Current Initiative

Jose Amaujaq Kusugak Scholarship Program

Mavis Ell


Jose Amaujaq Kusugak

Our culture and language continues to grow and it was fought for by an amazing Inuit leader, Jose Kusugak. Jose is the reason why our amazing territory was created. He spread his expressions and thoughts about why our country needed to create Our Land: for the purpose of our culture and language. Jose is the reason the Inuit culture and Inuktitut continue to stay strong, and I appreciate that. He fought for what he believed in and gave Inuit such a great identity.

Jose is a great role model in Nunavut because he fought for what he believed in, and because he was always such a friendly man and shared his humour with everybody. He is who I will remember when I share who I am and what is important to me. I didn’t know Jose personally, but I’ve read about him and heard about him, and I knew he was the perfect leader to fight for us.

I am currently taking the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in Iqaluit and just completed my first year. It is not common to have an Inuk nurse in Nunavut who speaks Inuktitut fluently. Therefore, I will take advantage of this opportunity to use my language in my future career and spread Inuit culture to the rest of Nunavummiut and show how unique Inuit are.

My goal is to keep our language and culture strong in Nunavut, and in order for me to achieve it, I will continue to speak Inuktitut throughout my studies and encourage Nunavummiut to keep it strong. I teach my fellow colleagues Inuktitut words and phrases that they want to know, and I want to help them learn Inuktitut. I often share with them information about Inuit culture and I share it with pride. Jose fought for Inuit rights and I will show my appreciation by promoting Inuktitut and the Inuit culture in my years of nursing.

I have just recently learned that Jose created the standardized Inuktitut language and writing system. It immediately caught my attention because I love writing in roman orthography and prefer to use it. I can also read and write in Inuktitut syllabics, which I am proud of because it identifies me to the world as an Inuk. The writing system for Inuktitut is a great way that identifies Inuit.

I take my education very seriously, and I encourage everybody to fulfill their educational goals as it will help guide them to realize what is important to them. As Jose said, education is the key to Inuit cultural survival. My dream is to use my education about Inuit and my new knowledge of nursing by traveling throughout Canada and spread my expression and thoughts about Inuit and Nunavut just as Jose did. I want to share my language, my culture and how important Inuit rights are.

Jose stood strong while fighting for Nunavut and I use that as a motivation to keep Inuit culture and language alive.