Painting of igloo

Culture, Language & Identity

"The igloo provides safety and security during long cold winters. It is a temporary shelter that provided Inuit independence throughout the arctic." -Visual Story by Alexander Angnaluak

by TakingITGlobal


  • Lack of understanding of the history and legacy of the residential school system
  • Institutionalized racism
  • Perpetuation of dangerous and oppressive narratives and stereotypes
  • Curriculum that does not recognize or integrate culturally relevant content
  • Spaces that do not enable Indigenous peoples to freely express who they are and where they come from


  • Incorporating language and culture as an integral part of the learning experience
  • Recognition and honouring of truth related to history
  • Opportunities for healing and genuine dialogue building bridges of understanding and respect
  • Keeping people curious and open to share without feeling judged

Examples of Connected North Sessions

  • Sessions that integrate Indigenous languages, knowledge and understanding of curriculum concepts in ways that link to land-based, cultural teachings
  • Cultural exchange sessions with classrooms: Storytelling music, dance, on-the-land, teachers/mentors/elders, language learners, etc.

What does the research tell us?

  • Indigenous identity has multiple elements, including: Context, language, self, family, spirit, and relationships
  • Access to Indigenous knowledge and education to foster a positive identity
  • Aboriginal youth with a negative association with Indigenous culture or who have "dismissed" their culture, may not have access to or be interested in participating in traditional culture or teachings
  • If not involved in their community, there can often be challenges to participating in traditional ceremonies
  • Aboriginal youth who are active in their communities take pride in being Aboriginal youth, and that it creates opportunities as well as provides a sense of belonging
  • The inclusion of Indigenous knowledge in the curriculum would help Aboriginal youth foster a sense of belonging, combat racism, and show history from an Aboriginal perspective
  • Aboriginal youth have internalized negative stereotypes of Native people (e.g., Aboriginal youth are less valued than non-Aboriginals, they are products of violence and substance abuse, undervalued Indigenous culture, view themselves as lazy, etc.)

What can we do?


Include Local and National Indigenous leaders, knowledge keepers, elders, senators and community members in programming.


Deliver programming designed and led by Indigenous organizations.


Deliver programming in local community languages.


Develop programming that encourages students to map their community and local connections to culture.


Develop programming that enables students to explore their personal identity through connections to culture, the land and language.


Explore opportunities for cross-cultural exchanges and sharing virtually and in person.


Deliver programming that educates students and teachers on current events affecting culture and language (political, economic etc.)

Explore the Well-Being Framework Elements

Culture, Language & Identity

Relationships with Peers / Students

Arts & Recreation

Hope for the Future

Food & Nutrition

Relationships with Staff & 'Authority'

Parent & Family Involvement


The conceptual framework, insights and content reflected here has been developed collaboratively by members of the Connected North team at TakingITGlobal inspired by the communities we partner with.

Special thanks to Alexander Angnaluak, Doronn Fox, Nyle Johnston, Nigit'stil Norbert, Dallas Pelly, Waukomaun Pawis, Magdalena Kelly, Chris McLeod, Jason Jones, Mitch Holmes, Shelton Nipisar, Kim Dymond, Andrea Breen, Michael Furdyk, Edgar Gonzalez, Peyton Straker, and Jennifer Corriero.

We gratefully acknowledge youth, educators, elders and leaders from Connected North partner communities who have graciously shared their experiences, hopes, challenges and feedback with our team. In particular, we appreciate active inputs towards this framework from the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Saskatchewan and Ontario.

We would also like to thank Vani Jain and the team at the McConnell Family Foundation for their support as thought partners.

© 2022 TakingITGlobal and Alexander Angnaluak. All rights reserved. Contact for inquiries.