"Inuvialuit Communications Society is mandated to preserve and promote Inuvialuit language and culture so we knew our priority was going to be ensuring the issue was filled with first-hand accounts from local Inuvialuit — Inuvialuit who were instrumental during the negotiation process and the community and boards that co-manage it today. This issue should serve as an archive and testament to how the land within and beyond the borders of the TNNP has, is and always will be utilized by Inuvialuit. " — Tamara Voudrach, Manager, Inuvialuit Communications Society
"This project was more than a magazine — it celebrates just a part of the growth and reclamation work us Inuvialuit have been doing for years. I'm very proud of our editorial team of five who put together this platform that allowed us to share our story and knowledge, recording it for the new generations to look back on. I appreciate the RGD for recognizing the strength in my people with this Award and only hope that we continue this power of self as we defy colonialism." — Panigaq (Lexis) McDonald, Inuvialuk Editorial Intern, Illustrator and Community Engagement, Tusaayaksat Magazine
This issue of the Tusaayaksat Magazine, which is published by the Inuvialuit Communications Society (ICS) in Inuvik, NT, celebrates the 25th anniversary of Tuktut Nogait National Park. We entered into a partnering agreement with the Parks Canada Western Arctic Field Unit to support its production and publication, with the primary goal of showcasing the park's establishment, management and local and cultural significance to Inuvialuit, especially within the gateway community of Paulatuuq (Paulatuk), NT. Tuktut Nogait National Park (TNNP) is a refuge and ensures the protection of the Bluenose-West Caribou Herd.
One of the main goals of this project was to operate in a community-centred and Inuvialuit-focussed way. We ensured the creation of a local Editorial Team with Stephanie Yuill (Parks Manager of Tuktut Nurrait, located in Paulatuuq), Tamara Voudrach (Inuvialuit Communications Society Manager, Inuuvik) and Jason Lau (Tusaayaksat Editor, Inuuvik), as well as summer interns Mataya Gillis and Panigaq (Lexis) McDonald (Inuvialuit youth from Inuuvik). More importantly, we welcomed Tracey Wolki (Public Outreach Education Officer of Tuktut Nurrait), who is Inuvialuk from Paulatuuq, NT, as a Guest Editor and main representative of this publication.
Much of production took place in the community of Paulatuuq in the summer of 2021 as Paulatuuq is the community most geographically and culturally connected with Tuktut Nurrait. Tracey, as a local Inuvialuk community member, was able to decide exactly whom and what she would like featured, taking the driver’s seat in leading their respective issue’s editorial package. This initiative is an active and conscious effort to work towards the narrative sovereignty of Inuvialuit rather than having their stories told by Canadian settlers.
Working ethnographically in the community for weeks and participating in important community events to gain further insights (such as Inuvialuit Day, a local wedding, etc.), we met and consulted daily with community members about their thoughts and insights on the 25th anniversary, the park, its history and future. During this past summer and making of the publication, Parks Canada
also hosted their bi-annual culture camp at the national park. We were fortunate to have youth interns from Tusaayaksat attend and document the many faces and activities involved. Their words and their pictures from this culture camp captured the meaningful intergenerational learning and interactions that were occurring.
Semi-structured interviews were held with many community members, much of them conducted by Paulatuuq Elder Lily Ann Green, who was able to ask questions and direct interviews from her perspective as a local Elder. Interviews were recorded and then transcribed; after transcription and edited, stories were relayed with individuals for final review and approval. A local Inuvialuk photographer from Paulatuuq, Sandra Thrasher, was hired to create numerous beautiful portraits, ensuring again a local voice was visually represented throughout the publication.
Throughout our research and analysis process, we also consulted with esteemed Inuvialuit Elders such as Rose Kirby from Paulatuuq and Inuvialuktun Language Keepers such as Beverly Amos (Inuvialuit Cultural Resource Centre) who kindly helped us understand that the Sallirmiutun name of the park, in legislation, was spelt incorrectly. Because of this insight, a large objective of our publication ultimately became to raise awareness about the actual spelling of Tuktut Nurrait, the Sallirmiutun language (one of three dialects of the endangered language of Inuvialuktun), as well as use this design product to incite and prompt a legislative name change of this National Park at the federal level.
2500+ copies of this special edition magazine were printed and distributed to Inuvialuit Beneficiaries all over the world, as well as to Parks Canada employees and several bookstores across Canada. Online editions of this publication were also released on Apple Books and Google Play Books, available to be downloaded and viewed everywhere in the world. There have been many profound changes because of the 2021 double-edition Tusaayaksat special edition on Tuktut Nurrait National Park, both small and large.
For the photographers, artists and interviewers hired to assist, it has provided economic benefit certainly; but more importantly, people across the globe have been exposed to the talent and creativity of a remote Northern Community that is Paulatuuq. Many of these individuals will now have the chance to be recognized on a global scale.
The magazine has certainly induced a feeling of pride and inspiration in this Indigenous community of only 300 people. After 25 years, the tireless efforts of our Elders, at times, go unnoticed. Now people see what can happen when a small group of passionate people unite and work hard towards a goal. While not necessarily noticeable, the magazine touched many of those featured deeply. Respected elder and original negotiator, Peter Green, recently passed. Peter’s pride in his accomplishments echo off the pages. It was perhaps the last time he was able to tell his story; and it’s a joy that he knew he was valued and respected.
The pages of this publication also inspire environmental conservation of this area by raising awareness of the protection and rights of animals and plants in the region, especially the Bluenose West caribou herd. It continuously highlights the pristine beauty of Tuktut Nurrait—but only if we are all dedicated to preserving it that way. It’s also raised awareness of parks and protected areas framework rarely used; Tuktut Nogait is cooperatively managed by a board that includes local appointees from Indigenous organizations. There are positive, long-term possibilities as people understand that land can be managed in a partnership. It is hoped that people reading the stories will be inspired to move towards this model.
One of the deeply meaningful impacts of this project is that it supports Truth and Reconciliation. When the park was established, a translator spelled Tuktut Nogait as it sounded to them. Through the magazine, we were able to uncover the stories of the name and the actual spelling (Tuktut Nurrait). Staff and the management board are now working towards a legislative proposal to have the name officially changed. It may take some time, but without the work of Tusaayaksat
, this story may have remained unknown forever.
Editorial Team: Tracey Wolki, Jason Lau, Lexis McDonald, Stephanie Yuill
ICS Manager: Tamara Voudrach
Storytellers: Colleen Arnison, Mataya Gillis, Peter Green, Noel Green, Ruben Green, Lisa Hodgetts, Steve Illasiak, Rose Kirby, Bill Kudlak, Muffa Kudlak, Paden Lennie, Kate Leonard, Sadie Lester, Natasha Lyons, Lexis McDonald, Jonah Nakimayak, Herbert Nakimayak, Tom Nesbitt, Ashley Piskor, Edward Ruben, Chris Ruben, Craig Ruben, Donna Ruben, Mark Ruben, Jr., Albert Ruben, Sr., Ray Ruben, Sr., Lanita Thrasher, Tracey Wolki, Frances Wolki, Brianna Wolki, Marlene Wolki, Esther Wolki, Stephanie Yuill
Artists: Hayleigh Conway (Special Edition Tuktut Nogait National
Park map), Lung Liu, Logan Ruben
Sallirmiutun Consultants: Beverly Amos, Albert Elias
Interviewer: Lily Ann Green
Photographer: Sandra Thrasher