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Helen Kalvak School Musk-Ox Harvest

Initiative Types:
Funding Sources:
Target Audience:

Summary of the Initiative

The project is completed over multiple days and involves youth, teachers, local agencies and elders. The idea is to involve students in all areas of the hunt including preparation, packing supplies, planning routes, emergency plan, tracking, harvesting, processing and sharing the catch. The students are responsible for ensuring all checklists have been completed and sleds packed the day of the hunt. On the day of the hunt we spend approximately 8 hours on the land. While the main purpose is to harvest several Musk-Ox, there are opportunities for elders to share stories on the local area, talk about how the climate has changed and teach the students about survival on the land. The students skin and quarter the animals on the land, but the processing is done at the school the following day. The processing involves creating different types of meat packages as well as dry meat. In the end 80% of the meat is handed out to community members as par of our food sharing program.


The only challenge the program faces in funding.


Students are learning a great deal of traditional knowledge and gaining valuable experience practicing them on the land. We have also noticed that the student who are involved in this program typically perform better in academics, have improved attendance and have become our school leaders.

Traditional Knowledge

We incorporate elders in every part of the program. The elders teach student traditional traveling methods and tell stories about how they were raised and survived on the land.

P.O. Box 162 Ulukhaktok NT X0E 0S0 Canada

Richard McKinnon

(867) 396-3804

[email protected]

Lead Organization

  • Richard McKinnon
Other Groups / Organizations
  • Ulukhaktok Justice Committee - provide funding for the program
  • Ulukhaktok District Education Authority - provide funding for the program
  • Energy and Natural Resources - involved in planning and working with the students
  • Helen Kalvak School - planning and organizing the programs
Other Collaborators

  • Ulukhaktok Elders Committee
  • Hamlet of Ulukhaktok

Primary Goals

  • Teach youth about on the land safety
  • increase the opportunity for elders to pass on knowledge about the land
  • tracking and harvesting methods
  • sustainable hunting practices
  • skinning and processes practices
  • community food sharing
  • creating dried meat


  • Donations
  • Short term (up to 1 year)

Funding Sources

  • Energy and Natural Resources
  • Ulukhaktok District Education Authority
  • Ulukhaktok Justice Committee
  • Helen Kalvak School Fundraising Committee