Atii Angutiit is a Nunavut organization with the goal of launching men’s help programs across Nunavut.
The group plans to help communities by touring and organizing events to bring men together.
Atii Angutiit was supposed to start touring around Nunavut on Jan. 20 until Feb. 1, but the events were postponed due to a late arrival of funds to cover the costs of flight, organization and accommodation.
The group is coalition of four musicians and guides: Jacob Okatsiak, Agaaqtoq, Sam Tutanuak and Sikati Kusugak.
“The goal is to help mental health among men in the northern Canadian region of Kitikmeot,” says Okatsiak, a resident of Arviat.
The group is bringing men together to talk, bond and make a qamutik together.
The project not only helps the participants, but also the mentors.
“I am mainly looking to help other men in need. I want to acknowledge that I have helped out people in need so that I will complete my grandma’s and my late dad’s words, who always told me to help others when I can. This is a really great opportunity for me to help, to pursue their words” Okatsiak says.
The young guide hopes to be able to create a group in his own community in the near future to benefit the youth.
“I would do similar activities such as jamming around with the kids, and make them bond with each other, building them up,” he explains. “Through this process, they will also practise one or more principles in our traditional culture known as Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (traditional knowledge) by implementing programs like musical nights, puzzle nights, etc.”
Okatsiak is considering applying for grants to fund such programs in the future.
“I can see the group members becoming youth leaders like myself. I believe they will tap into their ultimate form as the amazing people they are,” he states. “Inuit people are beautiful people with a beautiful way of life and sometimes, we just need to be reminded that we are in this together and that we need to work together and help each other towards a better future. We are all able and capable of becoming anything we can possibly imagine.
“My late grandma always told me to not be afraid to start new things,” he adds. “I quote: ‘Don’t be afraid to start from the beginning as you will have support from your people, and from the ones you love. Our ancestors used to live in iglus not too long ago but look at you, able to play music and understand the feelings it brings. I am proud of you.’ Moreover, I am always going to root for anyone who plans to start programs for a better cause because we need more people like them.”