Inuit artist, storyteller and educator from Nunavut, Canada

Becky Okatsiak was 20 years old when she joined SOI’s 2011 Arctic Expedition, an experience that gave her a new appreciation for the people, culture and land she calls home. After completing the Nunavut Sivuniksavut college program and a fine arts program at Algonquin College in Ottawa, Canada, she went from student to teacher, embracing her passion for Inuit art, culture and inspiring the next generation of Inuit youth.

 

The Expedition Experience

Becky will never forget the stories she heard on expedition, whether it was tales of Icelandic trolls during their bus ride through the country, learning about climate change, glacier and ocean life from scientists, or hearing about the Torngat Mountains – a spiritual place – from Inuit elders.

Realizing Goals & Ambitions

Becky joined her SOI expedition while she was a student in the Inuit educational program, Nunavut Sivuniksavut (NS), a college prep program that helped her deepen her understanding and appreciation for her Inuit history and culture.

“Nunavut Sivuniksavut gives us the knowledge and self-confidence to be proud of our self-identity. Our ancestors were taught to be ashamed to be Inuit, and this program has given us the power to take back our self-identity.”

“Educating others of our culture through performing and storytelling is one of my many passions.”

Making a Difference

Becky completed a Fine Arts program at Algonquin College. She has since leveraged the new perspectives she gained on expedition along with her fine arts training to teach Inuit art and culture to elementary school children.

Looking Ahead

Becky is known for her passion for her culture and hunger for knowledge. She enjoys the outdoors and goes out on the land as much as she can, going fishing, berry picking, and on trips to the cabin with family and friends. Becky became very passionate for her culture when she joined a choir in 2007. She practiced throat singing as much as she could with her sister and sang traditional songs, travelling to various places to perform. Since graduating from Nunavut Sivuniksavut and completing her Students on Ice expedition, Becky has more confidence and pride in herself as an Inuk and feels she now has a stronger voice as an individual. Gaining more knowledge of her identity as an Inuk has made her want to connect more with the environment on which her ancestors struggled and survived.

“I plan on building my voice through my art, and once I find my voice, I will fight to stand up for my people, the ones who were taught to be ashamed of who they are, the ones who were punished for speaking out. For them, I will speak.”