Research Start-up Summary and Abstract:
Southern Inuit from the NunatuKavut region of Labrador have started to challenge the established historical narratives that have been shaped by settler colonialism to reflect dominant interests about the land and its people. The historical re-production of the life and culture of the Southern Inuit has often been portrayed by merchants, doctors, academics and researchers with ambivalence and uncertainty. Much of what has been written has been produced from a western, male perspective, informing a knowledge base that tends to reflect and privilege patriarchal ideals. As a consequence, the female Southern Inuit voice and diverse versions of indigeneity have been minimized and in some cases erased from the narrative or story making process.
Southern Inuit also live in urban centres within NunatuKavut territory, such as Happy Valley-Goose Bay (HVGB) and Labrador City, but urban realities and experiences are often not equally valued within these narratives, and people’s Indigenous identities are sometimes compromised or questioned, both externally and internally. As a result, the urban Southern Inuit population is often left with minimal voice and participation in informing Southern Inuit life and culture.
This research seeks to examine the identified gaps between knowledge formation and translation between remote communities and urban communities. The identification of this gap in Southern Inuit knowledge formation and translation is useful in that it informs research that intends to bridge the gap between remote and urban communities in multiple ways. Firstly, it seeks to validate the voices and stories of Southern Inuit women as legitimate and authentic Indigenous knowledge holders. Secondly, this works proposes to engage urban Southern Inuit youth in a way that will allow urban youth to engage with Southern Inuit women as storytellers from both urban and remote NunatuKavut communities. Urban youth thereby become a part of the story making and translation process, with Southern Inuit women as the knowledge holders and providers.
This project that aims to engage urban NunatuKavut youth in validating their own experiences and stories by connecting their stories with those of multiple generations of women within their own family or community, thus creating new understandings of how historical processes have affected and continue to affect the choices and the personal identities of multiple generations of Southern Inuit families of NunatuKavut. We aim to engage youth in actively re-storying the historical narratives of NunatuKavut, and in working to revise dominant narratives that have enacted violence through their silences and erasures.