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Pivallianiq: Respect as the cornerstone of reconciliation

|September 30, 2021
Young participants of the Pivallianiq in front of colourful mural

The Pivallianiq program rolled out by NATIONAL in Nunavik will celebrate its tenth anniversary this year.

Ten years of driving awareness, education and action to embellish environments and homes and to promote wellness through collective efforts.

All these years we have relied on an extraordinary team of dedicated Inuit Pivallianiq agents called the Makeover Team who encourage the participation of families and support them in their efforts; on creative community workers who interact with young teenagers as part of an ongoing campaign called Taking Care of My Community, which focuses on healthy lifestyles and respect for property and people; and on inspiring educators and artists as part of the Nanuk initiative, specifically designed for elementary school children.

Supported by the Kativik Municipal Housing Bureau (KMHB) and the Société d'habitation du Québec (SHQ), and associated with major sponsors such as Makivik Corporation, Air Inuit and the Montreal Canadiens Children's Foundation, Pivallianiq was initially conceived and developed by our Firm. It has been enhanced by Nunavimmiut over the years.

Pivallianiq has sparked a social and universal movement to embellish and preserve the homes and communities of Nunavik by raising awareness and promoting the pride and sense of community that has always characterized Nunavimmiut.

One word has served as a common theme in the creation and implementation of all aspects of the program for the past 10 years: Respect.

Respect should be the guiding principle for any initiative undertaken in Indigenous communities, with a true understanding of others, their history and their culture.

Pivallianiq was designed with respect for the history of Nunavimmiut and their socio-economic reality; respect for their culture and language; respect for the individuals of a distinct nation with a rich culture.

Nunavimmiut have taken ownership of Pivallianiq because the program was designed, discussed and shaped with them, through the many consultations held from the outset and which the team continues to organize every year. We must thank and honour these hundreds of behind-the-scene collaborators from the 14 communities of Nunavik who, day after day, have contributed to the program and made it grow in line with the image of Nunavimmiut.

Pivallianiq has evolved over time. It has taken over the organization of Housing Day, a unique tradition in Quebec since 2012; a festive day during which the Nunavimmiut celebrate their environment, from Hudson Bay to Ungava Bay.

Pivallianiq has also become a sponsor of organizations that share its mission and values, such as Youth Fusion, and a producer of events, including the collective design of giant murals such as the one produced last year by teenagers at the Aupaluk gymnasium, always aiming for the enhancement of the environment by and for Inuit communities.

Pivallianiq has gone beyond general awareness of respecting the integrity of homes and infrastructure to conduct targeted campaigns and help support the people who are most vulnerable.

As a result, it has become an active and dynamic partner in the Kativik Regional Government (KRG)’s multi-year fire prevention campaign. NATIONAL's expertise has been put to work in the development of powerful and persuasive audiovisual materials in support of the Home Fire Safety campaign.

The same can be said for the distress, violence and suicide prevention campaign, Anninarqutit, conceived and developed by the Pivallianiq team. Anninarqutit, which means “You matter to me", was developed in close collaboration with the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services (NRBHSS). Our collaboration with the Board will be strengthened in the coming year with the production of audiovisual capsules that will enhance our collective campaign.

The past year has been a special one, making us aware of our fragility, but also of our strength, our ability to adapt and the resilience of Nunavimmiut.

In March 2020, the coronavirus was spreading rapidly. Without being spared, Nunavik has organized itself to tighten measures in order to flatten the curve.

In this context, the Pivallianiq team joined the efforts of all Nunavik organizations to encourage families and youth to stay active despite the lockdown, and to maintain a healthy and positive living environment for all. The Pivallianiq team adapted its scheduled activities to virtual formats, using social media as the primary way of communicating in order to reach as many Nunavimmiut as possible, especially the youth with whom we communicated constantly.

Pivallianiq's successes must be shared with Nunavimmiut who take concrete action every day to improve the quality of life in Nunavik and to protect resources and the environment by putting their tremendous creativity at the service of community initiatives, such as Pivallianiq, that resonate with them and bring them together.

On this National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, as we remember the sad events of residential schools, we invite you to reflect on the fact that we cannot undo the past, but we can certainly help build the present and the future. As a matter of fact, Pivallianiq means "change for the better" in Inuktitut. But in order to achieve this, we need to know others and truly develop their trust (and we have a lot of work to do given the weight of history), offer them our support and above all respect them. Respect is the key to reconciliation.


Written by Martin Daraiche

What brings us together
September 22, 2021