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Ayalik Fund seeks out programs which will foster new levels of self-confidence in our youth. The photo above says it all: these boys have achieved new heights beyond their imagination. We firmly believe that challenging activity – physically, socially, emotionally challenging – most especially in the wilderness, serves to build self-esteem. Accordingly, we have sent youth to all of these programs. We continue in that vein, and are always looking out for new possibilities. For more specific information, photos, and quotes from past participants, click on the logos below.

In our very first year, just a few months after inception, the Ayalik Fund sent two youths to an Outward Bound program in the Rockies. Ian Kavanna and Shania Angohiatok were 16 at the time, in 2015, recipients of the Ayalik Fund’s first grants. They are still talking, with pride, about their achievement that summer – they joined a group of other youth, and trekked into the high country near Banff, Alberta, carrying all the gear and food on their backs, learning to work together and to meet some personal challenges, as they broadened their horizons and developed new levels of self-confidence. Afterward, Ian wrote us a short note:

Since then, the Ayalik Fund has sent many more youths on similar trips every year. In total, now, several dozen youths from Nunavut have climbed mountains, canoed on barrenland rivers and in Algonquin Park, sea-kayaked in Clayoquot Sound, sailed in a tall-ship, learned traditional skills, sometimes winter camping and sometimes swimming in warm summer lakes, explored potential careers and new frontiers, always making new friends and discovering new strengths within themselves.

Furthermore, the philosophy underlying the Ayalik Fund is a reflection of Inuit cultural values, rooted in Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit. We believe in the power of the land to nurture; in Inuktut, sila – often translated as the “outdoors” – is more deeply thought of as a life force and an individual’s inner connection to the environment.

Traditional knowledge, per se, could be construed as the more practical skills like how to build an iglu, or skin a caribou, or to properly prepare a seal so that each relative gets the appropriate piece, or how to best sew animal skins when making traditional Inuit garments. These are important skills, rooted in centuries’ old tradition. Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit goes deeper.

The core principles of IQ are invoked in the very nature of Ayalik’s youth programming:
  • pilimmaqsarniq—becoming skilled in order to give back to community
  • piliriqatigiingniq—working collaboratively for shared outcomes
  • qanuqtuurunnarniq—innovative thinking
  • inuuqatigiitsiarniq—being in respectful relationships with others
  • pijitsirniq—compassion for and meeting the needs of others
  • avatimik kamattiarniq—sustainable social/environmental stewardship
  • aajiiqatigiingniq—finding consensus to ensure well-being and harmony

According to Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, these principles are taught through a process called inunnguiniq — “making capable human beings.” At a Nunavut workshop some years ago, an Inuit elder opined that if youth could learn to value these aspects of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, that would “restore Inuit pride and increase young Inuit self-esteem, which would address today’s social problems.”  That is exactly what the Ayalik Fund aims to foster in the Inuit youth who participate.

Tap or click on each of the logos below for more information

Tall Ships Expeditions Canada
Northern Youth
Encounters With Canada

Canadian Canoe Foundation (Coppermine River 2018)
Outward Bound Canada
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