The Kativik Ilisarniliriniq, the school board of Nunavik, was created in 1975, under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA).
Under the JBNQA, the Kativik Ilisarniliriniq is granted the power and jurisdiction to develop and deliver specific educational services and programs consistent with Inuit culture. The mission of the Kativik Ilisarniliriniq is therefore twofold. On the one hand, it acts as a regular regional school board for all Nunavik residents. On the other hand, it also acts as an exclusive Inuit institution with unique powers and jurisdictions that aim to protect, maintain, and develop the Inuit language, culture, and way of life.
Since 1978, the Kativik Ilisarniliriniq has been the exclusive provider of academic services to the population of Nunavik. The education programs developed by the school board are offered in all schools of the 14 Nunavik communities, in Inuktitut as first language and in French and English as second languages. The school board operates 17 primary and secondary schools as well as 5 adult education centres.
Our mission statement
To provide the people of Nunavik with educational services that will guide and enable all learners to develop the qualities, skills, and abilities they need to achieve well being and self-actualization.
Nunavimmiut are empowered, proud, and self-suﬃ cient members of healthy communities grounded in Inuit values, language, and culture, where they are inspired to achieve their full potential within a global context.
Our approach to education
At the school board, we approach education from a holistic perspective. The services we deliver—as well as the curriculum and programs we develop—are rooted in the Inuit defi nition of Inuguiniq, an education process that seeks to develop the human being as a whole through direct engagement with the environment and the community.
What some of our Teachers have to say.
I have worked for 7 ½ years with KI. From 2010 to 2017 I worked in Salluit, though in 2017 I took the Healthy Schools Consultant position and relocated to Kuujjuaq – where I get to work on a regional level.
As a non-Indigenous Canadian, I came to the North to learn more about the realities that Indigenous people live with, and to open my eyes to the legacies of Canada’s history.
For many people, it is the northern landscapes that capture them. While the tundra is indeed breathtaking, it is the resilience of the youth that has captured and inspired me. Teaching in the North allows you to build deep connections with your students. It is this relationship that endures – even as they become young adults – and continues to keep me very connected to their lives and the region. I think it is also amazing to work for an Indigenous school board that, based upon their rich cultural history, is easily able to recognize and criticize the flaws of a western school system. As such, they are in many ways, though often not recognized, at the forefront in developing “new” practices – rooted in very “old” ways.
While I will never downplay the challenges of working in the North, I do strongly urge Canadian educators to consider it. At a national level we are finally talking about reconciliation and we are opening our eyes to our national past. It is an amazing time to bring your professional skills to this area. The North needs teachers, especially those who bring an open mind, critical thinking skills, and are willing to “unlearn” to “re-learn” and play a role in writing a new future with Indigenous people. I think it is one of the most profound and meaningful places to work in at this moment. An opportunity exists to play a role in a positive transformation – while also being transformed yourself.
2017 Global Teacher Prize recipient, awarded by the Varkey Foundation
We came to the North looking for an adventure and a chance to gain teaching experience. We initially anticipated spending 1 or 2 years here in Kangirsuk at Sautjuit School, but my wife and I (and now our baby) are in our 6th year! We’ve loved teaching and living in Nunavik because of the unique cultural experiences, the closed-knit community with the potential to directly impact students’ lives, and many opportunities for professional and academic advancement.
While the isolation from southern conveniences was initially challenging, we learned to appreciate a more relaxed pace of life. I encourage anyone with a sense of adventure, the desire to inspire students, or a wish for a truly unique teaching experience to consider working for KI. Without a second of hesitation I can say it is the most life-changing decision I’ve made in my entire life.
Sautjuit School, Kangirsuk
My name is Janet Johnston and I teach Secondary English and History in the village of Aupaluk, this is my eighth year as a teacher and my sixth year living in Aupaluk. I decided I wanted to teach in the Arctic when I was still in High School. I saw a documentary about Grise Fiord on a TV program called “Land and Sea” and I said to my family, one day I will live in the Arctic! After two years teaching in the United Kingdom, I sent my resume and cover letter to Kativik Ilisarniliriniq, ready for my arctic adventure to finally begin.
My advice to teachers coming to Nunavik is to come with an open mind and open heart. Remember that some children come to school to learn, and others come to school to be loved. Also, the children who are in need of the most love often ask for it in the most unloving of ways. Please be kind, loving, and open to the culture and people of Nunavik. My students have taught me so much about life, teaching, and myself. I have learned to be stronger, more resilient, patient, independent, and most importantly kinder and more generous. I am a much better teacher and person because of my time spent here at Tarsakallak School.
Tarsakallak School, Aupaluk