Arctic Internships 2015 cohort:
Michael Henry spent summer internship with the Inuit Circumpolar Council-Alaska. He learned about the complex interactions of rapid environmental change, cultural well-being, and economic opportunity in isolated Native communities in Alaska. His main project during the internship was the creation of a draft proposal for an Inuit Economic Development Summit in Alaska that will take place in 2017. It will be the first to bring together Inuit from across the Arctic to discuss common matters of economic policy in their communities and boardrooms. His final proposal included a list of invited organizations broad discussion topics (Industry- Emerging Opportunities, Emerging Threats; Circumpolar Cooperation; and Community Infrastructure), and a review of potential funding sources. The proposal was presented at the ICC Executive Council meeting, attended by Inuit leaders from Russia, Canada, and Greenland as well as Alaska. Michael says, “Much of what I learn and think about has to do with the concept of ‘sustainable development.’ Alaska and the whole Arctic is the perfect place to study the practice of sustainable development because of the very evident and rapid environmental change occurring in the region.”
Alexandre Rochaix interned at the Center for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary, under the supervision of Professor Robert Huebert, who was studying the effects of Russia foreign policy on current affairs in the Arctic Regions. Using his Russian language skills, Alexandre, analyzed Russian pro government and independent news sources to determine the intent of Russian military and economic influence in the Arctic Region. Alexandre comments, “This internship furthered my educational goals by allowing me to apply my developing foreign language skills in a professional environment. I had the opportunity to develop a greater understanding of foreign affairs, and applied my language skills towards academic and legal literature.”
At the Labrador Institute, Katarina Alajbegović, familiarized herself with the unique history of colonization and internal racism that surround the different Indigenous communities in Labrador, the northern Inuit, the Innu, and the Southern Inuit or Inuit Métis. She worked with the Labrador Institute researchers on transcribing interviews about the struggles and unique life experiences of Indigenous women who came from the southern coast of Labrador. Katarina also took part in planning and organizing community for the Labrador Institute’s Indigenous Women’s Workshop, and conducted the background research about the relationship that Indigenous women had and have with salmon on the south coast of Labrador. Katarina says, “My experiences working within this community really broadened my knowledge of what it means to be an Indigenous person in these very real and very isolated communities. Issues that I never ever considered as important like water quality and transportation were brought to the forefront of my mind when I considered the challenges that many of these Indigenous Peoples face everyday.” Her internship experience at Labrador resulted in the Honors thesis project in anthropology titled “Translation of Indigenous Identity from Lived Experience to Land Claim.”
While in Labrador for ten weeks, Mark Shapses helped manage the tuberculosis outbreak in Nain, a coastal Inuit community in Northern Labrador, and assisted with two research projects at the Labrador Health Centre in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. First project focused on assessing the care provided by the provincial tuberculosis clinic set up in response to a 2009 outbreak and putting project proposal for approval by the ethics board and the Nunatsiavut Government. The intent of this work was to evaluate and improve, as appropriate, the care being provided by the clinic. The second project involved collecting data on the use of aeromedical evacuations through detailed chart reviews. Aeromedical evacuations are called for when there is a medical emergency requiring the immediate assistance of health professionals. These research efforts led to presentations during the poster session at PriFor Faculty of Medicine Conference in St. Johns, Newfoundland on June 29-30th, 2015: Mark Shapses, Tina Buckle, Stacey Ramey, Nathaniel Pollock, and Gabe Woollam, “Patient-oriented Indicators of Success for the Evaluation of an Inter-Professional TB Clinic in Northern Labrabor” ; and Margo Wilson, Mark Shapses, and Nathaniel Pollock, “An observational study of aeromedical evacuations in Labrador.”
During his internship Wyatt Klipa worked with a small non--‐profit group Healthy Waters Labrador. The project involved the ecological restoration of a wetland and forest ecosystem called Birch Island, which is nestled between the small Birch Island Creek and the much larger and faster Flowing Churchill River. The island was the initial settlement site of the first settlers to arrive in Happy Valley--‐Goose Bay in the 1940s, but it was abandoned in the 1960s as people began to move further into the mainland. Healthy Waters Labrador is committed to restoring the island ecologically, and eventually installing boardwalk paths and interpretive signage to teach visitors about the area’s ecological and cultural significance. Wyatt mainly focused on administering wildlife surveys throughout Birch Island, of birds and local vegetation, and was also able to attend several meetings of the town council. This opportunity gave him an insight about policy and funding behind an ecological restoration project.