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AROUND NUNAVUT: Traditional games in Sanikiluaq, 180 Joamie students learn the fiddle, and pro photographers share their skills

This week, Quentin Sala tells about a successful week-long traditional Inuit Games project, Darlene Nuqingaq explains how 180 new fiddle player could be found under one roof, and two well-known photographers, David Kilabuk and Niore Iqalukjuak, lead a weekend workshop for Iqalungmiut..

Inuit games for children and youth


A week-long project focused on Inuit games took place in Sanikiluaq the third week of March.

Sanikiluaq children and youth enjoyed a week of traditional Inuit games in March, culminating in a Saturday afternoon with elders telling stories and an evening of fun and competition, with $500 in prizes.
photo courtesy Quentin Sala

Organizer Quentin Sala says the plan involved gathering the youth of the community every evening between 6 and 9 p.m.

"The age categories were great, and fair. During the events children and youth had a lot of fun and enjoying traditional Inuit games," he said, adding the week was a success.

"The last day was Saturday. We invited local two elders in the afternoon. They were telling stories about what they used to when they were young. They talked about traditional games. One of the elder was talking about seasons. Winter (had the) least traditional Inuit games, spring had lots activities and the summer had a lot of activities, too."

Saturday evening involved $500 in prizes for the children and youth, when games were played competitively and for fun.

Elders Lottie Arragutainaq, left, and Sarah Kudluarok, seen here with Sanikiluaq's recreation supervisor Keith Kattuk, engage in storytelling with children and youth at the end of a week-long traditional Inuit games project in the community.
photo courtesy Quentin Sala

180 elementary students learn to play the fiddle


Because Iqaluit's Joamie School needed a substitute teacher for a few months, 180 students from Grades 1 to 5 learned how to play the fiddle.

The substitute teacher was no other than semi-retired educator Darlene Nuqingaq.

"I offered to teach fiddle, so basics of music with rhythm games and singing," she said.

Nuqingaq had 9 classes three days a week, meaning by the time the kids settled, and listened to music to set the scene, they received roughly 20 minutes of fiddle instruction three times each week beginning in January.

A fiddling recital at Iqaluit's Joamie School March 26 saw 180 students perform for family and community, where they demonstrated how they'd learned to play thanks to Darlene Nuqingaq. Here the Grade 4 class performs as proud parents capture the moment.
photo courtesy Frank Reardon

With Nuqingaq's short-term contract completed, she held a recital for parents and community folks the afternoon of March 26. Of the 180 who played the fiddle in front of proud parent, only seven or eight are part of the Saturday fiddle club in the city.

"They got used to the routine and out of 180 kids – they all played. It was amazing," said Nuqingaq.

She started the younger students on the recorder.

"But a recorder is plastic … They saw it as a toy or a whistle. They saw the tables of violins and they really wanted the violins," said Nuqingaq, who explained they had to threat the instrument like a baby.

"You have to be respectful. You can't bang your neighbour. Because they were sword-fighting with their recorders. Once I switched to the violins, they were great, too. It was amazing what they learned, as well."

Aside from staging the recital so the parents could see their children's new musical capabilities, Nuqingaq said she wanted to demonstrate the power of music education.

"When I reflect on what they've learned … There are lots of transferable skills with learning to play an instrument," she said.

"I think it's a Nunavut record, 180 fiddlers in one building."

Nuqingaq's previous record is 140 at her summer music camp. One summer-camp student loved playing the fiddle so much, he might just drop percussion and xylophone.

Inuksuk High School's Mary Piercey-Lewis accompanied on the piano.

"It was great for the kids. It made it more special. At the end of the concert, they said, 'We want to do it again.' The piano helped them to sound good and to be together," said Nuqingaq.


Kilabuk and Iqalukjuak teach avid photographers how to stop using auto settings


A photography workshop, designed and led by Inuit photographers David Kilabuk from Pangnirtung and Niore Iqalukjuak from Arctic Bay, was held in Iqaluit the weekend of March 23.

Travel Nunavut sponsored the workshop.

Pangnirtung photographer David Kilabuk, left, and Arctic Bay photographer Niore Iqalukjuak, right, taught a photography workshop in Iqaluit the weekend of March 23. Workshop participant Tristan Omik sits between. The workshop is one of several organized by Travel Nunavut designed to encourage entrepreneurship in the tourism industry.
photo courtesy Sandra Omik

"Many years ago both of the instructors attended a photography workshop led by Canadian photographer Dave Brosha, who was quoted 'but then again, how fantastic would it be a few years down the road to have Nunavummiut leading a professional photography workshop for other Nunavummiut instead of me?'" said Travel Nunavut's Robynn Pavia.

"Which was the catalyst for Travel Nunavut to reach out to these very talented photographers to make this happen."

Pavia says 25 were registered, however, due to weather conditions in the capital only 15 attended. People came from a variety of backgrounds, and the intention was to get them using the manual modes of their cameras more often.

"We have hosted eight workshops around Nunavut all designed to encourage entrepreneurship in the tourism industry," she said.