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AROUND NUNAVUT: Stories in Inuktitut, a letter to Santa and Makerspace pilot project

Schools around the Baffin region had Elders and other special guests from the community share stories in Inuktitut during Education Week, while at Baker Lake's Rachel Arngnammaktiq Elementary School, kindergarten students share their thoughts about Santa. In Iqaluit, a Makerspace pilot project for youth takes off.  


Stories in Inuktitut featured at schools


November's Education Week at Kimmirut's Qaqqalik School was packed with activities.

The week started off with the monthly IQ awards, stated principal Kevin Nearing.

"The highlight was the Inuktitut literacy day on Wednesday," he said.

photo courtesy Kevin Nearing
Kimmirut Elder Elisapee Itulu shares stories in Inuktitut with Qaqqalik School's Grade 3 and 4 class during Education Week in November.
photo courtesy Kevin Nearing
Kimmirut Elder Mikijuk Kolola shares stories in Inuktitut with Qaqqalik School's kindergarten class during Education Week in November.

The day began with a pancake breakfast for parents, guardians, Elders and students.

"Then the elders read Inuktitut stories and shared their own stories with students from kindergarten to Grade 6," said Nearing.

Meanwhile, in Grise Fiord, students had a similar experience at Umimmak School when Mayor Meeka Kiguktak read to students in Inuktitut. That was followed by a meal prepared by staff and students.

At Alookie School in Pangnirtung, a successful Education Week was capped with an open house and staff appreciation dinner.


Students brainstorm about Santa

Qamanittuaq/Baker Lake  

Kindergarten students at Baker Lake's Rachel Arngnammaktiq Elementary School shared their pre-Christmas work with Nunavut News.

First the students brainstormed about Christmas and Santa, said teacher Sandy Tagoona.

They chatted about decorations and candy canes, presents and chocolates, angels and baby Jesus, and carrots for the reindeer. They described Santa's beard and belly, his black belt and his bells.

photo courtesy Sandy Tagoona
Baker Lake's Rachel Arngnammaktiq Elementary School kindergarten students brainstormed about Christmas and Santa before drafting a special letter to the big guy himself. Top row, from left: Uvinik Nakoolak, Sebastian Klinger, Isaac Qiyuaryuk, Hunter Tupik, Lexianna Oolamik and Gerry Mannik. Bottom row, from left: Layla Putumiraqtuq, Peyton Niuqtuq, Ron Parker, Zoey Oklaga, Liam Putumiraqtuq, Alice Sevoga and Ellie Anna Aingidlik.

"Dear Santa," wrote the students, "thank you for the presents." We like hot chocolate with marshmallows and candy canes. We used our listening ears, helping hands, looking eyes and walking feet in our school.

"We also like Jingle Bells.

"Merry Christmas Ho! Ho! Ho!"


Capital hosts pilot Makerspace


As part of winning a finalist position for $10 million in a Smart Cities competition, a collaboration headed by the Nunavut Association of Municipalities (NAM) has entered into pilot phase with a Makerspace in Iqaluit.

The project – Community, Connectivity, and Digital Access for Suicide Prevention in Nunavut – received a $250,000 grant heading into the final pitch in the spring of 2019. Pinnguaq Association, the Embrace Life Council and the Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre are partners in the project.

"The goal is continued growth of te(a)ch (computer science education) across the territory, and in order to do that we need infrastructure," said Pinnguaq's Ryan Oliver, adding, "part of that is running experiments and tests."

Hence the Makerspace, a hub of resources to help make access to technology a part of communities.

"In the Makerspace we're offering courses in technology and visual art," said Gail Hodder, office manager at the Iqaluit pilot space since early September.

"At this time, our consistent programming consists of after-school programming. I've been breaking the weeks down to different age groups, and one week will be a tech week and the next week will be an arts week."

Hodder says there have been as many at 27 youth coming by for the drop-in sessions.

There are also adult classes on the weekend. As well, the space is available to other organizations offering tech- or art-related programming.

In Iqaluit, those interested in checking out the pilot can head to Building 754, where the Makerspace is located. For other communities, consultations are in the works leading up to the group's final pitch.

"The $250,000 was to flesh out the final proposal," said Oliver.