Reconciliation, resilience and resistance in Inuit teacher's professional development and practices

Reconciliation, resilience and resistance in Inuit teacher's professional development and practices


Shelley Tulloch, Kathy Snow, Heather Ochalski, Melanie O'Gorman




In February 2017, 26 Inuit educators gathered in Nain, Nunatsiavut for the Inuit Education Forum. Teachers from each of the four Inuit regions in Canada were invited to share their experiences on education in Inuit Nunangat with the goal of identifying barriers and promising practices occurring within their communities. One of the key themes arising from these conversations was the ongoing need for Inuit teacher support and development in schools. Training and retaining Inuit teachers is problematic in Canada, while research tells us that both of these factors are key to student success. Some key challenges impacting resilience for teachers identified by the Inuit Education Forum participants were: organization of learning and leadership, prioritization of Inuit language and culture in schools, and negotiations of teachers’ isolation and autonomy. These challenges and the solutions offered by participants are discussed in the Canadian historical context implications for teacher training and professional development in Inuit Nunangat are highlighted.


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We are extremely grateful to the Inuit teachers and long-term northern educators from all Inuit regions who were able to participate, and for the community of Nain, Nunatsiavut for hosting the Forum. We want to highlight the support of ArcticNet, the Nunatsiavut Ministry of Education and Economic development, ITK and the SSHRC for their financial and in-kind support in the form of time and resources. We also thank Shanti Subedar (student at the University of Winnipeg) who transcribed Forum recordings.


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  1. Inuit Nunangat is the homeland of Inuit of Canada. It includes the communities located in the four Inuit regions: Nunatsiavut (Northern coastal Labrador), Nunavik (Northern Quebec), the territory of Nunavut and the Inuvialuit region of the Northwest Territories.
  2. Qallunaat is the Inuktitut term used to refer to non-Inuit people.
  3. The term Indian is used as is reflected in the historical document but refers to the legal agreement for Indigenous peoples of Canada.
  4. The University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) has offered two Masters Programs in Nunavut - a Master in Education in Leadership and Learning and a Certificate in Educational Leadership - which fostered leadership skills among the current generation of teachers and administrators in Nunavut.


Teacher Education, Decolonising, Critical Pedagogy, Curriculum Change


Published in Volume 25 (1-2) Teacher Education in the Arctic,