We share with you some excerpts from the series of books, Voices and Images of Nunavimmiut. They have helped us better understand the experience and lives of Nunavimmiut. They remind us not to forget what is told, what is history, never to forget listening further and deeper, never to walk the path of health alone but with communities and to let their wisdom guide our prevention thinking, their Qulliq light our common strategies…
"It was not so long ago that, we the Inuit, were self-governing in our way of life, moving from place to place with the seasons, following the animals we depended upon for our survival."
"This way of life was drastically altered as we were settled into communities and along with this re-settlement, the arrival of different community services which were foreign to us. All these changes have had an impact : some have helped but some have served to take away the ability of many of us to be able to make our own choices for our own well-being, bringing about what I like to refer to as “learned helplessness."
"We have come a long way… Despite the rapid changes and major challenges that have plagues Inuit for the past 60 or so years, we have remained resilient and determined, and have adapted in many positive ways. We are now in positions of being decision makers in systems that have been imposed on us, and we are now realizing that many of these systems need to be adapted and that as Inuit, we need to find alternative ways to make sure that these services take into account our view, values and traditions. Many people are stepping up to make changes, elders are making their voices heard again and young people are making a difference having their own views known as well.”
"… we ourselves take on the challenges of finding solutions at our own pace, through our own understanding of the problems to take on the social responsibility of change.”
"We understand that connectedness is part of healing (Middleton –Moz, 2012) and it is through connectedness that prevention can also expand. It is our hope to move our health practices towards ever increasing cultural relevance and integration of traditional knowing, ways of living and meaning."
“We must take back our ways of healing. Although healing wasn’t part of our vocabulary, we had means of ensuring we lead healthy lives. (Inungni Sapujjijiit: Task Force on Suicide Prevention and Community Healing 2003, 10).”
Sharing knowledge, making a difference (Cameron, 2011) and engaging in a true encounter is one way of bringing into the open those healthy living ways and traditions. This project is based on gathering, restoring and exploring knowledge through community partnerships, and the use of such knowledge is built on community strengths. We engage in equitable, collaborative relationships that value traditional and sacred knowledge held by Elders and other community knowledge holders alongside health promotion knowledge. In respect with the 2014 guidelines in research and collaborations (Starkes & Baydala, 2014) , equitable collaborations are based on authentic and trusting partnerships that lead to better health research. The project addresses the social determinants of health explicitly but also provides results that contribute to reducing health disparities.
Cameron (2011) : State of the Knowledge:Inuit Public Health. National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health, (NCCAH). May, M.K. (2012). Voices and images of Nunavimmiut (vol.3) : Health. Makivik Corporation: McGill-Queens University Press. Starkes, J.L. & Baydala, M.T. (2014) : Health research involving First Nations, Inuit and Métis children and their communities, Paediatr Child Health,19(2):99-102.
"The aim of the project is to reinforce the promotion of supportive environments (economic, social and political) and to facilitate healthy choices and healthy living habits. The prevention of early chronic diseases, obesity and diabetes is our goal through health promotion strategies, health education, behavior change and early diagnosis. Community centers are local unique environments that bring together communities and that support peer leaders in the promotion of change within the centers and in the community."