“I Hear the Sound of Rolling Thunder” – National Inuit Education Summit Concludes With a Sense of History in the Making
Thursday April 17, 2008 – Inuvik, Northwest Territories – The National Inuit Education Summit concluded today on an upbeat note, and with substantial progress on a protocol that would establish a national steering committee to advance Inuit education.
In her closing address to the Summit, National Inuit leader Mary Simon, President of ITK said, “If people ask us back home if we heard anything new at the Education Summit, I will say, ‘Yes, I heard the sound of rolling thunder.’ That is the sound, in Nunatsiavut, in Nunavik, in Nunavut and in the Inuvialuit Region, of Inuit rising up to reclaim our role as stewards of our children’s education. Through our land claims, Inuit have taken back the stewardship of our land and our resources, and now, we have our eyes firmly set on transforming our education systems. We must build on our successes.”Mary Simon also acknowledged the work done by the 75 Summit delegates in reviewing four substantial research papers distributed to participants prior to the event. The papers provided the foundation for discussion and debate during the six themed breakout sessions: Capacity building; Building post-secondary success; Investing in what we teach and how we teach; Graduating bilingual students; Mobilizing partners in education; and collecting and sharing information.
The first ever National Inuit Education Summit was marked by the participation of Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada, who delivered the Summit keynote address on Tuesday April 15th.
“The presence of Governor General Jean helped us enormously,” emphasized Mary Simon. “Her speech to the delegates was truly inspiring, and captured the essence of what we are working to achieve – collectively – for our children and youth.”
“I imagine a day when we will have a much higher degree of students completing high school and moving on to University to achieve their dreams, whether it be a doctor, lawyer, teacher and other professions,” said Mary Simon. “Where students will be taught in the Inuit language as well as English and French.”
Ms. Simon concluded with this statement to the Summit delegates, “Let us look back at this Summit, ten years from now, and be able to say that this was the moment, when Inuit along with their land claims organizations, school boards and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and all levels of government began working together at a national level – and it was this decision, and this national commitment that changed the experience of our children’s education forever.”
Senior Communications Officer
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami