The Nunavut Department of Education in Canada recently certified five Inuit elders as Innait Inuksiutilirijiit, or teachers.
The distinction gives the elders the ability to become active instructors in the schools, connecting their knowledge to the formal education, ICTMN reports.
The Education Act passed in 2008 allows the certification. Elders are incorporated into the system to help preserve the culture and values of the Inuit.
“Today is a great day for learning in Nunavut,” said Premier Eva Aariak in a statement after the February 2 ceremony. “The certification and recognition of Elders and their expertise is an important step in creating a Nunavut education system that is founded in Inuit culture, language and traditions.”
Mary Akumalik, Sinea Kownirk, Serapio Ittusardjuat, Letia Tikivik and Sheepa Ishulutaq, all from Iqaluit, were the first Elders to be awarded this certification under the new Education Act, which stipulates in Section 102 that District Education Authorities (DEAs) may employ Elders to assist in teaching about Inuit culture, tradition and knowledge, the release said.
On a par with faculty as well as the principal, guidance counselors and student support assistants, certified elders may participate in instruction of school programs, in concert with teachers and other school personnel.