Connecting through culture — How Isaruit became a haven for Ottawa Inuit

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic @arctic_eq

OTTAWA-Christine Awa, originally from Pond Inlet, Nunavut, discovered her love for Ottawa during a medical trip to the city with her then-infant son. She made the decision to raise her kids there, but admits the separation from her Inuit culture was a challenge.

Then in 2023 she discovered Isaruit Inuit Arts at Ottawa’s former Rideau High School building. There, she made ulus (traditional knives), then went on to do jewelry making and working with materials like antler.

“A lot of us [here in Ottawa] are limited to exercising our culture in our own homes,” Awa said. “But [Inuit culture] isn’t really just about that, it’s about being part of a whole community.

“Coming here, you feel all that love and positive energy. It’s very comforting, and very healing, and I’m extremely thankful for this place.”