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AROUND NUNAVUT: Rockets launches, successful NS students and Christmas feasts

A few tidbits from Kimmirut, Nunavut Sivuniksavut in Ottawa and communities around the Mary River Mine on Baffin Island.

photo courtesy Kevin Nearing
Thanks to Actua programming, Qaqqalik School's kindergarten students learned how to design, build and launch rockets in November. Clockwise: Teacher Ooleepeeka Sagiaktuk, Cody Boyd, Timothy Itturiliqaq, Leetia Kootoo, Sammy Jr. Allen, Jay Utye, Katrina Lyta, Josephie Padluq and Deanna Temela.

STEM as play in Kimmirut


Who doesn't love Actua, the national organization that brings extra science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to Nunavut youth?

Qaqqalik School jumped on the opportunity to introduce Actua programming to its kindergarten class, where students learned how to design, build and launch rockets.

"We embraced it (Actua)," said principal Kevin Nearing.

"So much attention about STEM tends to be with the older grades – the intermediate and senior grades – and people forget that if you want to build capacity in students you need to start at an early age. In kindergarten it is play, but it's intentional play."

Nearing says it breaks down barriers and makes STEM accessible.

"STEM doesn't become a big deal, because it can be intimidating as you get older," he said, adding it shows learning can be fun.

The programming was part of the Actua Nunavut STEM Challenge, which offered grade-specific projects focused on space exploration. Students across the territory built air-powered rockets, self-driving Mars rovers, Canadarms and space vessels.

Results from the friendly territory-wide competition will see students receiving prizes.


New NS program a hit with students


Nunavut Sivuniksavut (NS) celebrated the six students who completed the first phase of a new program designed to prepare Inuit youth for careers in Nunavut's public service Dec. 7.

photo courtesy Nunavut Sivuniksavut
Nunavut Sivuniksavut students Jillian Kaviok of Arviat, left, Surya Angatajuak of Baker Lake, Charlotte Lee of Ottawa/Pangnirtung, Tapisa Tattuinee of Arviat, Cecile Lyall of Taloyoak and Miranda Qanatsiaq of Hall Beach recently completed the first phase of a new program designed to prepare Inuit youth for careers in Nunavut’'s public service.

"The goal is to help students get started on a university track while balancing it with practical experience," stated coordinator Morley Hanson.

"That's what they’ll need to qualify for higher-level positions in the public service later on."

The new third-year Academic and Career Development (ACD) program launched in September, and combines two terms of work experience in federal government departments with two academic terms at Carleton University.

"Once you're inside the government, you learn more about what's really going on. I never really imagined how much work they put in until I got into this ACD program, and I'm really thankful that I did," said Arviat's Jillian Kaviok, adding she took the biggest step in her life as an Inuk coming from a small town working for the federal government.

Baker Lake's Surya Angatajuak was equally impressed.

"My experience at Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada was great. It was a whole new experience for me and it really got me out of my shell. It was worth it," she said.

"Being an Indigenous person working for the federal government has the potential to be quite confusing. That being said, these past few months with the ACD program have been very interesting, I have learned so much and have grown a lot as an individual," said Taloyoak's Cecile Lyall. "It has been very inspiring to see the amount of passion my coworkers bring to their job every day. Things do not change overnight, but the introduction of this program is a step in the right direction."

Arviat's Tapisa Tattuinee said she was shy at first, trying to speak on behalf of Inuit, but the work experience helped her become more confident in advocating for Inuit in Nunavut.

The program is a collaborative effort between NS, the Makigiaqta Inuit Training Corporation, Carleton University’s School of Public Policy and Administration, the Government of Canada and the Government of Nunavut.


Christmas feasts planned by Baffinland


Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. will be holding its first Christmas feasts in Arctic Bay, Clyde River, Hall Beach, Iglulik, and Pond Inlet, serving up catered holiday favourites, country food and prizes.

"These events provide an opportunity for Baffinland to give back to the communities for their continued support and to come together to celebrate what we’ve achieved together over the last year," stated president and chief executive officer Brian Penney in a news release.

"Included in these accomplishments is Inuit hiring at the mine, which increased by more than 50 per cent in 2018."

Baffinland also intends to recognize some of the significant accomplishments of some of its Inuit employees.

The company is also ready to answer any community questions about its plans for 2019 and beyond, including the Phase 2 expansion.

Feast are scheduled as follows: Dec. 13 in Hall Beach, Dec. 14 in Iglulik, Dec. 15 in Arctic Bay, Dec. 16 in Pond Inlet and Dec. 17 in Clyde River.