“Do you want to get out more on the floor?” This is one of the questions being asked to members of the Inuvialuit community in a national Inuit-led survey underway in the Beaufort-Delta region.
The Inuvialuit are the first to initiate a survey across Canada, which looks at their health and wellness.
The Qanuippitaa? National Inuit Health Survey It is developed by Inuit from across the country, with the help of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), the national Inuit organization. Qanuippitaa? It means “How are you?” In Inuktitut.
Data collection for the Canada-wide Inuit Health Survey began in the Inuvialuit settlement area in northern NWT on January 18. The survey aims to get a picture of Inuit health, and what can be done to improve it.
The information collected is anonymous and will help monitor and inform Inuit policies and programs across the country.
a The survey of the same name was first conducted in 2004 In the Nunavik region of Quebec. The survey is the first of its kind in the country, said Nali Ruan-Witaluktuk, who helps lead the ITK project.
Ruan-Wittaluktuk said the survey would be repeated in five years.
The survey was first announced in 2018. The federal government has allocated $82 million over 10 years, plus $6 million annually for the permanent survey.
“We’re looking to really understand from an Inuit perspective, what are the gaps? What are the strengths?” Ruan Whitalok Tok said how do you describe how Qanuipita? It is different from other surveys conducted by governments or universities.
“The most important part is that the data reflects Inuit life,” said Ruan-Witaloctok, an Enoch, of Quejuac, Que. “This requires adapting the ways we collect data, and making sure that our field workers are from the area.” [and] They are well trained.”
“I’m really excited, not only did the survey itself, but it did a lot of good training, like suicide prevention training,” said Inuvik’s field worker Olivia Sidney.
Sydney, aged 19, is one of seven Innovialuit workers and two Guichen field workers hired by the regional Innovialuit company.
Field workers travel through the Inuvialuit settlement area, gathering confidential information about people’s mental and physical health.
Sydney said survey questions range from topics like food insecurity to dental health, “which is something else that’s really been neglected here and hopefully for better services.”
People share their experiences with a field worker in a special kiosk, before meeting with a nurse and dental hygienist. The whole process takes about an hour.
In larger communities, such as Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk, participants were randomly selected. In smaller ones like Sachs Harbor, anyone can participate.
Participants receive a $50 gift certificate for completing each survey item, for a total of $100. In Inuvik, it’s for Stanton’s grocery store.
Sydney, who conducted the survey herself, said that “it was good to interact, learn and understand what is happening [Inuit] they pass.
“It helped me get out of my shell a lot,” she said.
Sadie Lister of Polatock is another Inuvialuit field worker. It helps participants feel comfortable.
“It is heartbreaking to know that there are a lot of Inuit here in the north who need help,” Lister said. “We need the programs here in every community to help the Inuit here live a better life.”
Lister, who is herself a boarding school survivor, said she hopes the survey will lead to programs that can help people heal. “There’s no need to be shy,” she said. “By counseling, through drug and alcohol programs, I find that you don’t have to live with the violence of abuse, you can break the cycle.”
Inuvialuit’s last day to conduct the survey is May 16 at Sachs Harbor. It will take about a year to compile the results, said Elizabeth Kolb, a spokeswoman for the International Rescue Committee.
In addition to Inuit Nunangat – which includes the settlement area of Inuvialuit, Nunavut, Nunavik and Nunatsiavut – the survey will be conducted in the southern regions as well, starting in Ottawa.