Media Release- Findings from the Northern Men's Research Project
Northern Indigenous men need programming and policies that minimize oppression and maximize freedom
Cambridge Bay, NU – January 12th, 2016: Ilitaqsiniq – Nunavut Literacy Council led the Northern Men’s Research Project in partnership with the Yukon Literacy Coalition, the Northwest Territories Literacy Council, Literacy Newfoundland and Labrador, local First Nations governments and community-‐based partners. The research took place from 2011-‐2015.
The purpose of the research was to establish evidence so that more effective programs and policies could be developed to support Northern Indigenous men in learning and employment. Community-‐based researchers conducted the research with 199 men identifying as Inuit, First Nations or Métis. Research participants were from nine communities in the three territories and Labrador.
Northern Indigenous men are underrepresented in higher education and self-‐government employment. According to the 2013-‐2014 Nunavut Public Service Annual Report, 70% of Inuit employed by the Government of Nunavut are female compared to 30% for Inuit men. Only 11% of Government of Nunavut employees overall are Inuit men. Statistics identifying the gender gap between Northern Indigenous men and women are not always available. However, community members participating in the research confirmed that men are under-‐represented in certain kinds of education and employment.
Two underling themes in men's stories explained patterns of disengagement and engagement. The first theme illustrates that barriers to engagement in employment and education for these men were linked to forms of oppression such as trauma, racism, conflicting societal expectations, and lack of support. The research findings show, as did the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report, that that the impact of colonization is ongoing. The second theme highlights the resilience of northern Indigenous men who stand firm in who they are and pursue healing and connection to others and to the land, despite ongoing rapid societal changes and oppression. Such men are engaging in learning and work on their own terms. Programs and policies that support men's participation are those that contribute to decolonizing education and workplaces. Decolonizing practices include valuing and using Indigenous knowledge specific to men’s expertise; increasing awareness and cross-‐cultural training for non-‐Aboriginal people; and supporting Northern Indigenous men to develop their own programs. Healing and land-‐based programs for these men are also a critical component of redressing colonial harms and building resilience for strong school and workplace engagement.)
“Men have gaps in their education as well as limited opportunities to learn . . . I would like to see men of all generations supported and uplifted to feel strong, confident, and capable.” -‐ Quluaq Pilakapsi, Elder, Inuktitut Resource Development Coordinator (former), Ilitaqsiniq -‐ Nunavut Literacy Council.
For more information, please contact: Shelley Tulloch, Ph.D.
Research Guide, Northern Men’s Research project, Adjunct Professor University of P.E. I.
Ilitaqsiniq -‐ Nunavut Literacy Council
Cayla Chenier, Project Manager
Yukon Literacy Coalition
Colleen Segriff, Regional Coordinator
NWT Literacy Council
Kathryn Barry Paddock, Executive Director
Caroline Vaughn (Former) Executive Director
Literacy Newfoundland and Labrador
About Ilitaqsiniq -‐ Nunavut Literacy Council
Ilitaqsiniq -‐ Nunavut Literacy Council, was founded in 1999, branching off from the NWT Literacy Council when Nunavut was established as a separate territory. Ilitaqsiniq promotes and supports the literacy needs of Nunavummiut in the official languages of Nunavut with respect for the principals of community capacity building and development. Its primary activities include conducting community-‐based research, information sharing, delivering custom training and resource development.
About NWT Literacy Council
The NWT Literacy Council is a territorial not-‐for-‐profit organization that promotes and supports literacy and essential skills in all the official languages of the NWT. We help NWT Communities build their capacity to support literacy and essential skills programs. We believe that literacy and essential skills support active participation in the social, economic and political life of our communities, our territory and our country.
About Yukon Literacy Coalition
The Yukon Literacy Coalition (YLC) is a twelve-‐year-‐old non-‐profit organization dedicated to the development of Literacy and Essential Skills in the Yukon. A community-‐based organization, the YLC was founded on the belief that investment in Literacy and Essential Skills lays the groundwork for every individual to succeed in life, work and their community; and that the best way to improve these skills is through the provision of relevant programs, tools and research.