Unaaq Men's Association of Inukjuak began in 2001, when a group of men got together to work on youth issues. The men and elders recognized that the younger men and boys needed care and mentoring in order to grow successfully into the world in which they found themselves. To provide this care, the community would have to close the gap between the older and younger generations.
The group of men created an association with the goals of supporting youth, creating jobs for elders and youths, and promoting Inuit culture. The association, Unaaq, was registered by the provincial government as a non-profit organization on July 31, 2006. The founding group of men became the official board of directors, applying for funding support from various regional organizations that were working independently to support Inukjuak's youth and promote Inuit cultural heritage.
A large building was donated to Unaaq by the Inukjuak municipality in 2006. It has now been renovated, with help from the faculty and students of the Kativik School Board's Nunavimmi Pigiursavik Vocational and Technical Training Center. Heavy-duty wood working equipment was donated by Makivik Corporation and wood supplies and tools were provided by the Kativik Regional Government. Thanks to these donations, we will be able to continue making and repairing kayaks as part of the Association's contribution to the community and traditional skills lessons.
Unaaq's activities have expanded over the years from organizing fishing and hunting excursions on the land to making kayaks, qamutiks (snowmobile or dog sleds) and emergency shelters. Now the Association is running a repair shop which offers low cost repair and maintenance of all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, outboards and other small engines. Unaaq's warehouse/recycling center enables mechanics and community members to re-use engine parts and scrap wood that would otherwise be discarded in the town dump.
Future plans include video productions of activities such as survival training on the land, dog team training and cultural carpentry (making traditional equipment), as well as video biographies of elders in partnership with Taqramiut Nipingat Inc. (TNI). Tourism is another area we are exploring — our community is rich in history and natural resources that would be of interest to tourists. With the new addition of a youth camp on the land, the association will be coordinating more excursions as well as welcoming tourists that are eager to enjoy the land outside the community.