Getting a spot in Ilitaqsiniq’s Miqqut program is coveted, so when the full-time, 16-week cultural sewing experience opened in Rankin Inlet last fall, it had double the applicants that there were spaces for.

Participants, guided by Elders and guest experts, can be any age and experience.

“They’re able to make whatever they desire in the program,” said Amy Aingidlik, program coordinator. “That ranged from parkas to wind pants to slippers to mitts, hats.”

The group gathered every work day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

All the materials are provided, and as with Ilitaqsiniq programs in general, Inuktitut literacy activities were included.

“It really helps women in the community to not just build a skill, but also to reinforce self-healing, confidence and self-worth,” said Aingidlik.

No one gets graded, and there’s no testing – it’s all voluntary participation and based on participants’ own inspiration.

Aingidlik is a seamstress herself, and though she has not been enrolled in the Miqqut program, she was glad to experience some of the magic as a coordinator.

“It very much felt like I participated in the program,” she said. “Being there, being around the Elder instructors, learning new skills and techniques … I found my self-healing, self-worth within the daily activities.”

At the end of it, she heard nothing but good things from participants – other than the desire to have even longer days.

The Miqqut program has been running since 2012.

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