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AROUND NUNAVUT: An igluvigaq, a wellness tour, and art as a tool for youth

Year of programming wraps up with igluvigaq-building workshop


Jenny Mosesie, front, and Sarah Kokseak cut blocks for the igluvigak-building workshop led by Loasie Alikatuktuk in Qikiqtarjuaq the weekend of April 6.
photo courtesy Celine Jaccard

Nunavut Youth LEAP (Land-based Educational Adventure Programs) hosted an igluvigaq-building workshop led by Loasie Aliqatuqtuq in Qikiqtarjuaq the weekend of April 6.

"This was the final event of year 2018-2019 for Pisuktiit programming, that included many ski outings, some community first aid training and variety of other activities," said Celine Jaccard.

The Pisuktiit Project is a year-long program delivered under the umbrella of Nunavut Youth LEAP, and is mainly for Qikiqtarjuaq youth.

"The program was funded by Quality of Life Secretariat and QIA (Qikiqtani Inuit Association). We are very grateful for their support," said Jaccard.

Loasie Alikatuktuk teaches workshop participants how to cut blocks for the igluvigak.
photo courtesy Celine Jaccard

Influencers blazing a path through the territory


The year-long Influencers Motivating Influencers pan-Nunavut wellness tour is well underway, with William Komaksiutiksak, originally of Rankin Inlet, magician Brian Glow, and Elberlyn, a Kanien’Keha, French Canadian and Dutch artist conducting workshops.

The year-long Influencers Motivating Influencers pan-Nunavut wellness tour is well underway, with
Elberlyn, a Kanien'Keha, French Canadian and Dutch musician and artist, William Komaksiutiksak, also known as rapper Northern Knowledge, originally of Rankin Inlet, and magician Brian Glow, conducting workshops and performing for communities.
photo courtesy David DeVos

"Cambridge Bay is our fifth community and we have one more, Sanikiluaq, to go before we take a break," said co-founder David DeVos, who with his wife Cora Kavyaktok founded the organization.

The team has so far made stops in Iglulik, Grise Fiord, Gjoa Haven, and Taloyoak.

"The plan is to begin the second part of the tour in May with another five communities," said DeVos.

Sanikiluaq is scheduled for Sunday.

"The SOS (Save our Sisters painting) workshop last night here in Cambridge Bay had nine women and girls and one guy from ages 13 to elders," said DeVos.

"We talked about self-love and what that means to us and growing as a community. We painted what self-love looks like to each of us and we all shared stories and advice on how to love ourselves. It was awesome!"

Each community visit looks a bit different, with a variety of workshops and events taking place.

The team's goal is to visit each of Nunavut’s 25 communities by January 2020.


Art for healing and strengthening youth voices

Mittimatalik/Pond Inlet

Samples of mitts and inuksuit Pond Inlet girls learned to draw, thanks to guest artist Jamesie Itulu.
photo courtesy Kaitlyn Curran

Pond Inlet artist Jamesie Itulu was the first invited guest in a project run by Queen's University student Kaitlyn Gillelan.

Itulu taught nine Grade 7/8 girls some drawing basics.

"I asked them what they wanted to draw. We made a short list," said Itulu.

The girls chose to draw mitts.

"I taught them how to draw shapes, to make the sketch of it, step by step."

After the mitts were done, Itulu walked them through building an inuksuk on paper.

Gillelan, who first spent time in Pond Inlet during the summer of 2015 as a volunteer peer health educator, is back on an OceanPath Fellowship through the Coady Institute.

"Our idea is to use art as a medium for self-expression, to go through the journey of strengthening the voices of youth. This will take shape through freestyle, workshops, and a cultural revitalization component of connecting youth to pieces of historical art from within their own community," according to Gillelan's biography.

While Itulu was the first guest, there will be more from the community working with the girls.

"We just started to incorporate the guest speakers because the focus was first building trust with the group of girls and deconstructing the meaning of art," said Gillelan.

"Next week will be a pretty big week for us in regards to the push on programming surrounding positive well-being. We are collaborating with an Indigenous community in the Kimberly region of Australia, a community of 500, to do a suicide prevention campaign – writing letters of hope and strength sending home the message 'that no matter where you are in the world you are never alone' as Pond and this community are literally on the opposite sides of the world."

Gillelan says the girls meet every Tuesday and Thursday, and are now looking to add Fridays.