Inuit youth advocate and teacher from Arviat, Nunavut, Canada

Ruth Kaviok is a young Inuk woman from Arviat, an elementary school educator and an advocate for Inuit youth across Inuit Nunangat. During her Students on Ice expedition Ruth realized her passion for Inuit rights and climate change and not long afterwards found herself speaking about both from local classroom to the United Nations.

Expedition Experience

Visiting Greenland for the first time and listening to the Greenlandic Inuktitut dialect were some inspiring moments for Ruth from her SOI expedition in 2015. Throughout the expedition Ruth experienced moments of culture shock, but she fondly recalls that spending time with her pod group helped to build connections and friendships through pod cheer competitions, zodiac rides, and hiking. She enjoyed visiting the historical sites, learning the history of the land, and listening in on the panel discussions. Overall, the whole expedition was very inspiring.

Realizing Goals & Ambitions

After her expedition experience Ruth participated in an Entrepreneurship program where she brought a hydroponics greenhouse to her community of Arviat, Nunavut. Ruth and her community used the greenhouse to grow fruit and vegetables to help combat the food insecurity that results from the high costs of food and necessities. As other priorities came forward – including attending first year at Nunavut Sivuniksavut – Ruth took a break from her business, but hopes to be able to return to it soon.

"I’ll never forget the moment of when cultures fused and we became one big happy family."

Making A Difference

From 2017 to 2019 Ruth represented Inuit youth from across Inuit Nunangat when she was elected as President of the National Inuit Youth Council. During this time Ruth did her best to speak to the impacts of climate change and hardships that face Inuit youth today, attending meeting focused on Suicide Prevention, Pro-sealing, and Embrace Life to name a few. In December 2018 Ruth attended the UN Climate Change Conference COP24 and spoke about the impacts of climate change across the Arctic, the importance of Indigenous Knowledge in decision making about those impacts, and the urgent need to respect and recognize Indigenous rights.

Looking Ahead

Helping others while travelling is one of Ruth’s many passions. After attending Nunavut Sivuniksavut, Ruth joined the Canada World Youth participants in Mato, Peru where she spent a number of months volunteering with crops, cleaning wasted areas, and building ovens/stoves. Today Ruth is back living in Arviat continuing to work with and support Inuit youth by teaching at the community’s elementary school.

"This was a start of making connections with other people from around our nation and parts of the world to work as one to make our home a better place for all of us."