The 19th Québec Aboriginal Science Fair was held from March 26 to 28 in Kuujjuaq, on the theme The Science of Indigenous Knowledge. The event was organized by the Quebec Aboriginal Science and Engineering Association in cooperation with the Kativik Ilisarniliriniq School Board, this year’s host. As always, the Science Fair was open to Elementary 5 to Secondary V First Nations and Inuit students across Québec and afforded participants the opportunity to share their passion for science and connect with one another.
The school board spared no effort to make this event a memorable occasion and a chance to share Inuit culture with all the participants. During the opening ceremony, which featured throat singing and drum dancing, Elder Sala Padlayat lit the Qullik (Inuit oil lamp). Speeches by Sammy Koneak, mayor of Kuujjuaq, and Robert Watt, president of the Kativik Ilisarniliriniq School Board, followed. Ghislain Picard, the newly re-elected Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Québec and Labrador, and astronaut David Saint-Jacques also addressed the audience, via video link, offering words of encouragement to the young people in attendance.
During the science fair, participants were able to experience Inuit culture thanks to demonstrations of Inuit games by actor and athlete Johnny Issaluk, and of igloo construction by Elder and social worker Charlie Nowkawalk, as well as dog sled rides and a banquet featuring local cuisine.
The event ended with the award ceremony at which Charlie Nowkawalk and Sheila Watt Cloutier, an environmental activist nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, gave the closing speeches. The three days were captured in a video by filmmaker Sammy Gadbois, which was presented to the participants.
Congratulations to all the participants! We would especially like to recognize the following students:
- Mya McGregor from Kahnawake for her “Perfect Soccer Balls” project and Karihohetstha Cupples from Kanesatake for her “Cedar Tea” project, which were selected for the Canada-Wide Science Fair, held in Fredericton, New Brunswick, from May 12 to 17, 2019.
- Destiny Cote from Kitigan Zibi for her “Art as Therapy” project, which was selected for the Milset Expo-Sciences International, to be held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, from September 22 to 28, 2019.