The plan for this Community Scholar project is to spend time in Nunatsiavut to talk with community members about how people envision a good life, the place of formal education in such hopes and dreams, and the kinds of challenges that interfere with such plans. In many cases, not going to post-secondary or not completing a program, is a sensitive matter. Therefore, the Community Scholar proposal is intended to build relationships, listen for deeper understanding through conversation with a wide range of community members, and serve as a preliminary step in developing a SSHRC funded research application. The Nunatsiavut Government’s Education Division has expressed a need for such a research project and the community conversations would inform questions they may want answered. These conversations and insights would then advise not only about the research questions but also the methods, the role of an advisory committee, and the types of knowledge mobilization that would be most beneficial to the Nunatsiavut community and Education Division.
This Community Scholar project will take place in Nunatsiavut, Labrador. “Community” can be understood as a group of people who are considered as a unit because of their shared interests or background (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/community). Although comprised of five geographic locations where people live (Nain, Hopedale, Makkovik, Postville, and Rigolet), Nunatsiavut exists as a single “community” in terms of Inuit identity; common history, values, culture, and language; and interdependence and cooperation. The Community Scholar project will offer an equitable approach in Nunatsiavut.
The project will include both organized meetings and impromptu discussions with: Elders, youth, parents, school staff, retired Inuit teachers, Nunatsiavut Education Division staff, social workers, nurses, mental health counsellors, and other community members.
The expected outcomes will be:
-Respectful and trusting relationships established through organized and impromptu discussions with a wide range of community members
-Preliminary, collaborative planning for the way in which future research can take place
-Identification of future research funding opportunities to support this important work
-Recommendations to the Nunatsiavut Education Division for next steps based on community-identified needs and priorities