School of Tourism and School of Business instructors Chris Carnovale, Jorge Oceguera and Jane Raycraft are teaching tourism and entrepreneurship skills to residents of Aklavik and Tuktoyaktuk (Tuk), near the edge of the Arctic Ocean. Aklavik and Tuk are small Inuvialuit communities of 628 and 950 residents respectively, and they are about as “True North” Canada as you can get. Tuk is located at 69 degrees north and is a balmy average -30.2 C this time of year. To reach these communities, Capilano University instructors journeyed several hundred kilometers over ice roads—avoiding blizzards and stray moose en route.
This is the first training trip of what could be a multi-year project where Capilano University instructors will teach a range of essential business skills to locals in six communities in the Inuvik region. The project is commissioned through the Inuvialuit Community Economic Development Organization, with all benefits targeted at healthy communities and local economic development.
“It can be very challenging for communities to recognize the business opportunities that exist in their daily environment,” says Dr. Chris Bottrill, Dean of the Faculty of Global and Community Studies at Capilano University. “We help individuals and communities develop entrepreneurship and management skills so they can diversify their economy, retain their culture and control their own destinies.”
He says the Arctic presents a “particularly interesting and difficult challenge.” Climate change is altering traditional lifestyle, creating the need for alternative livelihoods. “We feel privileged to work with these communities in the North to help with the inevitable transition they face.”
Capilano University’s connections to the Inuvik region run deep. Jackie Challis, Project Coordinator for the Inuvialuit Community Economic Development Organization and a Bachelor of Tourism Management graduate, is helping deliver the project. Members of the University’s team have previously visited Inuvik for training projects and Inuvik was featured as a case study in the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Indigenous Tourism and Human Rights project that was recently completed by Tourism School faculty and alumni.
Additional Capilano University faculty members and students with interest and expertise in tourism, business, outdoor recreation and community development are expected to participate as the project evolves.