Every year for 16 years, with the advice and experience of seven to eight local guides, I took my junior high class of Inuit teenagers by snowmobile across Baffin Island from Iqaluit to Kimmirut, a small town of about 440 people in Nunavut. We hunted en route, stayed there three to four days, got to know the community and ended our visit by going ice fishing with our hosts on the last afternoon, often catching well over 100 fish.
The objective overall was to make a comparative study of the two communities both before, during and after the trip, experiencing travel the Inuit way but building the experience into an English language exercise as well.
For many of the kids it was their first time away from home and their first fishing trip, an adventure that provided the chance to combine their land skills, life skills and academic studies, a cross-cultural approach which strengthened the link between the school and the community it served. We always took an elder or two, the group’s surrogate parents, thus making the trip something of a family affair.