THIS SITE IS INTENDED as an introduction to my Queen’s University PhD study exploring whether or not rehabilitation-oriented mental health programs in criminal courts in large Canadian centres and elsewhere can be used in the absence of the resources usually associated with these courts to achieve their therapeutic objectives in remote, mainly Inuit communities in Nunavut.
The site provides an overview of my research and its goals. It will also provide a place where I can post news and findings relevant to my work while I conduct my study in the communities of Iqaluit, Arviat and Qikiqtarjuaq beginning in January 2013. Readers wanting more information are invited to reach me using the contact information on the final page.
Priscilla Ferrazzi LLB, LLM, PhD Candidate
I would like to acknowledge and express my gratitude to Linda Potyok, a transcriber for this study who works steadily transcribing audio-interviews of participants in preparation for the next step of this research which involves analysis of the interview data. Linda brings her decades of northern experience to this project. She has been a court transcriber in the fly-in Courts in Nunavut for two years and is familiar with Inuit communities in the Arctic. Linda will soon be joined in her efforts by Dawna Bilko who has a deep connection to Nunavut having worked in the territory as a court transcriber for more than a decade, including significant experience with fly-in courts. This study benefits considerably from the experience of these transcribers with an Arctic connection who are familiar with the administration of justice in the Far North, Inuit communities, geographic and cultural references and the overall context of this study. I am most grateful to both Linda and Dawna for their support in this endeavour.
An in-depth description of this project was featured in an article on the Queen’s University School of Graduate Studies Website. The article can be viewed at http://www.queensu.ca/sgs/news/archives/2013/artic.html
A radio announcement about the research on Arviaqpaluk Radio Station 96.5 FM helped inform the community of developments, including information about a second round of interviews taking place in the community in March. The 20-minute broadcast–facilitated by Research Assistant Kim Arualak and Inuktitut-speaking interpreter Nicholas Arnalukjuak–allowed me to outline my research and future plans. In addition to new interviews, this second trip to Arviat also allowed for “member checking” which involves meeting with some participants who have already given interviews to review a written or oral summary of their interview. This strategy is an important way of ensuring accuracy of research results by ruling out any misinterpretation by the researcher in what was said during interviews. Participants are given an opportunity to “fine tune” their responses to better reflect their perspectives. The next trip to Arviat in April will involve a focus group interview where emerging themes and issues in this study can be discussed with some community members.
The Canadian Federation of University Women continues its generous support and acknowledgement of the importance of this research. Louise Adams, chair of the CFUW Fellowships and Awards Committee, notified me that I was awarded the 2013-2014 Dr. Margaret McWilliams Pre-Doctoral Fellowship (the second CFUW award for this work). Many thanks to the CFUW for their ongoing encouragement and financial help.
The project’s first interview in Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut (population 6,699, Statistics Canada, 2011 census) took place with an Inuit elder in late February and was followed in March by a round of interviews with participants from the justice and health sectors and community organizations. Iqaluit (“Place of many Fish”) is on the south coast of Baffin Island and is a gateway to the Arctic. The next round of interviews in Iqaluit will take place in April and May. An Inuktitut-speaking interpreter from Iqaluit will join me to assist with interviews involving unilingual Inuit elders.
The project’s first interviews in Qikiqtarjuaq (population 520, Statistics Canada, 2011 census) in the Qikiqtani Region of Nunavut took place in late February. Qikiqtarjuaq (“Big Island”) is a spectacularly situated and traditional community surrounded by mountains north of the Arctic Circle off the eastern coast of Baffin Island. The community was very supportive and–remarkably–made itself available even while rescue teams searched for two hunters missing for many days on the land. Thankfully, the hunters were rescued and the community celebrated with a spontaneous and very traditional feast.
I am once again very grateful for the considerable assistance of my research coordinator and Inuktitut interpreter and thankful to the community for participating in this research.
The next round of interviews for this community is set for later in the year.