Nunatsiaq News
FEATURES: Nunavik April 03, 2018 - 7:59 am

Nunavik podcast an open forum to talk about sex—and much more

“We need to be able to protect ourselves, but others as well"

Piusivut host Louisa Yeates, back row, centre, records the show's latest episode, Birds and the Bees in Kuujjuaq with guests Anguti Johnston, right, comedian Ryan McMahon, foreground at left and Lucy Nowra. The English and Inuktitut-language podcast, produced by the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, promotes sexual health and healthy relationships (PHOTO BY ISABELLE GRINGION-FRANCKE)
Piusivut host Louisa Yeates, back row, centre, records the show's latest episode, Birds and the Bees in Kuujjuaq with guests Anguti Johnston, right, comedian Ryan McMahon, foreground at left and Lucy Nowra. The English and Inuktitut-language podcast, produced by the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, promotes sexual health and healthy relationships (PHOTO BY ISABELLE GRINGION-FRANCKE)

A group of Nunavimmiut youth sit around a table chatting about one of the region’s biggest taboos—sex and sexual health.

Kuujjuaq youth leader Olivia Ikey recalls making an appointment to see a sexual health nurse at the community’s health centre and compares the experience of waiting to see the nurse as being the “gorilla in the room.”

“You’re sitting in that hallway and every frickin’ person who walks by you knows what you’re doing there,” she said.

But Ikey also recognizes that getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases should be automatic and done without shame or reservation—especially in a region where syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea and to a lesser extent, HIV, are on the rise.

Just talking about sex helps break the barrier, and that’s the whole point. The Nunavik youth are taking part in a new podcast produced by the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services’ Check Up Project.

Piusivut, which roughly translates as “our traits,” launched in February—the first of eight podcasts made available online.

“We wanted to keep it open—not just about sexual health—so we can be relatable,” said Louisa Yeates, Piusivut’s host and coordinator. “It’s to claim our traits as Inuit.”

Traits can be physical, she said, but the show also delves into issues like Inuit culture and history, online safety and psychological trauma.

Another episode titled Happy Hour explores alcohol use, partying and risky behaviour, where the show’s guests speak openly in both English and Inuktitut about the morning after regret that come with “waking up naked.”

“It happens to the best of us, and to the worst of us,” Yeates said.

Sexual health isn’t just about having sex and getting checked for sexually transmitted infections, of course, she pointed out.

Other episodes tackle homosexuality and transgender issues—topics that don’t often make dinner table conversation in Nunavik—as well as consent, child-rearing, Inuit identity and cultural appropriation.

Yeates has also brought in a number of well-known Inuit artists and First Nations spokespeople to share their own experience.

In one of Piusivut’s most recent episodes, Anishinaabe comedian Ryan McMahon visited Kuujjuaq to talk about decolonization and breaking negative cycles.

Yeates said McMahon brought necessary comic relief to a heavy subject—one important way to open discussion.

Part of that same episode touched on how children come to learn about sex.

“It often starts when they ask: Mommy, where do babies come from?” Yeates said. “How do we speak about it?

“We want to remind parents it’s important to have those talks with their kids,” she said. “It’s important to always feel safe to have these conversations.”

“We need to be able to protect ourselves, but others as well.”

Learn more about Piusivut through the Check Up Project’s Facebook page.

You can listen to Piusivut on Soundcloud, or by subscribing to the podcast on iTunes or Google Play.

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(29) Comments:

#1. Posted by Jesus love you on April 03, 2018

Sex is a dirty thing because of religion.

#2. Posted by Louisa on April 03, 2018

Thanks to Nunatsiaq news for helping us get our pod cast out there! Sarah Rogers is always lovely to work with. It’s important for us to help shine light on these topics but mostly to have youths voices heard!
In episode 4, religion is spoken about as well, so you gotta tune in to hear what’s said.
Check out the Facebook page #Check up project
The links to each pod cast are there as well as highlights from our special guests and the best part.. our open discussions where all comments are welcome!

#3. Posted by Maxime on April 03, 2018

An amazing podcast that covers a lot of topics and encourages conversations. Come and share your stories and opinions on the CheckUpProject facebook page!

#4. Posted by Love love (and Jesus) on April 03, 2018

Well done.

#5. Posted by Religion Poisons Everything on April 04, 2018

Religion is no longer compatible with our progress in the modern world, it has held us back for far too long and needs to be discarded.

#6. Posted by The Real Dirty Thing on April 04, 2018

#1 that is partly true, though it depends on the religion.

You know why sex is really considered dirty and secret in our communities. It is because of our male family heads and male elders in our communities who abuse, molest and rape and incest our children and young girls.

They want us to keep sex a big secret so their abuse and rape will always be secret and they will never be caught. There is an old male elder in Iqaluit who died a few years ago and everyone knows he incested all of his daughters and had a baby with one of them. Everybody knew about it and never did anything about it and kept it a secret.

If the only sex you know is being abused and molested by your male relatives from a young age no wonder you will think it is dirty.

Thank you to Susan Aglukark for speaking out about her abuser. If we break these dirty secrets then sex will not be dirty anymore.

#7. Posted by who is your father? on April 04, 2018

In our inuit society, young girls having babies are an epidemic. The multiple partners too. Alcohol and drug fuel behaviours, manifested into production of babies, are on the rise, combined with fetal alcohol syndrome, sexual transmitted disease, and a complete unhealthy attitude towards sex. I’m not too sure if a pod cast is going to do anything for a solution. The podcast will allow for some personal disclosure as by Olivia Ikeys testimony, but other than that nothing beneficial. It’s really screwed up. There are so many people with half siblings, many women who borned children from same father, and fathers who fathered many children.  All this in our little Nunavik.

#8. Posted by Maxime on April 04, 2018

This podcast was not made to “fix” issues. It was made to start a conversation on topics related to sexuality in Nunavik. It is meant to give out information and start a conversation that contributes to future changes. A lot of topics mentionned in these comments are important, and are difficult to address. The podcast is an effort to help in any way. If a listenner can be inspired by an episode to get help or to contribute to change, I think it is already a step in the right dirrection. It may not end all problems, but it may help some people heal, or insight people to get tested for STDs, or even just get people like you talking about issues and changes.

#9. Posted by Stephen Grasser on April 04, 2018

What a great concept! I really hope more youth will start listening to podcasts in general, and this one specifically.

#10. Posted by Visually Tantelized on April 04, 2018

Sex is for 2 people in love and an expression of their deepest union for each other. Humans turn it into something not right by their misuse of sex. Young people need to realize that they have first in need to become full grown young adults before making the choice to have a relationship which could lead to a slippery slope if they are not careful…take it from me i made mistakes in this by my stupid choices but still it is not too late to start over. Young people need to become able to provide for themselves first and then make the leap to begin a family and start off the right way. Don’t rush into…

#11. Posted by Get educated first on April 04, 2018

The young people trying to run this podcast, would do better for themselves and the community, if they went to finish their education, aim for a degree in higher studies, rather than trying to go about tackling issues with a half educated issued certificate or diploma, to falsely believe they have now been qualified to serve, when they are not qualified. It’s education and more education. Stop this game of doing everything, but nothing for yourself and your community.

#12. Posted by Nothing to offer on April 04, 2018

Please #11 stick your head back in the snowbank, thank you.

#13. Posted by It ended when it started on April 04, 2018

This podcast will end as quickly as it began. Like so many concepts in Nunavik. And you actually have people believing it will be something special. I can understand the efforts into something like this, but I’m not born yesterday, to believe in it. The problem is too many concepts; too many committees. Not enough real effort from people that are not only devoted to change, but not qualified to run the programs. That would be combined with lack of education and good up bringing within the communities. A podcast for sexual education, when you have no one to listen.

#14. Posted by The Real Dirty Thing on April 04, 2018

#7 and #10 it’s more than just “children having babies” and “love.”

It’s about the male dominated systems in all our communities, where men have all the power and women and girls are forced to comply with what they want.

Every community has men who take advantage of this patriarchal system to get what they want in secret by abusing and raping.

The answer is to empower women. I repeat, empower women so that they control and choose who they have sex with and how and when they have children. Empower women through birth control, access to abortion, better employment, education and break the power of the male patriarchy in the communities.

#15. Posted by Maxime on April 04, 2018

There are many people on the Piusivut team. Some have higher education, and some are currently pursuing studies. As for the guests that come on the show, we are intreasted in their stories, their expreriences and their opinions on subjects that have an impact on their culture and their life as inuks. Some guests have higher studies as well.

Thank you all for your contribution to the conversation!

#16. Posted by #12nerve touch on April 04, 2018

Comment #12? That’s very concerning of you. It appears that education is not important to you. That’s our problem in Nunavik. The attitude of telling people to go back in their cave, all the while, not encouraging an educated society. We cannot run a futuristic society with our young people not going to higher education. It’s not good enough to get a quarter of half into a degree and stop short of completion, and then take on responsibility that requires more expertise. We will go nowhere with that. Rather than encouraging theses half applied concepts and committees, why not encourage an educated young force of people. Let’s get out of useless denial of our problems.

#17. Posted by Youth power on April 04, 2018

Maybe if everyone started by listening to what youth have to say, our communities would go somewhere.

#18. Posted by Commentor 12 on April 04, 2018

I want to ask commentor 12, if he or she is part of that podcast? And if so, then why are you angry at a suggestion. If you are not part of that podcast, meaning you have nothing to do with getting it on the go, then that’s fine, but if you are part of it with your angry answer, then the point of failure is clearly highlighted.

#19. Posted by Veronique Morin on April 04, 2018

To # 18, I’m with public health and I’m supporting Piusivut, commenter #12 is not part of out team…  This comes out of no where, would be interesting to know what that person meant!  I’m thinking this must be sarcasm. (I hope!!! LOL)

#20. Posted by Oh no on April 04, 2018

I don’t think I want my kids listening to this. Knowing who they are, without any knowledge.

#21. Posted by Soothsayer on April 04, 2018

I can’t believe the negativity in these comments. But on the other hand, I suppose I can. How sad it is, either way.

Sex is not always about love or even about just 2 people. Sex can be purely for pleasure and can involve as many people as the group are comfortable with. Gross?! Shocking?! Maybe, but it’s true. 

#11 Your comment is senseless, there’s no reason why a higher education is a prerequisite to holding a discussion. In fact an integral part of higher education involves engagement in these kinds of discussions. So consider this preparation for university if you wish, though it certainly doesn’t have to lead to that to be productive.

#22. Posted by Commentor #21 on April 04, 2018

Commentor #21, you make no sense, and you may not be aware of how young people in Nunavik are encouraged away from higher education rather than towards it. These discussions, like many discussions in our Nunavik society are done without knowledge, and education. That’s why it fails to achieve any goals towards improving life among us. Not to say that you need an education to discuss anything! But its time we focus on the ways to improve, rather than praising the young, that are just starting to accomplish! And make them believe they have all the tools already. That’s nice to see them hold discussions, but let’s encourage them to achieve more than a John Abbott certification, and ge5 on a committee, and stop there. That’s not accomplishing anything ! But falsely encouraging the young.

#23. Posted by Veronique on April 04, 2018

To #22, #21
Piusivut is done by the Nunavik Board of Health and Social Services, (incl a bunch of nerds, inuit and non-inuit!).  We try to value both lived experience of the youth, and science (public health science).  I think there is value to both nerdiness (looking at data, looking at evidence-bases approached to sexual education), but also giving great value to the voices of Inuit youth, particularly those with first hand experience overcoming challenges…  What I have certainly learned from my many years in Nunavik is that there are incredibly smart youth, no mather how far school took them - I think it shows when you listen to the show.  Listen to the show too, and give us your feed back on content. That’s very useful to us.  We hope Piusivut is there to stay.

#24. Posted by Louisa on April 04, 2018

These are all very interesting reactions. There’s a lot of tough subject matter in these pod casts. So no matter how you react, it’s productive anyway, makes you think of these subjects and even speak about it.
#11, please do not discriminate in the name of education. It’s easy to hide behind an allies but it’s even harder to put yourself out there, in hopes of making your mark in society by opening minds and creating safer spaces for youth of all kinds.
Make sure you listen to the pod cast!! Look it up on iTunes: Piusivut
(its free!)

#25. Posted by My Thoughts on April 06, 2018

nothing wrong with expressing yourself. Everybody has their say and judgement calls. It clearly says in podcast that it covers subject matter. If you are worried about kids listening to it got to explain everything to them so they can understand what “life” is like.


#26. Posted by Teach well on April 06, 2018

For those people that teach their kids like decent parents, no need to listen to a bunch of amateurs on this podcast. Sometimes kids who haven’t been taught well, need this expression, but I’m not too sure about any good knowledge coming out of it, other than a therapy for the few.

#27. Posted by Veronique Morin on April 06, 2018

To # 26
I’d be very happy to know what and how you’d like the content to be offered. (I.E. the “good knowledge” you’re talking about).  We need your feedback.  You can reach us using messenger on the checkup project facebook page, or reach the sexual health team at the healthboard in Kuujjuaq. (819 964 2222) - sexual health nurse can give you my contact info.

#28. Posted by We are more than on April 06, 2018

To commentor #27. We are more than your made up money spending nonessential system. Ok, now it makes sense of sorts. Not ran by some uneducated locals , but by the department of health. To make us fully better. What else to spend money on? Go away bad wolf, go away. Stop this ridiculous gesturing. Get some real discussion on the go. Who’s saying anyway, that we are sexually sickly? Let them that have a std go up to the nurse and experience the gorilla in the room. Stop this stigma of inuit being something that is less.

#29. Posted by amaruq on April 07, 2018

Thank you check up project for allowing youth, young and old to express themselves. I cant believe the amount of hate im reading here on this article and they are keeping their identities hidden. Go figure! TEACH YOUR KIDS ABOUT SAFE SEX AND HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS!

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