The Arviat Film Society
Arviat is a predominantly Inuit city in the high western Arctic, and the third largest in Canada’s newest province, Nunavut. For more than two years, a group of volunteer Inuit youth in the community has dedicated time and energy to create multi-media projects aimed at investigating, documenting, and broadcasting local history from an Inuit point of view.
The Arviat Film Society grew out the Nanisiniq (meaning ‘journey of discovery’ in Inuktitut) Arviat History Project, which began in 2010. The Inuit elders of Arviat initiated the History Project in order to bridge the generational gap between themselves and local youth. They asked Dr. Frank Tester at University of British Columbia School of Social work to assist the project, which secured two-year funding from Canada’s Social Science and Humanities Research Council.
For decades, Inuit Elders have expressed concern about the knowledge Inuit youth have of their own social history and culture. This project brings together Inuit youth and Elders in an exploration of their history and culture from an Inuit point of view. The progress of the project and the insights and discoveries of Elders and youth are documented on this website. Elders and youth are also filming their experience and interviewing, not only Elders in their community, but Qablunaat [southerners] who came north in the late 1950s and 1960s, a period of phenomenal change among Aviarmiut. In about 10 years the Inuit of Arviat went from tents and igloos, land-based camps and a predominantly hunting culture, to living together in the settlement originally known as ‘Eskimo Point’ and now called Arviat. This is possibly the fastest rate of change for any group of Indigenous people, anywhere in the world, in all of recorded history. The impacts on culture, physical and mental health, social relations and well-being have been dramatic.