Life in the North
The Inuit, First Nations and Métis youth population in the North are the youngest and fastest growing demographic in Canada. Sadly, the young people in these communities are among the nation’s most vulnerable, as they face a series of structural inequities and barriers that significantly impact their daily lives, including limited access to mental wellness services, health care, education, appropriate housing, healthy food, water, and safe spaces.
These inequities have contributed to Inuit and Indigenous youth facing the highest high school dropout rate and suicide rate in the country. They also face high levels of food insecurity, poor housing conditions, limited access to programs or supports, and a cultural disconnect due to the erosion of their culture through the loss of language and traditional knowledge – a result of intergenerational trauma and the legacy of Canada’s residential school system.
Hoping to help address these challenges, the Arctic Rose Foundation has researched and gained frontline experience with the communities we partner with. This has helped us to identify the following four key areas of need in Northern communities:
Gaps in education
Lack of after-school programs
Limited access to safe spaces and healthy food
By providing an emotionally safe space and a cultural connection facilitated through the expressive arts, the Arctic Rose Foundation helps Northern Inuit and Indigenous youth to recognize the strength, resilience, and knowledge that has always existed (and continues to exist) among their people. With many program participants coming from overcrowded homes where they do not have their own space, and have either experienced or witnessed abuse in some form, we offer an environment where youth can exercise control – control over their project and creations – which in turn helps to awaken their own sense of power. Youth are given a safe space, an emotional outlet, and access to Indigenous leaders, role models, and mentorship to help them deal with the challenges that are faced in the North, in an Indigenous-led environment that is dedicated to keeping them engaged, connected, nurtured and supported.
200 North Service Road West, Unit 1, Suite 355, Oakville, ON, L6M 2Y1
The Arctic Rose Foundation is a charitable organization that grew out of the Arctic Rose Project, started by Inuk singer-songwriter Susan Aglukark in 2012. Officially designated as a registered charity in 2016, and incorporated in 2020, the Arctic Rose Foundation works to support Northern Inuit, First Nations and Métis youth through the creation of Indigenous-led, arts-based after school programs, and other engaging cultural and creative projects.