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Recap – Inuit Perspectives: Health and Well-being Through Storytelling

Recap – Inuit Perspectives: Health and Well-being Through Storytelling


Published on April 3, 2024

event poster Wellness Impact Lab

On January 31, 2024, the Wellness Impact Lab at the Dahdaleh Institute kicked off its 3-part seminar series focused on Inuit perspectives on mental health and well-being, ‘Climate Change and Mental Health: Listening to the Canadian North’. This first session centered around the voices of Bernice Kootoo Clarke, Michael Kusugak, and Becky Han, each of whom shared stories about their connection to the land, how that connection has been shaped by colonization, and how that has in turn affected their identity. The primary moderator was Jennifer Corriero who played a masterful role introducing and engaging with Bernice, Michael, and Becky.

Bernice initiated the session with the lighting of the Qulliq, a tradition she watched her grandmother perform, which she now practises as a form of cultural preservation and to reconnect with her identity. She recounted her experience with the traditional method of seal skin preparation where, by swiping the fat off the seal skin, she felt herself healing her pain, one swipe at a time. To further preserve Inuit culture, Bernice is utilizing technology to share traditional knowledge with youth where they are easiest to find - via TikTok.

Next, Michael captivated the audience through his oral storytelling, a traditional way to spread Inuit knowledge and share Inuit teachings with younger generations. His stories underscored the importance of treating every being around us with respect, and his personal anecdotes about residential school as well as his childhood adventures across the Arctic symbolized the resilience of Inuit peoples.

The session closed with Becky’s enchanting voice accompanied by her playing the guitar to a song in Inuktitut, which helps her deepen her connection to her home and language. Becky recalled stories from her ancestors who had to adjust to a new life in different places, reminding us of Inuit’s adaptive nature. She emphasized the importance of sharing stories to foster a greater sense of community and remain connected to one’s roots - including one’s land. This can guide how we address the climate crisis and help us shape a more sustainable future.

All three speakers highlighted the value of storytelling for preserving Indigenous cultures and embracing traditions as a means of healing ourselves, healing others, and healing our planet.

Watch the seminar presentation below:

Connect with Bernice Kootoo Clarke

Connect with Michael Kusugak

Connect with Becky Han


Global Health & Humanitarianism



Related Work




Jennifer Corriero, Community Fellow, Global Health and Humanitarianism Active

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