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The awards keep coming for Rankin Inlet’s Krista Zawadski, who was awarded a POLAR Northern Resident Scholarship of $10,000 earlier this month.

Krista Ulujuk Zawadski is presented with the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami Cultural Repatriation Award by ITK president Natan Obed, left, and then Kivalliq Inuit Association president David Ningeongan in Rankin Inlet on Sept. 11, 2019. Zawadski was awarded a $10,000 scholarship from the Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies earlier this month.
Photo courtesy Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Zawadski, who just finished her second year of a five-year program at Carleton University in Ottawa, chasing her PhD in cultural mediations, was one of 11 students to receive a scholarship from the Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies.

Cultural mediations is an interdisciplinary program designed to allow students to master methodological skills to address a problem or issue through a combination of disciplinary approaches.

Zawadski, who is focused on Inuit culture, is combining anthropology and art history in her program.

Already a curator for the Government of Nunavut (GN), Zawadski plans to keep on as a curator after she finishes her studies and hopes to one day earn a professorship.

“I hope to continue doing collections management in Inuit museum collections, and I’d also like to teach in anthropology,” said Zawadski. “I’m hoping to teach Indigenous anthropology, Indigenous methodology in research and Inuit art history.”

Zawadski said the love for her current studies really kicked in when she attended the Nunavut Sivuniksavut (NS) program in Ottawa at the age of 17.

She said she became fascinated to learn what culture actually is while learning about Inuit history in the NS program.

“That shoved me down the path of anthropology because I wanted to learn about what culture is for other people, so I spent many years studying other cultures as well as Inuit culture.

“That’s what my main interests are and what really motivates me, and all of this roots in my own personal upbringing and experience.

“So my PhD research is really focused on family histories, personal connections and stories.”

As a curator, Zawadski works closely with the Winnipeg Art Gallery, which currently stores the GN Fine Art Collection owned by the Department of Culture and Heritage.

She said she works closely with the collections manager there to manage the collection.

“Things go out on loan and we need to process permissions for photography, publications, that sort of thing.

“We’re also doing this big digitization project that’s been ongoing for more than two years now, so I also work with the contractors or photographers who are digitizing the collection.

“And, on top of that, the remainder of the GN collection, which is fairly large, is currently being stored in Gatineau, Que., so I work closely with Sharon Angnakak of Iqaluit, who is also a PhD student in her second year, to get things organized there, updating our data base, processing permissions and research requests and that sort of thing.”

Zawadski’s not entirely sure where her career choice will take her once her education is complete.

She said living in Nunavut would be tough because there are no museums or universities in the territory.

“There wouldn’t be any real job for me here in that sense, if I wanted to become a professor,” said Zawadski.

“I could work at Arctic College or something like that, or I could continue my job with the GN, but, like I said, our collections are down south, so all of my work has been down south.

“I’ve spent many summers doing archeology up North or just working at home, so I could probably continue to do work like that but my base would be at a university somewhere.

“I could come back and forth, spending four months here in the summer and eight months down south teaching, and it might very well end up being like that, especially if I teach Indigenous archeology and continue to do field schools, but who knows at this point?”

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Darrell Greer

Darrell Greer is Editor of Kivalliq News

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