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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


August 9, 2003 - Issue 93


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Educate, and be Educated

by Tina Rose Nunatsiaq News
World MapEvery morning Nathan Amarudjuaq of Arviat and Simon Hiqiniq of Gjoa Haven attend to their morning chores of collecting eggs and feeding horses, chickens and turkeys.

Before joining the Nunavut Youth Abroad Program (NYAP), neither boy thought he would visit a farm. This summer, however, the pair are not only visiting, they're living and working on a sheep farm in Kempville, Ontario.

For first-time host-mother, Stephanie Meakin, a biologist who works for the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, the experience goes beyond the farm.

"I'm always interested in my family understanding the Inuit culture and meeting the people I work with because it's very important to me, the Arctic. And it's important that my children understand how lucky we are to have this part of Canada and meet Inuit people," Meakin said.

Amarudjuaq and Hiqiniq are attracting the attention of other Kempville residents as well.

"A lot of people don't realize they're from Canada," Meakin said. "I've had people actually ask them "Do you speak English?" or "What currency do you use?" and it's as much an education for small-town Ontario as it is for them coming out of the communities. All the kids love to talk to them, and they kind of get swamped when we go anywhere."

Amarudjuaq and Hiqiniq, both 16, have been away from home previously, but never for such an extended time. They heard of the NYAP from previous participants, and that inspired them to apply.

The adventure began with an orientation involving 19 other participants. The participants were then grouped in twos, and sent to their new homes for the summer.

Amarudjuaq and Hiqiniq spend their days working with the farm animals, as well as other tasks such as fence maintenance and tending to a large vegetable garden. They are also responsible for keeping their room tidy and helping with the dishes.

But it's not all hard work. The two have had the opportunity to learn to swim and take weekly horseback riding lessons.

"They're fantastic cowboys," Meakin said.

Both Amarudjuaq and Hiqiniq agree that the biggest difference between living in Nunavut and living on a farm is all the animals. Feeding the animals is Amarudjuaq's favorite chore.

The NYAP cultivates leadership, cross-cultural awareness and career goals by placing participants in situations that will allow them to experience careers that they may want to pursue.

The program is open to students and non-students aged 16 to 21. Through work placement for credit, youths can obtain skills in journalism, communications, environmental conservation, office administration or management.

Successful graduates of Phase 1, a two-month stay in southern Canada, are eligible for Phase 2, which involves international travel to developing countries.

When asked whether they would recommend the program, Hiqiniq enthusiastically replied, "Yup! So they can go through what I went through. It's helped me grow up."

"They should have a lot of pride because they're doing a good job," Meakin said. "It's tough. You know, it's tough to be away."

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.

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