Loren Beauty

Far From Home But Close in Community: Loren Beauty’s Nunavut Sivuniksavut Journey

Sometimes you need to go far from home to really understand it. That’s been the journey of Loren Beauty, a 20 years old from Baker Lake, Nunavut who is living in Ottawa while attending her second year of Nunavut Sivuniksavut. It’s a program where youth from Nunavut get to learn more about Inuit culture and history while experiencing city life in the South as part of a group. Even though they are a long way from their home communities, participants get a chance to get to know more about where they’re from and who they are from a cultural perspective.

She’s one of two students from her community in the program and she’s been enjoying the time spent learning about community development, circumpolar areas, Inuktitut language, research, performance and personal development. When her class performed songs and games in Toronto, they got the chance to meet the Governor General, Mary Simon. 

A program presentation she attended in grade 12 piqued her interest enough to apply just before graduation. Two weeks after she got her high school diploma she was moving to the south to get started. 

Her auntie also completed Nunavut Sivuniksavut a few years ago and that inspired her to attend, too. She’s looked to her aunt as her role model from her community and she wanted to be just like her. 

Her advice to youth considering attending would be, “Take the opportunity. It's yours! You get to experience what it's like living away from home and that may get hard at times, but you'll get through it.”

Illustration by Shaikara David

When she got homesick herself, Beauty would go for a walk, take a hot bath, and listen to music. To distract herself she would clean up, go out with classmates, walk in the park or do an escape room. Getting to eat country food like caribou has been a special treat while she’s been far from home. Beauty also loves when her elder and Inuktitut teacher lights the qulliq (Inuit lamp) and tells stories. 

She’s considering extending her stay in Ontario after the program ends so she can do an Early Childhood Education program at Carleton University or Algonquin College. She’s not sure she will go straight back to her home community, thinking she might travel around first. As part of the program, she had the opportunity to travel to Haida Gwaii and participate in a cultural exchange with the people there. Their travel was restricted to Canada due to the pandemic so they went to British Columbia instead of heading out abroad. 

If she could go back in time and share a message with her younger self it would be, “Don't give up. Take advantage of every opportunity you get.” She wishes her mom had told her to do her homework right away so that she would know to hand everything in on time in college.  

She went far from home to see it more clearly, discovering more of her cultural identity and diving deep into the wisdom of her people. Loren Beauty found a new community in a distant city that brought her closer to who she is and who she can become. Finding new dreams on a journey inspired by her aunt and role model, she’s exploring the country and sharing her love of home with everyone she meets. 

Thanks to Alison Tedford Seaweed for authoring this article.

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    December 20, 2023
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