Education is the process of acquiring knowledge and being able to generate new knowledge in order that one may move forward. Jose Amaujaq Kusugak is the ultimate educator and guardian of Nunavut. His ability to foresee what was needed for our territory to grow and to be able to guide our steps was essential for the sustainability of our language and culture. When I think of Jose I think of a man so loving and kind he didn’t want to see his fellow Inuit of Nunavut not be able to have the great opportunities that we have. His hard work and dedication in the fields of education and politics have gotten us to where we are today, as a strong Inuit nation. His passion can still be felt when looking at the growth and development we see in communities that have strong teachers and a sense of purpose. That is something Jose gave to the youth; an opportunity to carry out our responsibility for the growth of our territory.
I grew up in Arviat, the third largest community in Nunavut, where the majority of its population is under 15. I recognized at a young age the importance of education and being able to access education in our own language with values of our traditional culture. It’s hard in an age where technology is growing to hold onto those values because so much of our society is changing. Choosing to study in the field of education at McGill University in Montreal wasn’t a hard choice to make. A value of the Inuit is being able to work together, something I’m learning a great deal about while in school in Quebec. To be given the opportunity to study in an environment that has had educational structures around for decades brings insight into how the education system may grow and change in Nunavut.
I want to be able to bring the knowledge that I have gained while away at school back to Nunavut. My growth as an individual depends of the growth of my community and homeland of Nunavut. Because my heart so craves for the best growth and development of Inuit and because I believe Inuit have knowledge that needs to be shared with the world at large as a teacher, I want
to be able to instill this passion to my students. To appreciate the environment around you, one must understand how it came to be. And an important aspect of teaching is educating students on the lives of people that have helped us along the path. Jose is a prime exemplar of dedicating his life to Inuit. His services in working with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. have brought about systems of ensuring Inuit are always protected in the eyes of the government, so that Inuit are recognized as prime owners of this land we call Nunavut.
I believe future educators have a responsibility to carry out what Jose started for us. I plan on using my Bachelors in Education degree to help in this process as well as look further into possible Masters Programs for future endeavours. I want to thank Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. for the opportunity to apply to such a great scholarship and to the Kusugak/Karetak family for sticking by such an amazing and inspirational person. Your support as a family was seen throughout the years and no one can succeed alone. There is always a support system surrounding successful people and I want to thank you for that.