HALLUQQARIT. HILA ALIANAQHIJUQ. QANNIQPAKTUK KIHIMI TAMMAINNAQQUK. HIQINIQ ALIANAQGUUK. AIHIMANGGNINNAMA PIKSAUTTIT QUNGNIAKPAKTATKA QARITAUJAMIT. EDMINTINMIITTUNGNA PULAAQTARA PANINNUARA INGNUTARALU. NAAMMAINNAQTUT. TAMNA AANIARUT PINGMAN HULI ANIQATTAQNAIKTUK. NIUVARIAMI NIQIHANIK KIHIMI. PULAAQATTAQNAIKMAN INUNGNUNLU ILAVUTLU AANIAQVIKMIITTUT AJUQNAKMAN ILLAA. INUIN NAAMMAINAJAVUN ILLAA. NAAMMAKHIKNIAQPUHI. IHUMALUKPALAAQHIMAITTUMIK AI.
Welcome to beautiful Cambridge Bay, situated way up in the Arctic by the ocean, the land of Inuinnait, polar bears – now grizzly bears too – and plenty of Arctic char and much more.
Inuit still go hunting and live off the subsistence from the land, it is part of our life. When we don’t eat our traditional country foods from the land, we as Inuit start to get sick physically, mentally. But once we get some traditional food in us, we get instantly better, with more energy and we feel alive. That is the truth. It is soul food for us, like many other countries where different nations reside.
Today we celebrate the survivors and those who have passed on after attending residential schools across Canada. It is now time to move forward and to focus on how the survivors must carry on with their lives.
Many have struggles and many have suffered many abuses, violence both physically and sexually. Many students lost their culture such as language, traditional cultural skills and much more. Many did not have parental skills.
Today we can learn our culture back, but it is hard, learning how to sew, speak our languages, go hunting and live to tell stories of what the survivors went through and to never see this ever happen again in our homeland which we call Canada.
Today, many organizations, with funding through the Canadian government, are able to access funds to teach skills such as sewing, hunting, making tools, language courses and much more.
I see many young ladies and gentlemen taking all kinds of courses being put on in our communities. This is so beautiful and it is the greatest feeling to feel accomplished and to be successful in many ways in our lives. Our love to each of you and to thank all of our Elders for being kind and patient and to pass on their skills.
Today Inuit can walk with pride wearing handmade clothing and using homemade tools that our Ancestors used and this is still carried on, it is so rewarding to see this happening in our communities.
Today we have to work hard just to keep our language, culture and traditions alive. Let us all work together to keep these skills alive and strong, just like what our beloved Ancestors wanted in their dreams and our own dreams to come true and to vision the future for our grandchildren and for generations on and on. We love you, don’t give up and look after one another.
I myself as a Grandmother still struggle to learn to sew and want to carry on, no matter how old I get, I still want to learn to sew. I am still learning my Inuinnaqtut and will keep trying. I too make mistakes, I too struggle with alcohol and low self-esteem, but we can all work together to make our lives better and to make our children and grandchildren a better place to live.
Our lives matter. Take good care. Don’t ever forget who you are and where you came from and that our Ancestors will always look after us and it will make them smile wherever we go in our lives.
God Be With You Son.