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Passing on traditional skills

Coral Harbour teacher proud of students’ learning
Savannah Eetuk wears the black sealskin jacket she made as part of the career and technology studies program at Sakku School in Coral Harbour. Photo courtesy of Sakku School

The school year is over, but not before students had some fun making traditional clothing and useful gear in the career and technology studies program at Sakku School in Coral Harbour.

“They make anything, such as sealskin mitts, baby booties, headbands, miniature mitts, kamiks, sealskin jackets, slippers,” said Rhoda Paliak-Angootealuk, who has been teaching the Grade 10-12 class for over a decade.

“Whatever students make, they are for them to keep.”

The youth often look forward to coming to the class and finishing their projects, she said.

“And boy when they are done, they are the most proud of finished projects,” said Paliak-Angootealuk. “I often try and let other teachers see them just so they’ll be more proud.”

It’s important to Paliak-Angootealuk that students learn their traditional ways of sewing, as they will know how to make items for their future generations as well.

“Parents are quite proud of their child’s work and this makes me feel I’ve made a difference for each and everyone of them,” she said.

Even the boys join in, though they make hunting pants out of canvas or sealskin mitts instead of sealskin pants. Some of them are excellent sewers too.

After more than a decade teaching the class, Paliak-Angootealuk is eyeing the end of her career, but she has another year or two in her still. She hopes that when she does retire, someone else can continue passing on the teachings.

“I hope this will continue in the future for another teacher to take over because my retirement is not too far from my future,” she said.