Global Citizens in the Arctic: Learning to Live in the NWT, Yukon and Nunavut
Lead Researcher: Cynthia Amati, PhD Candidate in Environmental Sociology at the Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology at the University of Alberta
Supervisors: Brenda Parlee and Naomi Krogman at the University of Alberta
Mining and other extractive industries bring many kinds of economic opportunities to the North including opportunities for those from other countries. Although hiring of northerners is a priority for many industries and governments, in some regions, labor shortages and/or employment opportunities in both low-skilled and high-skilled occupations have let to federal policies that encourage in-migration from other parts of Canada and the globe. Consequently, many northern cities and small communities are increasingly multi-cultural with growing communities of Philipino, Middle Eastern, African, Asian and European peoples.
How are those from other countries coping in such a different kind of environment? This study is designed to find out more about new comers.
- perceptions of the North and its influence on their cultural identities;
- differences in the experience of men and women from different cultural backgrounds; and
- the significance of social connections (networks) in supporting adaptation to the North.
To explore adaption to the resource-based northern economy by investigating how new residents (international immigrants) settle, live and use their local and global social networks to make a living within this economy.
Narrative interviews and focus group conversations will be carried out with a cross section of new permanent residents and citizens from around the world residing in the North, as well as with multicultural family centres. The study will pose an opportunity for multicultural engagement and reflection. In 2013, fieldwork has been started in two regions (Northwest Territories and Yukon). To date, 40 interviews have been completed with individuals who have lived in the North less than 5 years. Preliminary analysis indicates that even though promising economic opportunities played a significant role in motivating the transnational move from various countries to the North, transnational families tended to, and preferred to live in the Territories long after economic rationale waned. This was reportedly due to deep connectedness to the open natural landscape, and the sense of community that they found and helped create in the North.
Results of the study will be communicated through plain language (“community reports”) and workshops to be shared with the participants via cultural organizations and heritage activities.
For more information contact:
Department of Resource Economic and Environmental Sociology
Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences
University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB