After months of planning and coordination, today marked the beginning of the 2019 Arctic Expedition! Over the course of the last couple of days, 130 students arrived to Ottawa from 18 countries around the world! It was wonderful to welcome all of our students and begin the process of building friendships and knowledge of the journey ahead. Most exciting of all is that it’s only the beginning of the journey!
This morning, we not only began welcoming students from southern Canada and around the world, but we also wrapped up our final day of Saavittut at Nunavut Sivuniksavut with all of our northern participants.
For the final morning at Saavittut, our northern participants discussed what it means to be an ambassador for their home, and what it means to talk about your identity. They discussed people they admire from home, too.
Saavittut ended listening to a special surprise guest, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) Natan Obed. He encouraged the students to go into this expedition with an open mind. He also answered questions and spoke to what he loves about Inuit Nunangat.
The afternoon brought together all participants for a tour of the Canadian Museum of Nature thanks to our wonderful partnership with the museum, followed by the launch event and first expedition briefing by our Expedition Leader Geoff Green.
The launch event included an opening land acknowledgement and blessing by Elder Verna McGregor, performances by Inuit elder, educator and drum performer David Serkoak, details of the expedition itinerary and educational themes by Geoff Green, and inspiring words by guest speakers Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada; Inuit leader Mary Simon; and President of ITK Natan Obed.
Following the event, students participated in a series of ice breakers involving games and Arctic trivia! It was a great start to what will be an incredible journey!