Community case studies were prepared for Inuvik and Fort Resolution. (Appendix B). These two communities were selected as they provide good examples of seniors literacy activities and experiences.

In many NWT Aboriginal communities, NWT seniors may be referred to as elders. This term carries a variety of meanings. For simplicity, the term senior rather than elder has been used in this research.

1.3 Literacy Among Seniors

"A person is functionally literate who can engage in all those activities in which literacy is required for effective functioning of his/her group and community and also for enabling him/her to continue to use reading, writing and calculation for his/her own and the community's development" (UNESCO, 1962). The 1994 International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS), reports that 80% of Canadian seniors (ages 65 and older) have low literacy.3 IALS also found that most of these seniors felt they had no problems coping with day-to-day functions. The extent to which seniors with low literacy were frustrated while coping with daily living functions was not reported in IALS. It is important to note that the NWT was not included in the 1994 IALS, but will be included in the most recent IALS data to be released in 2005.

Literacy is also defined as a social practice requiring understanding of groups and institutions that socialize people into different literacy practices.4 It is also defined as a right of citizens.

“All Nunavummiut have the right to participate fully and be included in their community. Literacy is much more than reading and writing, it also means being connected to your language and culture. Literacy involves everyone and is fundamental to the development of health and well-being. Literacy is fostering and nurturing understanding, knowledge and wisdom.” (Nunavut Literacy Council)

3 Level I and level II combined
4 Cairney, Tevor. Developing Partnerships: The home, school and community interface