high school nunavut

What you learn at high school in Nunavut is a lot different than the rest of Canada

It's safe to say that high school in Nunavut is quite different than in the rest of Canada. 

One school in the territory's capital of Iqaluit, for instance, shared some photos on Twitter of their students in a life skills class. Here, they learned how to properly skin a seal (sorry for the graphic images). 

"The importance of preserving the practice of seal harvesting for the use of their skins is paramount to Inuit education. It is a matter of sustainability, both on a practical level of feeding families, and on a cultural level as seal harvesting and skinning preserves a way of life."
said a spokesperson from the Department of Education in Nunavut

"Many families in Nunavut depend on the harvesting of seals as a critical part of their livelihood, survival and to supplement their diet. Seamstresses and craftspeople in Nunavut often use seal skin for rope, tents, qajat (kayaks), clothing such as kamiik (snow boots) and pualut (mitts), providing warm and waterproof clothing for the long Nunavut winters."

While some unsurprisingly criticized the school for doing this, others praised the important cultural and life skills being taught to students. 

"Important life and cultural skills taught to #students today. The meat is shared and the skin will be used for further #teaching #Education & used to make warm clothing. #Inuit," someone else wrote

"Seal harvesting and skinning is an Inuit practice that has been traditionally passed down from generation to generation, so it is important to ensure that it is a part of Nunavut’s school curriculum," the spokesperson continued.

"Depending on the school, this traditional practice is taught by knowledgeable teachers or Elders. Students are taught how to harvest and prepare seal not just as a useful fur, but also for the rich meat that nourishes the community."

Besides this, students at Inuksuk High School spend some time building their own qamutiik, a sled designed to travel on snow and ice.

"The Department of Education's goal is to develop self-reliant, resilient young Nunavummiut, knowledgeable of their traditions and culture. The department works to provide a vibrant learning environment that encourages academic success, guided by Inuit tradition, culture, and values."

Perhaps the coolest class at Inuksuk High school, though, is the experiential learning class where students got to snorkel in the South Pacific.

Life skills classes aren't the only things different about Nunavut high schools. Students at Kugluktuk High School also take part in daily outdoor education which gives them the opportunity to check their fishing nets every day.

If only all high schools were this practical.

Lead photo by

Alan Sim

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What you learn at high school in Nunavut is a lot different than the rest of Canada