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Issue #39
February, 2013

West Baffin Eskimo Co-op

Summary: Incorporated in 1959, the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative (WBEC) was the first Inuit-owned Co-operative to be formed with start-up assistance from the Canadian federal government. Over the next five years, 20 Co-ops were established across the Northwest Territories, from Cape Dorset in the east to Holman Island in the west. Today, there are 35. These community Co-ops were established to provide income, employment and services to their growing communities.

The Co-operative is known locally as Kinngait Co-operative. The word kinngait (pronounced “king – ite”) describes the high, undulating hills surrounding the community of Cape Dorset. Collectively, the Co-op’s world-renowned graphic arts studios are recognized as the Kinngait Studios.

The West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative is wholly owned by its membership, representing the majority of the adult population of the community. All members are residents of Cape Dorset and almost all are of Inuit descent.

WBEC is unique among Co-operatives in the Arctic for its sustained focus on the arts and artists of the community. Arts activities fall under the umbrella of the Producer Division of the Co-op, which includes two fine art printmaking studios in Cape Dorset for stonecut and lithography, and the carving buying operation. The Co-op also operates a retail grocery and supply store. Established in 1960, the store has expanded to keep pace with the growing community and now serves as its Home Hardware and Yamaha snowmobile dealership. The Consumer Division also administers several community service contracts, providing essential services such as the local delivery of heating fuel and gasoline. The Co-op’s most enduring contribution however, to both the community of Cape Dorset and the world beyond has been the prints and carvings produced by its extraordinary stable of artist members.

The link between Indigenous culture and wellbeing: Qualitative evidence for Australian Aboriginal peoples

Source: Simon Colquhoun and Alfred Michael Dockery, Centre for Labour Market Research and School of Economics and Finance, Curtin University, January 2012

Summary: Evidence from both the international and Australian literature suggests that the wellbeing of Indigenous people is enhanced when they maintain their ‘traditional’ culture. This paper uses qualitative data made available from the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children to explore this relationship in the context of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Specifically, responses to two open-ended questions “What is it about Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander culture that will help your child to grow up strong?” and “Apart from health and happiness, what do you want for your child?” are analysed using Leximancer, revealing a number of key themes from the responses.

In relation to the first question, culture is the dominant theme, while the other themes to emerge appear to relate to cultural identity, cultural pride, understanding of culture and a sense of belonging. In relation to the question on what parents want for their children, seventeen themes emerged which we interpret as reflecting a balance of desires for success in mainstream society (including education and success) and in their ‘traditional’ culture (being strong, to have a close relationship with their family, to be whoever their children want to be). The responses to these two questions highlight that Aboriginal parents place great importance upon education, but also upon their child maintaining and learning about aspects of their culture for identity development, upon the positive experience of the traditional culture and the significance of support from the community to which they belong. These are seen as preconditions to the achievement of success through education.

Honouring Indigenous Women: Hearts of Nations vol.1 booklet

Summary: Honouring Indigenous Women: Hearts of Nations, is a booklet published by the Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa. It is part of their ongoing efforts to support Indigenous women on Turtle Island (aka North America) and their struggle for liberation.

This publication consists of five sections: Struggle, Resistance, Power, Liberation, and Be Solidarity. Each section uses different forms of creative expression, mostly from Indigenous women, to draw attention to their lived realities.

This publication is intended to augment the voices of Indigenous women in one of many efforts to break the silence surrounding the systemic violence perpetuated by colonialism; it is meant to encourage other acts of solidarity while building bridges between diverse communities and providing education to the dominant culture and recent newcomers about the genocide of Indigenous nations.

Northern Research Portal

Source: University of Saskatchewan
K-12 teachers

Summary: Resources for Teachers

This section of the website includes questions, activities, and points to other sites which may be of interest to students and of assistance in developing your lesson plans. In some cases, references can be linked directly back to one of the exhibits created specifically for this site. Additionally, we have added links to other resources which may be of use.

Material on this website originating from the University of Saskatchewan collections may be used in your classrooms or compiled by you to create your own learning tools for students.

On-line Resources

Archives Canada includes a database of holdings from archives across Canada, as well as “virtual exhibits” on a variety of topics. The exhibits database displays an apple icon beside those exhibits which include teacher resources: questions for students; lesson plans; etc.

The online resources section has interpretive exhibits based on digitized material on this site, and links to external exhibits and other sites, including sites with educational resources.

Gateway to Aboriginal Heritage: Data Base Quiz Canadian Museum of Civilization 9-12

Source: Canadian Museum of Civilization
Grades 9-12; Quebec Secondary Cycle 2

Summary: Students learn about the history and cultures of Canada’s aboriginal peoples by searching the Canadian Museum of Civilization’s Gateway to Aboriginal Heritage web module, completing the Gateway to Aboriginal Heritage Database Quiz, and discussing their findings. This activity introduces students to a useful source of information.

  • Database Quiz – Lesson Plan (PDF 180k)

  • Database Quiz – Worksheet (PDF 205k)

  • Database Quiz – Answer Sheet (PDF 205k)

Chances are, it’s Aboriginal! A Conversation about Aboriginal Foods

Source: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
Focus: Elementary students

Summary: When you sit down to a big feast to celebrate a holiday, many times the dinner will involve a large stuffed bird, a huge pile of mashed potatoes, a stack of bread, a vat of cranberries and a whole bunch of different vegetables!

Guess what? The meal before you is derived from traditional Aboriginal foods, although in a “wilder” state than you might be accustomed to. Wild turkey with wild rice stuffing, wild potatoes, wild cranberries, bannock or corn bread, squash, beans and, say, for dessert, some whipped wild berries.

If you were to take a culinary trip across the country, you’d find out just how much of what you take for granted as Canadian food products really are Aboriginal, going way back – even further back than when your parents were kids.

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