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Kinngait Elders resume gatherings at Kenojuak Cultural Centre

Following a hiatus forced by Covid-19, Elders in Kinngait have been able to resume gatherings at the Kenojuak Cultural Centre.

Annie Manning Pitseolak prepares to deal the cards during the Wednesday Elders Circle. Games and prizes are part of the weekly fun for senior citizens at the Kenojuak Cultural Centre in Kinngait.
photos courtesy of Maata Jaw/Kenojuak Cultural Centre

The Elders Circle, held each Wednesday afternoon, brings together participants for a variety of country food, beef stew, bannock, cookies and tea. In addition to conversation, they play games and a lucky few take home a prize, said Maata Jaw, who manages the facility.

“The Elders Circle is so much fun – lots of talking, enjoying food and lots of laughter during games... (it) seems to me that they enjoy the whole event,” said Jaw, who added that arranging Elders activities is her favourite part of her job.

While the Elders Circle restarted on Aug. 19 after being suspended for several months, a more recent addition to programming has been a Saturday afternoon Elders Storytelling and Digital Archive, which kicked off on Sept. 5.

Three Elders talk discuss original ways of Inuit life and compare it to modern times, according to Jaw. She said this month's theme is roles, duties and development of a child, which includes obedience and traditional expectations. There's a plan to record these events and post the footage on the cultural centre's website in the future, Jaw said.

Kinngait Elders who act as storytellers at the Kenojuak Cultural Centre on Saturday afternoons are, from left, Novaling Kingwatsiak, Ujjualuk Etidloie and Mayuriaq Quvianaqtuliaq.
Elders gather to enjoy some country food at the Kenojuak Cultural Centre in Kinngait. Caribou, seal meat, fermented walrus, clams, boiled geese and Arctic char are among the items that have been served.