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Nunavut Sivuniksavut seeks to expand beyond Nunavut

Silpa Suarak (right) is the first student from Nunatsiavut in Labrador to be accepted to Nunavut Sivuniksavut, an Ottawa-based college program that prepares young Inuit from Nunavut for post-secondary education.

Silpa Suarak the first student from Nunatsiavut in Labrador to be accepted to the program

Students pal around during orientation week at Nunavut Sivuniksavut just outside of Ottawa. In its 30-year history, the program has educated young Inuit from Nunavut about their history and culture. This fall, the program will welcome its first student from outside of Nunavut. (Nunavut Sivuniksavut)

Nunavut Sivuniksavut, an Ottawa-based college program that prepares young Inuit from Nunavut for post-secondary education, is looking at attracting students from beyond the territory.

Silpa Suarak will be Nunavut Sivuniksavut's first student from Nunatsiavut in Labrador and she says she's excited to start classes this fall.

Silpa Suarak, right, will be the first student from Nunatsiavut in Labrador to study at Nunavut Sivuniksavut. (Facebook)

"I feel very proud to be the first one," she says. "Just being Inuit, and knowing that I can learn more about being Inuit and the history and the culture and the language."

Silpa says she first heard about the program at a National Inuit Youth Summit in Kuujjuaq, Que., last year. After a presentation, she learned there were seats available that fall, but there wasn’t enough time to move herself and her kids to Ottawa.

Murray Angus, acting co-ordinator for the program, says Nunavut Sivuniksavut is at a historic point in its almost 30-year history due to a recent expansion of its facilities, and adding people from different regions is part of a long-time dream.

"Inuit youth from even outside of Canada — Greenland and Alaska potentially — could come together and study for a year, building relationships across the circumpolar world," he says.

Until now, only a handful of students from outside of Nunavut have attended. ​

Angus says a further expansion would likely mean the school having to modify its curriculum. He says school officials are even mulling over a name change to Inuit Sivuniksavut.

Down the road, he says there could be talks about receiving financial support from other regions.

Clarifications

  • Silpa Suarak is not the first student from outside Nunavut to attend Nunavut Sivuniksavut. A handful of students from outside the territory have attended in the past.
    May 30, 2014 9:07 AM CT