Helen Navalik Tologanak of Cambridge Bay celebrates 25 years of writing Cambridge Bay Tea Talk, enlightening her community and our readers of Tea Talk with various celebrations and other happenings in her community.
Navalik was born and raised in Cambridge Bay to John and Rosie Tologanak, a proud mother of two Kimberly Dawn and late Julian, grandma to Felix and Alexis.
She was born in Cambridge Bay, part of the Northwest Territories then and was always proud of where she came from and felt that the rest of NWT/Nunavut should know about her hometown.
“There are not many communities from Nunavut so I feel proud that Cambridge Bay is part of the newspaper,” Tologanak said.
She was inspired to write for the paper in 1994 while attending the Nunavut Arctic College course Basic Office Procedures with instructor Vicki Bobinski Aitaok.
“Vicki was my inspiration to carry on even though I was struggling in life,” Tologanak said.
“I came across a newspaper and began reading Iqaluit Tea Talk with Wende Halonen. So I said ‘Oh I should try and do one from Cambridge Bay’. So I called Bruce Valpy at NNSL in Yellowknife and asked if I can write a column and he agreed.
“That’s when I began writing and Bruce encouraged me to keep writing.”
Her time in college is when Tologanak started her healing journey, after losing her parents in 1981 to a tragic accident.
“So I started wring and it was part of my healing,” she said.
“I was also interested in CBC radio giving community reports, everything was by computer. I am not shy to be out there interviewing and taking photos.
“I love meeting people, I have met people from all over the world and whenever I travel people would say ‘Hi, where have we met before?’ I say, ‘Oh you probably read my column in the newspaper?’ and that’s where they would recognize me. I feel privileged to show the world Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.”
While she always enjoyed attending community gatherings, taking photos and conducting interviews, she admitted with a laugh that deadlines were always her challenge.
“I would rush to get a column written and what topics to write about,” she said.
“When I feel stressed I would phone my editors throughout the years with NNSL. They would make me feel better by talking with me and sometimes I’d even be crying it out.”
While Tologanak always wrote about local topics such as hunting, community events or trips on the land, her favourite part of the job is photographs of children at annual Christmas concerts, Omingmak Frolics, games and kids playing outside.
“I didn’t have much opportunity to go out on the land, only if I had a ride,” she said.
“I also enjoy taking photographs of our Elders, always happy and energetic. I have so many photographs over the years.”
For Tologanak it has always been important to showcase the positive sides of living in Cambridge Bay and “showcasing what a lovely community it is.”
She also keeps a strong focus on the importance of family.
“I am a proud grandmother to Alexis now and looks just like her mom Kimberly growing up all over again and my grandson Felix (son of her late son Julian). I love my grandchildren, keeps me going and carrying on in life. I have been through a lot in my lifetime, but writing and taking photographs keeps me from grieving. They are my life and strength. I want to thank all my editors who are supportive of my work, they are the ones who make me feel worthy of my work. Many readers tell me that I am good writer and I appreciate that so much.”
“I am now celebrating 25 wonderful years of writing and taking photographs of my beautiful hometown of Cambridge Bay. I hope for another 25 years of writing and taking photographs. I enjoy it so much. I hope that many who enjoy reading my columns and seeing photographs will continue to do so. I have seen many changes as our community is growing so much bigger, children are growing up, we are all getting older and proud grandparents.”
Kakolak Avadluk, an avid reader hopes to continue to support and read the column.
“I’ve enjoyed reading it since day one, as it’s good for when down about other countries,” said Avadluk.
“Through communication, we keep alive reading about families and other issues. I love you Navalik and quana you are keeping healthy and strong and look forward to more Tea Talk.”