Minister Vandal visits the Aqqiumavvik Society’s Young Hunters Program 

News release

August 10, 2021 — Arviat, Nunavut — Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Today Minister Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, met with members of the Aqqiumavvik Society’s Young Hunters Program to discuss the community-led initiative.

Minister Vandal had the opportunity to see young people operate ocean-mapping technology, tour the Ujjiqsuiniq Shop for a net making workshop, and discuss the importance of Indigenous knowledge and on-the-land learning with participants. Minister Vandal also visited the community kitchen project, which was developed to address food insecurity in the community. Today’s meeting was an in-person follow up to a discussion the Minister and the Young Hunters Program had last summer that was held virtually due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Since 2018, the Program has been helping to build climate resilience, improve food security and increase community wellness. Working with Elders to document the knowledge and skills required for youth to become masters in sustainable harvesting is at the heart of this program. In addition, teaching hunting and survival skills, such as measurement of ice conditions, also provides an opportunity for youth to learn about the impacts of climate change.

The Government of Canada continues to work closely with partners to advance Inuit-driven solutions that support and reflect Inuit priorities. Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada’s Climate Change Preparedness in the North program, Indigenous Community-Based Climate Monitoring Program and Harvester’s Support Grant, as well as Indigenous Services Canada’s Climate Change and Health Adaptation Program are proud supporters of the Young Hunters Program. Through these programs, the Government of Canada recognizes the importance of traditions, as well as hunting, harvesting, and food sharing, on the health and well-being of Indigenous people and communities.

The Harvesters Support Grant is helping to address the financial and knowledge barriers identified as factors limiting the harvesting of country foods, while also assisting communities to adapt to changes in harvesting resulting from climate change. Announced in 2020, the Grant is improving access to traditional foods by supporting hunting, harvesting and food sharing activities in 108 eligible communities. The Harvesters Support Grant was co-developed with Indigenous partners and is a direct contributor to helping improve food security in Inuit Nunangat.


“The Young Hunters program is an example of developing Inuit-led solutions to address climate change, food security and community well-being. I want to thank the Aqqiumavvik Society and Young Hunters for taking the time to show me the excellent work they are doing in their community and talking with me about their experiences. There is no shortage of resilience and innovative ideas coming from these young people. We see programs like the Young Hunters Program and the co-developed Harvesters Support Grant as essential parts of a broader and more integrated solution to improving food security and climate monitoring.”

The Honourable Daniel Vandal, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Northern Affairs

“Our Ujjiqsuiniq Young Hunters Program is embedded in the Inuit cultural process of inunnguiniq, which literally means to make a capable human being, and in the expectation that every child be taught to think deeply and develop the ability to seek solutions and persist in difficult circumstances. Every child is expected to become as skilled and capable as can possibly be so that they can actively contribute those skills to improving the lives of people around them. Inuit culture holds high expectations for learning. Ujjiqsuiniq seeks to meet those expectations by creating opportunities which will build confidence and hope and enable youth to move forward in life. The impacts of this program for youth, and for the community as a whole, strongly supports personal awareness, growth, cultural practices and wellbeing. The spin-off is the outcome of engaging youth and community members in the active mitigation of environmental conditions.”

Shirley Tagalik
Chair, Aqqiumavvik Society

“The Ujjiqsuiniq Young Hunters Program is committed to promoting quality of life, Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (Inuit Knowledge), having continual learning opportunities, IQ based research, bridging the gap between western science and indigenous knowledge, sustainable harvesting, and so much more.

The Ujjiqsuiniq program is truly a holistic program that covers all areas in life. Here at Aqqiumavvik we have had the privilege to offer this program and others with the help of Federal funding. It is very much appreciated and so many lives are forever changed because of it. This is the true intent of the program to holistically build up our youth, immersed in our culture, bringing families together, building skills all to live a good life. We would like to thank the Honourable Minister Daniel Vandal for taking the time to visit our programs, it has been an awesome experience, especially for the Ujjiqsuiniq program participants. Matna.”

Kukik Baker
Executive Director, Aqqiumavvik Society

"The Young Hunters program has had an immense positive impact on participants - giving them opportunities to learn skills that will stay with them for a lifetime. I look forward to seeing the continued success of this important program and thank our Federal partners for their continued support. Chronic unemployment and poverty in Arviat mean that some young people are without opportunities to spend time on the land. The Young Hunters program helps break down these barriers for youth participants - allowing them to practice Inuit culture, see amazing places, and learn important skills."

John Main
M.L.A for Arviat North-Whale Cove, Legislative Assembly of Nunavut

Quick facts

  • The Young Hunters Program is supported by Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada through the Climate Change Preparedness in the North and Indigenous Community-Based Climate Monitoring Programs and Nutrition North Canada’s Harvesters Support Grant. Indigenous Services Canada also provides funding through the Climate Change and Health Adaptation Program as a result of a strong partnership and memorandum of understanding between this program and the Climate Change Preparedness in the North Program. 

  • In February 2020, Minister Vandal announced an investment of $1.23 million to the program. Federal funding to the program breaks down as follows:

    • $412,062 over three years from 2018-to-March 31st, 2021, is being provided through the Climate Change Preparedness in the North Program.
    • $375,000 over three years from 2018-to-March 31st, 2021, is being provided through Indigenous Community-Based Climate Monitoring Program.
    • $439,954.00 over four years from 2018-2022 is being provided through Indigenous Services Canada’s Climate Change and Health Adaptation Program.
  • Nutrition North Canada’s Harvesters Support Grant is one of the first initiatives developed under a decolonization model recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Commissions. It encourages recipient organizations and communities to develop and deploy their own solutions based in traditional decision-making and local priorities, positioning government in a role of support rather than control, permitting the program to evolve over time as it responds to the needs of communities scattered over 11 northern ecosystems.

  • The Harvesters Support Grant provides $40 million over five years beginning in 2019-2020, and $8 million per year in ongoing funding. Of this funding, $28.5 million has been allocated to the four regional Inuit land claims organizations: Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, Makivik Corporation, Nunatsiavut Government, and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation.

  • Indigenous governments and organizations have full control over how Harvesters Support Grant funding is used to support harvesting activities. Programs such as the Young Hunter program are able to receive support through their local Land Claim Organization. Funding for the first year of the grant program has been allocated to Indigenous partners, and the Government of Canada has delivered full funding for 2020-2021.

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $163.4 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to expand the Nutrition North Canada program and enable the Minister of Northern Affairs to work directly with Indigenous partners, including in Inuit Nunangat, to address food insecurity. In support of this new federal commitment, Nutrition North Canada will continue to work with Indigenous partners to ensure this new investment is targeted at community food initiatives at the local level, based on their priorities. These focused discussions will continue over the course of the next few months.

  • In 2020-2021 fiscal year, the Government committed over $1.1 billion in support through the Indigenous Community Support Fund for First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities and Indigenous organizations. A further $760.8 million was committed in Budget 2021 for this year. 

Associated links


For more information, media may contact:

Ryan Cotter
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Daniel Vandal
Minister of Northern Affairs

Media Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

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