Student Biographies (2010-2013)

Adriana Kusugak

I was born in Winnipeg, the daughter of two teachers and the oldest of three children. I was raised in Rankin Inlet where I completed all of my school except for a year when I lived in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, with my grandmother. Near the end of my high school career I became pregnant with my son, Qaritaq. I left the following year for university, but returned home after my first year. I switched to distance education as I was much too homesick for my son, who I had had to leave behind.

My husband, Pujjuut, son and I moved to Iqaluit so that I could attend the Nunavut Teacher Education Program (NTEP), where I graduated four years later with my Bachelor of Education. After graduating I began teaching and continue to do so today. I loved being a student at NTEP, which led me to apply for this Master’s program. It is my hope that this program will help me be the educational leader within my community and Nunavut that I want to become.

Adriana’s research project.

Becky Tootoo

I was born Rebecca Simailat Iyago at the Military Hospital in Fort Churchill Manitoba into a large family of twelve. My name was later changed to Becky, like the character in “Tom Sawyer” after one of my older sisters had read the book.  I attended primary, elementary and junior high school in Baker Lake before being sent off to Yellowknife for my senior high school years. Shortly after high school graduation, I applied and got accepted into Eastern Arctic Teacher Education Program (EATEP) in Frobisher Bay. It took two years to obtain a certificate from McGill.

Upon graduation in 1985 I interviewed for a position in Baker Lake and was successful. My first teaching job was as a special needs teacher which I found very challenging. I then went on to teach in the primary grades K, 1 and 3. I found myself moving up the grades as the years went on. After teaching grade 5, I worked as a co-principle. I was then transferred to the high school as the Inuktitut teacher for grades 10-12. I’m passionate about empowering youth – I like to give them their voice and I love to listen to what they to say if the youth have no voice then how can they possibly become the successful Nunavut citizens that we want them to become?

Becky’s research project. 

Bertha Iglookyouak

I was born and raised in Baker Lake, Nunavut, the geographical center of Canada and the most inland community in Nunavut. I am the eldest of five children and the only daughter. I received the majority of my education at home until leaving to Rankin Inlet for grade eleven. I left early and returned to Baker Lake to finish my GED. This led me to attend the Kivalliq Teacher Education Program and I once again left to further my education. This time I traveled to Iqaluit where I graduated with my Bachelor of Education two years later. I am currently teaching at the elementary school in Baker Lake where I have become increasingly more involved within the educational system. I am on several committees and have served as a school representative for the Nunavut Teaching Association (NTA) as well as the Math Representative for our school.

The main reason I became a teacher was because of my love of being around children. This includes my two nieces and two nephews. I enjoy crocheting, knitting and cross-stitching. I have just recently (and finally!) learned how to use a sewing machine. I also enjoy being outdoors during the spring and summer months.

Bertha’s research project.

Eva Noah

I was born at a nursing station in Baker Lake, NWT, where I was raised one of six children. My parents are strong traditional believers in their Inuit culture and we were raised in the same summer camp for years. Although, I received some instruction in Baker Lake, I left home at an early age in order to receive an education; it was not a choice. My father believed that we needed an education to survive in the western world.  Soon after I completed my Education degree, I began to move into a leadership role within in the community. I was asked to attend committee meetings and train as an administrator within the school, dealing with disciplinary issues as well as a liaison with the public.  I have spent the last seven years as a Nunavut Teacher Education instructor. I am excited to be doing this M.Ed. program and be a part of this new challenge.

Eva’s research project.

Jeela Palluq-Cloutier

I currently live in Iqaluit with my husband, Stephane, and our four wonderful sons. My husband has another son of whom we are also very proud, he lives in Igloolik, which is actually where I was born and raised. It was here where I began my education, though I was sent to Iqaluit at the age of 16 to complete high school. Upon entering high school I became cognitive of and interested in the multiplicity of Inuit dialects surrounding me.

Throughout my life I have been quite fortunate to have been surrounded by strong Inuktitut language teachers who have given me an appreciation and understanding of our rich and unique language. I have spent my career promoting the quality teaching and use of the Inuit language. Studying Inuit language and culture is my passion. One day I hope to see that all our teachers in Nunavut will have the right guides and resources to teach at the same quality level as any other language taught in schools across the globe.

Jeela’s research project.

Lizzie Iblauk

I was born in Churchill, Manitoba, though I spent my formative years in Arviat, Nunavut, where I attended school. I am the youngest biological child in my family and the first of my six siblings to graduate high school. It wasn’t until I began studying teaching in Iqaluit that I knew I had found what I was meant to do. Initially I left after three years with my certificate so that I could return home to help support my parents. I taught for five years before returning to finish my degree.  Arviat has the fastest growing population in Nunavut and I have proudly added to that number by adopting a child from Pond Inlet. He is a wonderful boy of nine years old and I love him dearly.

Lizzie’s research project. 

Louise Flaherty

I was raised by two sets of parents, my parents Johnny and Leah Joanas and the other parents were my late grandparents Natanine and Mary Kautuq of Clyde River.  Living with my grandparents, we would be on the land from April to beginning of September, living off the land.  I would be the first one to leave school and come in late for the beginning of the school year.

I am married to William Flaherty and we have two children Kenny and Andrea.

I moved to Iqaluit in 1990 to pursue teacher training.  I graduated in June 1992 with my Certificate in Native and Northern Education from McGill University, and then completed my Bachelor of Education from McGill University through Nunavut Arctic College in May 1993.  In 2003 I completed the Certificate of Eligibility as Principal through Educational Leadership Program.

My first teaching assignment was in the fall of 1993 at Joamie School in Iqaluit as an Intermediate Teacher, and also as a transitional grades teacher.  I have taught both in Iqaluit and Clyde River until 2001.

In 2001 I accepted a position with the Nunavut Arctic College’s Nunavut Teacher Education Program as the Community-based Coordinator. I have also taught the Inuktitut courses mainly in our community based-programs. I’ve taught, Curriculum Development, Orientation to Education, and Language Arts in Inuktitut, Reading and Writing in Inuktitut, and Orthography and Grammar. I’ve also taught Intensive Inuktitut courses with Adult Education.

My main interests are in researching our Inuit language, terminology, culture, and history and how it can be incorporated with programming within the Nunavut Arctic College.  Currently, I sit as the vice-president of the Nunavut Bilingual Education Society, producing teaching resources targeting Primary schools right up to the College level. I have helped produce over 15 books.

And this is who I am.

Louise’s research project.

Maggie Putilik

Currently I work for the Government of Nunavut under the Department of Education as a Teaching and Learning Centre Consultant, prior to this position I was the Inuktitut Program Coordinator for Kivalliq Divisional Educational Council (KDEC). It was during this time I was introduced to the production of the “Inuuqatigiit” curriculum and had the opportunity to work with some wonderful people.  Just recently I received my Bachelor of Education Degree and I truly enjoyed being a student again.  Advancing my education was the best decision I could have made and I am excited to participate in the next level of learning.

I was born and raised in Chesterfield Inlet by both parents, Leonie Pittausaaq and Leonard Putulik as the fifth child with nine other siblings. My husband Brian and I have three children and raised them in Chesterfield Inlet.  When we left Chesterfield Inlet it was to further our education.  Once I received my teaching certificate we moved back to Chesterfield Inlet where I taught for a number of years.  Our family then relocated to Rankin Inlet so that our children could attend High School and it is here that we still reside.

Maggie’s research project. 

Mary Etuangat

I was born in Pangnirtung, N.W.T. to Mosesee and Oleepa Qappik, I am their third child of six. I spent a good time with my grandparents here in Pangnirtung and then in Coral Harbour when they moved. I have taken the NTEP with a certificate in 1995. Bachelor of Education in 2008. This is my fifteenth year as a teacher at Alookie School and Attagoyuk Ilisavik. 2011 is my second year as principal of Alookie School, in education I have had different roles, grade 1 teacher, a kindergarten teacher, Student Support Teacher, Vice principal, a grade 6/7 teacher and have been in different in-school committees. I have been taking some time off from Youth Leadership at our church which I have enjoyed doing, I have found that youth have so much to give, they just need someone to guide and they are so open to share their strengths and abilities. I enjoy going out on the land in the summer, fall and spring, I enjoy reading and I enjoy learning. My husband Tommy and I have four children, Luke, Bonnie, Anne and Rosie, our youngest Tye is our five year old grandson whom we adopted from our son Luke and his girlfriend Lynn. They have two children Alison and Andrew. Their youngest child Jonah who is now one year old is adopted by a teacher friend in Iqaluit.

Mary’s research project. 

Mary-Joanne Kauki

I currently live in the town where I was born and raised, Kuujjuag, Nunavik. I began school the year the Kativik School Board took over the educational system from the government. Even though I spoke no English, school was really an enjoyable experience and secure environment for me. I then went on to CEGEP in Montreal. I found myself without direction, never finding the right program that excited me. I missed family and the simplicity of northern life, so I moved back home.  It wasn’t until I returned home and began substituting that I ignited a passion; the joy of working with children in a professional environment.

After studying part time in the teacher training, I made a bold move to study full time in Montreal. Upon the completion of my degree, I returned to Kuujjuag, and took on the newly implemented grade 3 Inuktitut class. From there I moved into a more leadership role as vice-principle, until I went on maternity leave, and during that time I was elected as school commissioners and vice-president of the school board. At this level I know that this program will only help me make the best possible choices on behalf of the Education services for Nunavik.

Mary-Joanne’s research project.

Rhoda Cunningham

I was born in Pond Inlet, Baffin Island in Nunavut. I have three names by which I am known, Arnaujaq, Sigluk, and Inattiaq. My father Joanasie Benjamin Arreak was a Special Constable with the RCMP. This caused us to move quite a bit, though we spent spring and summer on the land no matter where we were living. I am now settled in Iqaluit with my husband Duncan. We have three grown children and have a granddaughter Grace Arnaujaq and grandson Conner James.

I have held several positions in the education field from a classroom teacher to school administrator. During that time my colleagues and I had the pleasure of being a part of rewarding experiences, as well as having to cope with some difficult incidents and tragedies.  However, I treasure the experience of working as part of a team and knowing how strong we can be as a community when we come together. It is both the rewarding and painful paths that have shaped the person I am today and I feel that is possible to find solutions to almost anything if we work together.

Rhoda’s research project. 

Saimanaaq Nester

I was born in Coral Harbour, Southampton Island. My family welcomed me, and I was named Saimanaaq Qinnguq Maatai and Uuliniq by my three grandmothers and the priest who baptized me named me Patricia. I lived in Coral Harbour until the age of twelve, when I left to attend school in Churchill, Manitoba. Although, my time away came to a premature halt; three years after leaving, while I was home during the holidays, it was announced that I was arranged to be married. From that marriage I have been blessed with four children and 10 grandchildren who I love immensely.

I have been working as an Educator and leader within the education field and currently hold the position of Curriculum and School Services acting manager in Arviat. Throughout my lengthy career I have been an advocate for Inuktitut to be the language of instruction in Nunavut schools, not only with the ones that I have personally been involved with, but in all schools in Nunavut. I am a strong believer that Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit is the breath and life of the Nunavut Government and will continue to work towards this goal until it is accomplished.

Saimanaaq’s research project.

Susan Tigullaraq

I was born in a family camp, southwest of Pond Inlet. My earliest years were spent traveling with my parents between Pond Inlet and Igloolik. The majority of my schooling was completed in Pond Inlet, after high school I worked in the offices of both schools in the area as well as an office manager for the Community Education Council, which is where I became interested in teaching. After my family moved to Iqaluit for my husband’s work, I entered into the B.Ed program and am currently teaching here in Iqaluit. In addition to conventional I have also obtained education in traditional Inuit training from my grandmother, mother and other elders in child rearing, hunting, cooking, seal skin cleaning and Inuit values and principles that are important to having a happy family life.

I love the outdoors and being with my family, my husband, Joe, our son, Solomon, and our children who are grown. I enjoy cooking and baking, especially when our kids from out of town are visiting, I like making meals for large groups. I have a great interest in art, oil painting or water based colours are my preference when I have the time to spare.

Susan’s research project.

Vera Q. Arnatsiaq

I was born in Iqaluit when Iqaluit was still known as Frobisher Bay, though it is in Igloolik that I have lived the most of my life, leaving only to complete post-secondary education. I have had the pleasure to have spent the majority of my teaching career thus far guiding grade one students, however, recently I was presented with an opportunity to instruct several grade six classes. It was reflecting upon my own experiences as a student at that age that interested me in this new challenge. I have enjoyed teaching grade six for two years now.

I live in Igloolik with my husband, Ayaruaq, our four children, (Linda, Simoe, Qumangaapik, and Nelleke) and four dogs. I am fortunate that we are a close family who enjoy being on the land fishing and seal hunting, but most of all we just love spending time together.

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