to date on Atanniuvik developments and learn about opportunities to get involved, follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atanniuvik, check out our website at www.atanniuvik.ca, or email us at email@example.com.