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First Northern Women in NWT Qualify as Canada Wide Post-Secondary Teachers from the Northern Learning Institute

By:  Eddie Dean Kolausok, Yellowknife
North West Territories, Canada
December 2004

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Coleen McKay - 1 of 2 first norhtern/arctic women to qualify to teach  at post secondary insitutions in Canada

On December 13, 2004 the Academy of Learning announced that two women, Nicole Mercredi and Colleen Mackay, have become the first Northerners to complete their Facilitator training, qualifying them to teach unsupervised at over 100 post-secondary institutions across Canada.

The Academy of Learning is owned and operated by The Northern Learning Institute which is a 100% northern company.  Nunasi Corporation representing the Inuit of Nunavut is the majority owner along with partner David Connelly from Yellowknife.  Danny Autut, from Rankin Inlet is Chairman of the Northern Learning Institute.  Mr. Autut made a special effort to attend the ceremony in Yellowknife in which the two new Facilitators were recognized for their achievement.  Mr. Autut stated, "This is a significant accomplishment for both these women and they should feel proud of their professional achievements. This is a significant step forward for us at the Institute and we are pleased with the progress we've made in developing northern staff."

Both Mercredi and Mackay are northern born and raised.  Mercredi is of Métis ancestry. She has lived in Yellowknife all her life and is very happy about her experience at the Academy of Learning. She states,

"I started out as a student here in 1998. I took some courses then I completed a Diploma in Computerized Accounting in 2003. After that I took the Facilitator program and completed it. I was hired to work as a Facilitator by the Academy of Learning after successfully completing the program." Mackay is of Inuit ancestry. She is born in Qikiqtaruag and raised in Iqaluit, Nunavut and now lives and works in Yellowknife for the Academy. 

Mackay told Provenance [ ],

"I completed my Diploma in Computerized Accounting in 2003 then I went on to take the Facilitator training program and completed all courses. I will be eligible for my plaque in May when I complete my practicum. 

Both Mercredi and Mackay had to complete a challenging program of 35 post-secondary courses and achieve over 90% on each nationally set exam to qualify for the Facilitator designation. In addition, they also had to successfully complete on-the-job training.

"I really like working with people and helping them achieve their goals," states Mercredi and continues, "The Academy of Learning is a great organization to learn and work with. They helped me buy a computer which I paid off slowly but more importantly it helped me stay at home with my children while I worked on my courses through distance education."

Flexibility and partnerships have long been a hallmark of the North and its people. Today more than ever there is a need for home grown talent to engage in education and training that will allow northerners to take on the jobs in the North's rapidly expanding economy. The Academy of Learning has positioned itself as a northern owned and operated company to engage this task. They deliver programs via computer based training, portable labs, corporate labs, distance learning and traditional classroom settings. Programs include nationally accredited post-secondary diplomas in fields including: administration; bookkeeping; office management; and systems administration. As the North is a large geographic area which encompasses one third of Canada's land mass, Institutes like the Academy of Learning, have to be flexible in their delivery. To accommodate the vast North, the Academy of Learning also offers custom designed training for communities and employers and well as stand-alone office and computer application courses.

In speaking about the accomplishments of its two newly trained Facilitators, Danny Autut said, "We've made a multi-year commitment to recruit and train home-grown nationally qualified staff to educate Northerners. This is a major step in the right direction." Provenance salutes Nicole Mercredi and Colleen Mackay on your recent success as well as the Northern Learning Institute's Academy of Learning. The North will prosper and local people will benefit as more and more northerners engage quality education opportunitie

Return to more Arctic Short Stories and Poems from Provenance Magazine Arctic Journalist-Column



My Frozen Tears

Mom, I yelled,
As loud as a shivering snared rabbit.
She slipped out of my sight
Into the night
Beyond my reach,
Away from my screech.

All alone I stared
As the West Wind glared,
Acknowledging an ice blue sight.
Fight turned to fright
On that crisp cold Inuvik night.
Icicles pierced my eyes
As I longed to be near the comfort of her.

Stripped of her security.
Unable to enter the liquid oasis
Where confused souls lapped up false happiness,
It all vibrated with madness,
The crushing sadness
Had finally mutilated mom's gladness.

Too young to delegate blame,
I had no choice but to wait, watch, wonder, and worry in pain. How insane!
Oh! The pain, the pain.
Like being lost in frigid waters,
I felt that only mom could pull me from
My Frozen Tears.

© 2004 Eddie Dean Kolausok,
YellowKnife, North West Territories, Canada


Other Publications & Writings of Eddie D. Kolausok

  • Across Time and Tundra:  The Inuvialuit of the Western Arctic by Ishmael Alunik, Eddie D. Kolausok & David Morrison.  Published by Raincoast Books in partnership with the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the University of Washington Press, ISBN I-55192-645-8
    The book won the following awards in 2004: Lela Common Award from the Canadian Writer's Association; CLIO Award from Canadian Historical Association.

  • "Call me Ishmael:  Memories of an Inuvialuk Elder" by Ishmael Alunik. Published by Kolausok Ublaaq Enterprises KUE, N.W.T. Canada, ISBN 0-9684571-0-X

    CLICK to see back cover of this book with photos of Inuit elder Ishmael Alunik at age 31 and 75 at his home in Inuvik, North West Territories NWT, Canada
AURORA SHINING - Book cover  - by Eddie Kolausok - clik for enlargement of image
  • Aurora Shining by  Eddie D. Kolausok. Published by KUE ISBN 0-9684571-1-8


Contact Eddie Kolausok at


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Computer Teaching Lab at Yellowknife's Post Secondary - Academy of Learning showing newly qualified Colleen MacKay working with student

Glossary-Dictionary of INUVIALUIT Words-Terms

Each native word-term below is followed by their English translation-meaning in quotation marks

  • Mahsi Cho "means thank you in the Gwich'in Dene language"
  • Alappaa "it's cold!"
  • Alii "an expression one uses when alarmed or fearing something"
  • Anaqanaallu "see you later"
  • Aqqali "an expression of unexpectedness, surprise, like saying wow"
  • Ata "listen"
  • Ilaanilu "see you sometime; good bye"
  • Ilaanniptauq "see you too"
  • Imaniittuaq "its like this"
  • Imanna "like this"
  • Kia "whose?"
  • Kia una "whose is this?"
  • Kiilu "again, some more"
  • Kina "who?"
  • Kina una "who is this?"
  • Nakinngaqpit "where from?"
  • Nani "Where?"
  • Nutim "in fact, actually"
  • Naung "where?"
  • Pipsaarung "do it again!"
  • Piung "go ahead and do it"
  • Qakugulu "see you soon, good-bye"
  • Quanuq "when?"
  • Qanuq "how?"
  • Qanuq akitutigivaa "How much does it cost?"
  • Qanuq ukiuqtutigiva "how old is he?"
  • Qanuq taivakpiung "What do you call it?"
  • Qanurviituq "It can't be helped! Too bad"
  • Qilamik "Hurry up!"
  • Qiqauniqtuaq "It's cold out!"
  • Quyanainni "thank you"
  • Suksaq "What for?"
  • Sulimava "What is he doing?"
  • Suliuqpa "What is he making?"
  • Sumi "Where?"
  • Sumiitpa "Where is he?"
  • Sumiutauvit "Where are you from?"
  • Sumukpaung "what time is it?"
  • Suna "What?"
  • Suna Una "What is this?"
  • Sunngituq "It doesn't matter: its Okay"
  • Suniaqpa "What shall he do?"
  • Suukiaq "I wonder why!"
  • Suuq "Why? Of How come?"
  • Suva "What?"
  • Suvit "What are you doing?"
  • Suvit uvva "What's the matter with you?"
  • Taima "That's all! Don't enough!"
  • Taimaniittuaq "it's like that"
  • Taimanna "like that"
  • Ubla akunlu "see you tomorrow!"
  • Ublaami "Good morning"
  • Uvva "here it is!"

SIGLITUN words that can be used around Christmas season:

  • Qitchirvik "Christmas"
  • Patquyaq "candle"
  • Uqummiaqataaq "candy"
  • Iqidjraq "angle"
  • Naguk "antler"
  • Mukpaq "ball"
  • Aviluraun "bell"
  • Kimmingnaq "cranberry"
  • Angaatdjuvik "church"
  • Qilaun " Drum Dance"
  • Kasaktuaq " Beats a drum"
  • Qilausiyaqtuaq " is drumdancing"
  • Akutuq " Eskimo ice cream"
  • Savaqutit "Jewels"
  • Atuqtuuyaqtuaq " plays music"
  • Qun'ngiq "Reindeer"
  • Quamutik "sled"
  • Atuun "song"
  • Ubluriaq "star"

The above is a working sample dictionary by Provenance's Arctic Correspondent for Inuvialuit words.


Useful Arctic Aboriginal-Native Cultural & Language Resources

  • "Inuvialuit Cultural Resource Centre (ICRC), Inuvik N.W.T. Languages in the Community | Goals and Objectives | Funding | Impacts and Effects
    The Inuvialuit Settlement Region consists of six communities: Inuvik, Tuktoyaktuk, Aklavik, Holman Island, Sachs Harbour, and Paulatuk. The approximately 3500 Inuvialuit are Inuit who speak three dialects of Inuvialuktun." [quote fr. website 041215]

  • Gwich'in Social & Cultural Centre
    Site in 3 official languages: English | Gwich'in | Français / French
    [download the Dene font for your computer-web browser here!]

  • Environmental changes influence Inuit health in the Canadian Arctic
    "Through a 1.475 million dollar grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research - Institute of Aboriginal Peoples´ Health (CIHRIAPH), a Centre is being established for education, training and research on Inuit Health and Changing Environments based at the Public Health Research Unit, CHUL-CHUQ, Laval University (Quebec). This Centre is one of many being established in a network across the country by IAPH (ACADRE Program: Aboriginal Capacity and Developmental Research Environments) to address Aboriginal health training and research needs." [website 2004/12/15]

    "Inuvialuit Ethnobotany:  Exploring the Relationship between People and Plants in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR), Northwest Territories

    Principal Researcher: Michael Salomons, (M.Sc., Conservation Biology) Manager of Research Programmes, Aurora Research Institute, Box 1450, 191 Mackenzie Road, Inuvik, NT X0E 0T0; Tel. (867) 777-4628; "[quote website 041215]

  • Aulavik National Park of Canada
    Table of Contents

  • North West Territories, NWT Literary Council
    includes "status of aboriginal languages in the NWT" and "statements of aboriginal language activists"

  • Aboriginal Arts and Culture
    A major collection of website links for aboriginal information from around the world, including Canada, USA, Mexico, Australia etc.

The two websites below are important sites as they are the main pages for both the Gwich'in and the Inuvialuit in their hard work to preserve their languages:


see also

North West Territories Information

Yukon Territory Information

University of Alberta Law Students' Web Magazine

Canadian Historical Association

  • "...Founded in 1922 and fully bilingual, the Canadian Historical Association is a national organization dedicated to historical research and scholarship in all fields of history." [quote fr. website 2004-12-14]

Canadian Council on Social Development Statistics & Information Reports Etc.