Support” begins with a stark statistic: at 11 times the Canadian suicide rate, Inuit youth deaths are among the highest in the world.

The Blue Print for Life program of “social work thr0ugh hip hop” teaches youth to dance, as well as the history of people from the South Bronx who originated it, emphasizing commonalities. It’s about giving people a voice for expression, as part of a worldwide movement. Beatbox and throat singing are equally welcome at social gatherings. Healthy lifestyle messages are couched as neccessary to be a good dancer. Results were immediate with reductions in solvent sniffing.

One dancer talks about how it gave him a place to go and an activity in a community where there is nothing for youth to do. In the isolated small northern town of Clyde River, Baffin Island, this program at the Ilisaqsivik Centre is lifesaving.

For more information on Inuit and First Nations suicide prevention, visit the Honouring Life Network.