This winter, 17 youths in Baker Lake will learn traditional hunting knowledge through the Young Hunters Program.
According to instructor John Etegoyok, “We teach them everything from scratch… teaching as we go — and they’re learning.”
Along with fellow instructor Peter Tiktaalaaq, a typical day consists of a group of about six youths who head out until about 4 p.m. for “some travelling looking for caribou, and when we’re not hunting, we’re fishing,” said Etegoyok.
This Program is streered by the Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization, which secured funding from the Climate Change and Health Adaptation Program (CCHAP), as well as Climate Change Preparedness in the North (CCPN). Thanks to those federal funds, youths aged 10-15 will be beneficiaries of a 10-week program designed to teach them necessary hunting and survival skills. The HTO also partnered with Articonnexion based out of Quebec, whose mission is to “support, through mentorship and knowledge sharing, Indigenous communities in the development of local competencies and leadership for research and applications promoting community well-being.” The program is now so well implemented in the community that the Sanavik Co-op made a donation.
A recent Facebook post puts it more simply: ”They develop new hunting skills and managed to harvest tuktuit (caribou) for their family and the community!” The post is accompanied by photos of the successful hunt.
According to Veronique Perez, Articonnexion’s coordinator, the Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization has been working with her organization for a couple of years through other programs, and approached Arcticonnexion to implement a Young Hunters Program in their community. This program is a win for everyone- the kids enjoy it and it gives them a chance to learn their culture and also they bring food home and share with the community.
“John (Etegoyok) has been working with us for a long time… he’s very good with kids,” said Perez.
Etegoyok’s added that the “students are enjoying the program, are very happy and are learning some things.”
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story contained an error regarding the organization that directly funded the Young Hunters Program and the role of Arcticonnexion in the implementation of the program in Baker’s Lake. NNSL Media apologizes for the errors and any confusion or embarrassment they may have caused.