Tristen Dias crowned champion at Kivalliq Snow Challenge

Tristen Dias was once again the Kivalliq Snow Challenge champion after he secured victory during Rankin Inlet’s Pakallak Tyme in May.

The 2021 challenge featured a record number of racers despite a lack of participants from other communities due to Covid-19.

The annual snowmobile race, which normally attracts lots of competitors from neighbouring Kivalliq communities, ended up having 60 racers from Rankin Inlet taking part over the course of the weekend.

Nursing program introduced in Kivalliq

For the first time ever, aspiring nurses in the Kivalliq got the chance to study in Rankin Inlet thanks to Nunavut Arctic College’s inaugural licensed practical nurse diploma.

The program was designed with a view to support Rankin’s new Elders care facility, which was set to open when the first cohort graduates.

The three-year diploma includes a pre-health sciences course that is taken in the first year, followed by a full two-year licensed practical nurse program.

On top of existing education programs in Rankin Inlet, Baker Lake, Arviat and Coral Harbour, the college was set to offer bachelors of education in Naujaat and Whale Cove for the first time.

Dog travels from Rankin to Whale Cove alone

The Kivalliq witnessed its own real life version of Homeward Bound earlier in May when a dog travelled 70 kilometres across the tundra to be reunited with its owners.

The Adams family was getting ready to leave Rankin Inlet for Whale Cove after hearing about a death in the family on May 2. Flights were cancelled the next day, so they planned to head to Whale Cove by snowmobile the following morning.

While they were getting ready to go, the family noticed their 10-year-old German shepherd Pepper was frantic and eager to join them. That was out of character for the aging dog, who had poor hearing and spennt most of her days sleeping. Her desire to travel was even more unusual given that Pepper hadn’t joined the Adams on the land ever since an incident years ago gave her a scare.

“She was determined to go with us,” said Donna Adams. “She even jumped on the sled. I attribute it to her knowing that something was wrong and she knew we were traumatized and grieving that day. She didn’t want to leave our sight.”

MP Qaqqaq won’t seek reelection

Nunavut MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq announced May 20 that she wouldn’t be seeking a second term in office.

“I’m incredibly thankful for this opportunity to be able to bring a voice to the House of Commons that speaks truth and reality,” she wrote in the statement, which she shared on social media. “Even though I will not be running again, for the remainder of my term, I will continue to fight for Nunavummiut.”

Qaqqaq had recently returned from two weeks sick leave. Her leave of absence came a few days after she issued an apology for claiming that Liberal Labrador MP Yvonne Jones is not Inuk on social media.

Earlier in the year, Qaqqaq announced she would run in the next election after the Prime Minister suggested Canadians could be heading to the polls as early as this fall.

Lori Idlout eventually replaced her as the NDP’s candidate in the federal election and won the Nunavut seat.

Rankin Inlet D-man signs with Jr. A Bradford Rattlers

Rankin Inlet’s Brayden Uluqsi was set to take the next step in his hockey career in Ontario after signing with the Bradford Rattlers Jr. A team.

“I think I’ll fit in really well with the organization and the league,” Uluqsi told Kivalliq News. “I’ve been developing a lot and working extra hard and my coaches believe in me.”

The six-foot, 170-pound defenceman is a product of the Mount Academy Saints U18 prep program in the CSSHL, where he had played for the past three seasons.

Naujaat student organizes MMIWG march

A Grade 11 student in Naujaat organized a march to raise awareness about missing and murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in May.

“I’m doing this because I’ve seen a lot of Indigenous women and girls go missing, get murdered and face sexual violence and abuse and I want it to stop,” wrote Heather Putulik in a Facebook announcement about the march. “We really need our culture back.”

Despite unseasonably cold weather with heavy winds, 30 to 40 people turned out on May 25 to march in support of MMIWG.

Kivalliqmiut mourn following discovery of mass grave in B.C.

Kivalliqmiut gathered on May 28 to mourn and support each other following the discovery of a mass grave of 215 children at a former residential school in British Columbia.

In Rankin Inlet, Jacqueline Apak and Cassandra Nattar organized a vigil at the Inukshuk in the centre of town to honour the 215 children who perished.

“The reason we did this and put our hearts to this is because both our mothers were in residential school,” said Apak.

Nattar added, “We saw on the news about the story, so Jacqueline messaged me if I would like to help her bring some shoes to the Inukshuk.”

Although it was planned at the last minute, approximately 100 people showed up to the vigil.

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