Embrace Life Day Activities
September 10th is Nunavut’s Embrace Life Day and also World Suicide Prevention Day. The Kitikmeot Inuit Association hosts Embrace Life Day activities in most Kitikmeot communities and supports activities throughout the region. With a focus on a positive message and improving access to support programs and other community organisations, the message is clear: “Celebrate Life” and be proud of who you are.
At Kiilinik High School in Cambridge Bay community leaders, elders and survivors of suicide including family members and friends, talked with students about their personal struggles, depression and the support available in the community. After the presentations, almost half the population of Cambridge Bay participated in a community walk stopping at various community organisations providing emergency help and suicide prevention programs including the health centre, wellness centre and the RCMP. At each stop participants were given cards with positive messages and useful tips. The walk concluded with a community barbeque emphasising the message of the day: “Celebrate Life” and included speeches from community leaders and elders, recognition of support services in the community and prize giveaways.
Similar events occurred in Taloyoak, Kugaaruk, Gjoa Haven, and Kugluktuk with smaller events and walks through the region. If you are depressed or feel there is little hope there are many people and organisations in your community who can help, please give them a chance.
Multi-Media & Youth Leadership workshop
In May 2007, 16 youth from across the Kitikmeot received training in multimedia technologies and youth leadership. Participants learned skills such as story boarding, interviewing, shooting footage on still and video cameras, editing and production. Through interviews with elders, both in the community and out on the land, participants developed a better sense of their Inuit identity and expanded their traditional knowledge and leadership skills.
Sessions included a day out on the land at the elder & youth camp in Ovayok where participants practiced their new multi-media skills. Elders and participants were interviewed on the importance of spending time out on the land and learned about the traditional way of life, nomadic travels, traditional place names, leadership and even climate change.
The workshop was a complete success and the Kitikmeot Inuit Association is committed to further programs encouraging youth to embrace their traditions, culture and language. Using modern technologies such as computers, cameras and the internet, our youth can play an important role in documenting and preserving our rich heritage. For a sample of the video of AJJIKAMRA, please visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DL8axjlCyeg
Regional Youth Workshop
Building on the success of the first Ajjikamra project, the Kitikmeot Inuit Association sponsored a Regional Youth Leadership Workshop in Cambridge Bay in March of 2008. Focused on developing multimedia skills and youth leadership, 23 students from across the Kitikmeot participated in the weeklong workshop. Stay Tuned for updates, photos and video clips.
Inuinnaqtun Drum Dance Workshop
The Kitikmeot Inuit Association’s Beneficiary Services Department, in partnership with the Kitikmeot Heritage Society, the Canada Arts Council, BHP and Diavik, held a drum dance workshop from March 5th to 9th, 2007 in Kugluktuk. The workshop sought to revitalise the Inuinnaqtun song and dance tradition by bringing together 13 elders from Kugluktuk, Cambridge Bay, and Uluhaktok as well as staff from the Kitikmeot Inuit Association and the Kitikmeot Heritage Society.
The workshop explored and documented the importance of song and dance in Inuit culture and storytelling, focusing specifically on the traditions and history of the 3 Inuinnait (Inuinnaqtun speaking) communities in the Kitikmeot. By comparing and contrasting the different drum dance styles, song compositions, dance costumes and competitions found in each community, the workshop documented a rich history and preserved our traditions for future generations.
The rich history and traditions of the Inuinnait people will be enhanced through the many still images and hours of audio and video footage captured during the 4 and a half day workshop. The Kitikmeot Inuit Association looks forward to working with our partners to further strengthen the historical record in this and many other areas of our culture.
Regional Elder & Youth Camp Bay Chimo Hiukitak/ Higakvik
The Kitikmeot Inuit Association hosted its second annual regional elder & youth summer camp in the new conservation area around Higakvik Bay and the Hiukitak River, approximately 50km southeast of Bay Chimo. A serene environment with sheltered waters and gravel shores, Higakvik Bay is rich in cultural heritage, a perfect backdrop for our camp. With 52 elders, youth and camp guides, activities included caribou and seal hunting, skin preparation, kakkivak and ulu making, traditional sewing, navigation, berry picking, storytelling, and drum dances.
Through reminiscing with elders, visits to old campsites and the study of cultural artefacts, participants learned a great deal about their traditional way of life, the land and its heritage. For some elders it had been 30 years since their last visit to the area, all were pleased to know it was being protected for future generations. Some elders took a helicopter tour of the proposed conservation area, accompanied by Geoff Clark and Shaun Kuliktana of the Kugluktuk Environment, Land and Resources Department.