Health researchers launch Indigenous language resource

An event held by the Institute for Circumpolar Health Research
An event held by the Institute for Circumpolar Health Research. Photo: Submitted

Starting Monday, the Institute for Circumpolar Health Research will celebrate a new online “word of the week” to help promote NWT languages.

The work is part of an ongoing project to promote Indigenous-led health research. Organizers hope to share the meaning behind words that relate to their mission of research, health and well-being.

“Our work is guided by a governing council of Elders and knowledge-keepers and, at our most recent meeting, the council brought up the importance of incorporating language into the work that we do,” said Esther Kim, summer practicum student at ICHR.

The initial word bank comes from an interview-based PhD project by Sophie Roher, completed in partnership with ICHR, which hopes community members will contribute more words and help the project grow.



For Kim, it’s important that health research is accessible to those it affects. She believes this initiative is a small step toward that goal.

“There’s a common assumption that research can be done objectively, but it’s never that black and white,” she said.

“There’s always a worldview that you’re coming from, and it’s from within that worldview that you decide how to be objective.

“So by incorporating language – and, by extension, culture and the ways of life that come with that – you’re positioning yourself in a worldview that’s actually more in line with the community you’re trying to serve.”

The glossary can be found online here.