With a Sept. 20 trip to the polls bearing down on us for the next federal election, it’s naturally a time to take stock of the multitude of issues that Nunavummiut need addressed immediately and in the future.
Although Thanksgiving is a few weeks after the election, let’s also pause a little early and reflect on some of the many good-natured acts that take place around us.
We’ll start in Kugluktuk, where a bountiful beluga harvest took place over a few days in August. It resulted in an abundance of maktaaq being shared among residents. Some people went out of their way to ensure others had access to a supply of food. It was a great show of the true meaning of community.
In July, eight participants in a Rankin Inlet parka-making workshop donated their initial handiwork to students who could use such a garment. Ilitaqsiniq Nunavut Literacy Council organized the learning session for youths, who are on track to complete 120 volunteer hours through the Ikajurniq youth corps program. Then they made a second parka to keep for themselves. What a thoughtful exercise.
In a similar vein, as the school year begins, students in numerous Nunavut communities will be outfitted with school supplies thanks to legions of numerous donors who are part of Northern Canada Mini Projects. This organization, founded by Cindy Dhillon in Kamloops, B.C., provides help to Northerners on various special occasions year after year. The reason they do it is simple: they care about the hardships that Northern residents face with few options and high costs. So these generous folks dip into their savings and send gifts of all kinds, including backpacks, book, pencils and puzzles. Add to that soldiers with the Royal Canadian Navy showing up in Iqaluit at the end of the month with school supplies and backpacks donated from Halifax. Tremendous!
The end of summer also marks the final days of summer camps, such as the magnificent music camp in Nunavut’s capital, which the Iqaluit Music Society has been hosting for a remarkable 26 years. It allowed 80 youths to be introduced in August to traditional Inuit and Western music with drum dance, throat singing and how to play fiddle, accordion and ukulele.
There was also the Get Happy Summer Day Camp program, operated by the Recreation and Parks Association of Nunavut, during July and August in various communities. The young participants engaged not only in sports and recreation activities, but Inuit games, a scavenger hunt and a barbecue.
In Kinngait, Chris Pudlat Sr. took it upon himself to organize a day of boating, fishing and sealing for 20 youths on July 30 and 31.
“Our youth need to be out more in our beautiful land and sea. Too many in Nunavut have nothing to do, not enough recreation or hunting in our communities,” said Pudlat Sr.
He made that excursion happen with funding from the Qikiqtani Inuit Association. That’s some great initiative.
We’d also like to applaud the Inuit businesswomen who have reached the semifinals of the annual Pow Wow Pitch entrepreneurial competition. Emily Joanasie, Natashia Allakariallak, Bernice Clarke, Nicole Camphaug and Sheila Flaherty are vying for a $25,000 grand prize, but they are already winners, having defied the odds by launching successful businesses.
So, yes, we want our federal politicians doing much more to enhance the lives of Nunavummiut, but we’re also grateful for the people around us who have already done so much.