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AROUND NUNAVUT: Aqsarniit staff recognized, De Beers launches jewelry design competition and Inuit history and culture workshop offered

Middle school teachers recognized for service


Five staff members at Aqsarniit Ilinniarvik in Iqaluit were recently recognized by the Government of Nunavut for their dedicated service to Nunavummiut.

photo courtesy Brian Manning
Qikiqtani School Operations' Superintendent of Schools Chris Wright, left, presents recognition awards to Iqaluit's Aqsarniit Ilinniarvik student support assistant Ida Nowdlak and Inuktitut teacher Leesie Akulukjuk for 20 years of service Nov. 8.

Inuktitut teacher Leesie Akulukjuk, with 20 years, is a dynamic educator who infuses all of her teaching with the cultural dynamic of Nunavut, said Aqsarniit principal Brian Manning.

"She's welcoming and inclusive in the classroom and as a consequence of that the students readily embrace the learning of Inuktitut," he said. "She is a very positive influence on students and staff and contributes greatly to the life of the school."

Ida Nowdlak, also with 20 years of service, is the longest serving student support assistant at the school.

"In her support role she assists teachers in addressing the needs of every student," said Manning. "Because of her strong language skills it gives us another dimension to grow strong children within our school system."

Student support assistant Rhea Muckpah Gavin, custodian Mary Enookee and teacher Jason Hatt were each recognized for five years of service.

"Collectively, the other three are in the first stages of their careers in the school system in Nunavut and if the rest of their careers are reflective of the beginning of their careers, they will do well," said Manning.

The Recognition Awards were presented at a staff gathering Nov. 8 by Qikiqtani School Operations' Superintendent of Schools Chris Wright.


Calling all jewelry designers


DeBeers, which recently entered Nunavut's mining landscape by buying the Chidliak diamond project between Iqaluit and Pangnirtung, has opened the Shining Light Award to Canadian jewelry designers.

The competition has existed for more than 22 years in South Africa and almost 10 years in Botswana and Namibia.

"Over the years, we have seen how the Shining Light Awards have presented students with a great opportunity to develop their skills in jewelry manufacturing. We are looking forward to seeing the journey they take in interpreting the theme and bringing it to life," stated Constantino Papadimitriou, head of brand strategy and innovation at De Beers Forevermark, in a news release.

Winners of the award participate in a 12-month apprenticeship programme in Milan, Italy, and runners-up will win a three-month internship program at Forevermark or a design programme at a local design school.

Designers from the four countries where DeBeers mines diamonds can enter.

The theme for 2018/2019 is Heroines and Heritage, and includes feminine elements that speak to women, that evoke national pride as well as symbols of strength, heritage, wisdom and beauty.

The competition closes Jan. 31, 2019.


Inuit history and culture workshops on offer


The Ilitaqsiniq Nunavut Literacy Council and Nunavut Sivuniksavut have teamed up to offer four one-day workshops on Inuit history and culture in Iqaluit.

"The purpose is to educate people on the history of Inuit in Nunavut, and the creation of Nunavut," said the council's Jesse Mike.

Mike says the workshop will use the Nunavut Sivuniksavut power curve, an inverted bell curve which traces the history of Inuit from pre-Qallunaat days to the formation of the territory taking into account power, control, independence and autonomy.

"It plays a big role in how you contribute to the community when you understand that history and how come we are where we are today and why Nunavut was created, and our role and responsibilities today," said Mike.

"Also, we hope that the people who are taking this, who may be in a position of power, or as an employer, will have a better understanding or sensitivity toward Inuit employees, but also creating a space as an employer that is more welcoming for Inuit."

The four free one-day workshops take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Nov. 26 and 27 and Dec. 5 and 6.

Those interested can contact Mike at the literacy council.