Gatineau (March 15, 2018) – On Thursday March 8, excitement ran high for students at Ulluriaq School in Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik, as they hosted the Gatineau-based charity I Love First Peoples for an all-day school celebration event.
Last fall, I Love First Peoples collected over 10,000 gift-filled shoeboxes, many of them filled by students in urban schools. Between March and May 2018, the shoeboxes are being distributed in remote and semi-remote Indigenous communities across Canada.
“When opening the shoeboxes, students at Ulluriaq School were thrilled to see pictures and videos that had been packed for them. They really felt the connection created by this gesture of friendship,” said Josée Lusignan, President and founding-member of I Love First Peoples. The students who prepared the shoeboxes are from St. Edmunds Elementary School in Beaconsfield and Symmes-D’Arcy McGee High School in Gatineau. They are eager to learn about Kangiqsualujjuaq and to receive the personal notes and colourful crafts that I Love First People will be bringing back to them next week.
“I am very happy of this partnership with I Love First Peoples. It’s a great way to educate the world about who we are as Inuit, the beauty and strength or our people,” said Nancy Etok, Vice-Principal at Ulluriaq School. “For our students it is an opportunity to engage in a positive exchange with youth from other parts of Canada and for them to feel they are an important and valued piece of a global mosaic,” she added.
I Love First Peoples also partnered with Inuit actor and champion Arctic games athlete Johnny Issaluk who delivered a powerful workshop to students. His personal and professional journey, his role as an ambassador for the Inuit culture and the stories he shared about survival in the Arctic environment were truly inspirational.
The day ended with a community event during which the film Indian Horse was premiered, ahead of its April release in theatres across Canada. The movie features Johnny Issaluk.
“We strongly believe in the power of connection and celebration,” said Josée Lusignan. “As we embark on a tour of 20 other communities, we want Indigenous students to know that they have much to be proud of and that Canada is eager to listen and learn from them,” she concluded.
I Love First Peoples is a Canadian registered charity that empowers Indigenous youth to succeed in school, through projects that foster reconciliation. With 30 chapters across Canada and numerous celebrity friends, we raise awareness on a large scale and provide youth with a platform through which they can be heard. For more information, please visit www.ilfp.ca
Kativik Ilisarniliriniq was created in 1975, under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA). Since 1978, it has been the exclusive provider of educational services to all Nunavik residents. Under the JBNQA, the school board also acts as an institution with unique powers and jurisdiction geared towards the protection and development of the Inuit language, culture, and way of life, through the delivery of tailored educational services and programs. The education programs developed by the school board are offered in all schools of the 14 Nunavik communities, in Inuktitut as first language and in French and English as second languages. The school board operates 17 primary and secondary schools as well as 5 adult education centres and a pre-college facility. More information can be found at: www.kativik.qc.ca
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For information, please contact:
I Love First Peoples