Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.’s (NTI) 2010/11 Annual Report on the State of Inuit Culture and Society focuses on the status of Inuit children and youth in Nunavut, with a focus on ages 2 to 18. In 2008, NTI reported on the overall health of Inuit, with
an emphasis on health service availability and delivery, and in many ways this report complements that document by focusing on the concept of wellness as it applies to Inuit children and youth, and the specific opportunities, challenges and priority areas associated with this rapidly growing demographic. Young people make up a larger proportion of Nunavut’s population than in any other Canadian jurisdiction (see Figure 1).
Children and youth are the most vulnerable people in society, relying on parents, guardians, and extended family members for food, shelter, nurturing, support, and protection. Factors impacting the well-being of Inuit children and youth, such as the availability of nutritious foods and reliable child, youth, and family services, adequate housing, and quality, early childhood and kindergarten to Grade 12 (K-12) education are beyond their influence or control. The high incidence of violent crime, sexual assault, and substance abuse in Nunavut can compound these challenges, making sustained political advocacy for this population all the more urgent.