Connected North Content Provider Spotlight Series: Michael Kusugak
As part of our Connected North Content Provider Spotlight Series, we are honoured to highlight Michael Kusugak, who is both an expert Inuit storyteller and published author.
Michael has worked with students in the Connected North Network for several years, using it as an opportunity to share insightful stories about the Arctic and Inuit culture. His experience growing up on the land, playing string games, travelling by dog sled, and sleeping in an iglu help to give students a firsthand account of traditional Inuit life.
During his stories, Michael is able to engage his audience by getting students involved and through his genuine enthusiasm for what he does. His energy and excitement are contagious as he cracks jokes to lighten the mood and asks questions to maintain student interest. His passion for his work is on full display each and every time he has an opportunity to educate and share his culture. Whether he is speaking to Kindergarten students or to Grade 8’s, you can be sure they are on the edge of their seats, hanging onto every word.
Regardless of student age, Michael aims to make his sessions entertaining and informative. To this end, he tailors each of his sessions to ensure they are age appropriate. For younger students, he works to create a safe space so that students can lean into the plot and actively compare themselves to the characters. In this way, the students can learn about Inuit culture through the eyes of his carefully constructed protagonists. For older students, he strives to help build a sense of Inuit strength and pride within his audience. His message during these sessions tends to focus on those aspects of Inuit culture that are unique to Inuit and that students can feel proud of.
Michael’s sessions are a big hit all across our network of schools. His diverse life experiences and distinctive perspective allow him to educate students in a way that few others are capable of. Whether he is teaching students in Southern Canada about the North, or if he is working to empower the youth of Nunavut, Michael’s sessions have a lesson for everyone.