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About Us


Pirurvik is a centre of excellence for Inuit language, culture and well-being. Founded in the Fall of 2003, and based in Nunavut’s capital, Iqaluit, Pirurvik has developed a reputation for taking on some of the most innovative initiatives in the Territory. Through its team of highly skilled and experienced professionals, Pirurvik offers a range of specialized services, programs and productions grounded in the Inuktitut language and the Inuit way of life.


Pirurvik’s activities are focused on three core concepts: learning what has come before, teaching what is here today and developing the future vitality of Inuit culture and the Inuktitut language.

The People at Pirurvik:


The Pirurvik Centre has developed its reputation on the basis of the strength of its employees, affiliates and most importantly, our Elder advisors. Each person brings with them a unique interest and depth of experience working in the area of Inuit culture, language and wellbeing.

 

  OUR FOUNDERS

LEENA EVIC, President

Leena is the founder, vision keeper and President of Pirurvik. Born and raised on the land, Leena has pursued life interests emphasizing education, culture, language and healing. Leena has a Bachelor’s of Education from McGill University where she was also a Master’s candidate, emphasizing research in educational leadership and culture-based education. She has worked as a teacher, principal and curriculum developer and has extensive management experience in government and Inuit organizations. In 2015 she received the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Cross in recognition of her commitment to restoring and maintaining Inuit traditional knowledge. 

 

 

GAVIN NESBITT, Director

Gavin is a co-founder of Pirurvik and has been instrumental in establishing the operations of the business and ensuring its success. He is a social entrepreneur with a strong interest in supporting innovation and solutions that come from within communities. He is known for designing and implementing projects that use technology to improve the ability of people to access and share information, especially in Inuktut. Most recently, those projects include Pirurvik’s tools for using Inuktut and syllabic fonts on mobile phones and tablets. Gavin strongly believes that the creation of Nunavut offers historic opportunities for Inuit to take the lead in shaping the future of the Arctic.

   
 

OUR ELDER PROFESSORS

The teachings and inspiration of our Elders is at the heart of all Pirurvik programs and productions. They play a critical role in the creation and delivery of Pirurvik's programs. Some of our key Elder Professors include:

 

Meeka Arnakak, Elder Professor

Meeka is well-known as an adult educator, healer, musician and cultural knowledge-keeper.  She has also written a series of manuals on Inuit approaches to child rearing and healing and working in cross-cultural environments.  These were published by Nunavut Arctic College. Meeka was born and raised in the area of Cumberland Sound and today lives in Panniqtuuq. Meeka is a lead instructor for our Inuktut First Language programs, as well as our Ingalangaitukuurvik initiative. Her career as a unilingual Inuktut speaking adult educator has prepared her to lead the team of Elder lecturers in developing and delivering Ingalangaittukuurvik. 

 

Miriam (Nilaulaaq) Aglukkaq, Elder Professor

Miriam has maintained a life-long commitment to the advancement of Inuit culture and language. Originally from the area around Gjoa Haven, her knowledge of Inuktut, particularly the Nattilingmiut dialect, has been demonstrated in her work on dictionaries, Inuit songs and drumming and the archiving of traditional Inuit knowledge. Miriam is an Elder professor who has participated on Pirurvik initiatives since 2011. She brings a wealth of experience in delivering lectures and seminars to the project. 

 

Joanasie Karpik, Elder Professor

Joanasie Karpik, a respected Elder born in the Netsilik area, later settling in Pangnirtung, has been an invaluable resource for Pirurvik’s Uqqaritsautit traditional terminology course, and the Ingalangaittukuurvik program.  A hunter, carpenter and community worker with a broad range of knowledge of traditional Inuit life, he has been a strong contributor to many Nunavut organizations, including the Inuit Heritage Trust, Hamlet Office, Inuit Co-op, Hunters and Trappers Organization and many others.

 

Atoat Akittiq, Elder Professor

Born in the area of Iglulik in 1935, Atoat is a respected Elder who is widely renowned for the depth of her knowledge on Inuit topics.  Atoat was part of the research and story-writing for the critically acclaimed film, “Atanaarjuat,” and has been a reliable and valued contributor to Pirurvik's programs since 2004.  Atoat is a key Elder professor for Pirurvik’s efforts to train the next generation of Elder knowledge-keepers.  She is an experienced lecturer who will provide valuable support to other Elder professors in adopting more formal teaching methods. 

   
  OUR DEDICATED STAFF
 

Eva Aariak, Director of Language Training

Pirurvik was very fortunate to have Eva join our executive team to lead the development and delivery of our Inuktitut programming.  Throughout her career, as Nunavut’s Premier, and Languages Commissioner, as an educator and a journalist as well as the owner of Malikkaat a successful Inuit gift shop, Eva has been a tireless promoter of Inuit language and culture.  As we research and document the most advanced forms of Inuktut, Eva plays an invaluable role in working both with our Elder knowledge keepers and with Pirurvik students who will become those knowledge keepers in the years ahead.   

 

Chris Douglas, Director of Productions

Chris leads our team of developers and designers, taking our materials from ideas to final production.  After obtaining a Masters in Spanish from the University of Toronto, he arrived in Iqaluit in 2000 and has been studying and learning Inuktut ever since.  Pirurvik’s focus on language, culture and wellbeing drives a steady need for teaching and learning resources in multiple dialects.  All of the materials Pirurvik uses in its programs – both print and digital – are original productions that we have developed.

 

Myna Ishulutak, Senior Instructor

Myna has over 15 years of experience as an Adult Educator and Inuit Language and Culture specialist in Nunavut.  She holds diplomas from Nunavut Arctic College in the areas of Social Work and Inuit Studies. As a young person she grew up on the land near Panniqtuuq. This experience provided her with an extensive education in Inuktut Inuit knowledge and traditional camp life.  She is a warm and encouraging instructor, and currently leads our Inuktut Second Language teaching in Iqaluit.

 

Amanda Kuluguqtuq, Senior Instructor

Amanda is a graduate of the Nunavut Teacher Education Program (NTEP) who started her career teaching in Apex, and later at Iqaluit’s Joamie School.  As the Executive Director for Tumikuluit Saipaaqivik, she led Iqaluit’s only Inuktut immersion daycare.  Amanda grew up in a rich Inuktut speaking and cultural environment in Panniqtuuq with her maternal grandparents.  As well as teaching courses in our Inuktitut Revitalization program for Inuit and second langauge for beginners, Amanda assists with the design, writing and teaching of new programs and learning resources. 

 

Cathy McCullough, Program Support Co-ordinator

As a graduate of the English Literature program of Queen’s University, Cathy has always been intrigued by linguistics and the crucial role of language to society.  In past roles in office management, technical development and digital editing she acquired a broad range of skills and an attention to detail.  Cathy plays a pivotal role in co-ordinating Pirurvik’s range of activities throughout Nunavut, ensuring that instructors, students and resources all come together at the right time and place.

   OUR ASSOCIATES
 

Liz Fowler, Curriculum Development Consultant

Originally from Iglulik, Liz has pursued a career in education and curriculum development.  She co-authored “Inuuqatigiit, the Curriculum from the Inuit Perspective.” With its focus on strengthening Inuit language and culture in the community, this was the first curriculum for primary and secondary schools developed by Inuit educators. Liz has participated in the development of our Inuktut Revitalization program as well as evaluation tools for assessing the language skills of Inuktut speakers.  

 

Janet Tamalik McGrath, Language Consultant

Janet Tamalik McGrath is a fluent speaker of Nattilingmiutut who was educated in the Arctic and worked as a translator before completing her PhD in Canadian Studies and Political Economy at Carleton University. Tamalik is a strong proponent of supporting Nunavut communities in developing their own research interests and approaches. With Pirurvik she has contributed extensively to our Inuktut program development, instructional techniques and documentation.

 

Jessie Lyall, Instructor for Qitirmiut

Jessie is a lifelong educator and highly experienced instructor in Inuinnaqtun.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Education through the University of Prince Edward Island, a Bachelor’s of Education from McGill University and teaching certificates from the Northwest Territories. Dedicated to the preservation of the Inuinnaqtun dialect, Jessie is a gifted instructor who inspires her students with her positive approach and great sense of humour. She lives in Cambridge Bay, where she and her husband Bill both play active roles in the community. 

  Bernadette Niviatsiak, Senior Instructor
Bernadette joined Pirurvik’s team in 2012, and has delivered Inuktut training in across Nunavut. Bernadette served as the Secretary-Treasurer of Nunavut Tunngavik and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Manitoba, and a Management Development Certificate from The Banff Centre School of Management.  Bernadette never fails to motivate and energize the students she works with.