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Inuvialuit News + Culture

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Emma Dick "It's Good to Wake Up in the Bush!" Christmas Greetings from the ISR What do we want? Safe Homes! Iqalukpik Jamboree Margaret Lennie Inuvialuktun Writing System CN Rail Memories Kendyce Cockney "John John" Stuart & The Tuk Youth Center The Bomber Pages!

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Beaufort Delta Residential School Reunion Mary Simon's Vision for Inuit Great Northern Arts Fest Jordin Tootoo visits Edmonton Jacob Archie on Trapping New Legislation for Tuktoyaktuk Hunters Tony Alanak to teach Fiddling Cindy Voudrach + Confidence Lanita Thrasher Flies High Top of the World Film Festival September/October 2006





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36 Sachs Harbour Muskox Harvest

Content Highlights

{Special Feature Nuitaniqsaq Quliaq}

03 How Nellie Works 14 The Art of the Pihiq (song) 28 Nasogaluak Brothers on Art 30 IRC Hockey Tournament 48 That Pipeline! 52 Ulukhaktok Art Center Given New Life


In The News Tusaayaksani

22 Compensation Money Well Spent Youth Speak Up Nutaqat Uqaqtut

25 Young Wrestlers Rock Calgary


{is Inuvialuktun for “something new to hear about”}

Publisher Topsy Cockney Inuivaluit Communications Society, Executive Director Editor/Reporter Creative Dir./Photographer Zoe Ho Translation Roy Goose Contributors Anne Crossman Markus Siivola Steven Baryluk Pat Dunn Photography David Stewart Design, Illustration, Layout & Typography Zoe Ho Proofreading Marc Winkler

ICS Board of Directors President Foster Arey, Aklavik Vice-President Joanne Eldridge, Sachs Harbour Secretary-Treasurer Sarah Rogers, Inuvik Directors Stan Ruben, Paulatuk Joseph Sr. Kitikudlak, Ulukhaktok Jimmy Komeak, Tuktoyaktuk Printing Quality Color


How Nellie Works

Nellie Cournoyea has

dedicated over four decades of her life to serving the Inuvialuit. Here, a look at the beliefs behind Nellie’s absolute commitment.



special Feature Nuitaniqsaq Quliaq


is 6 o’clock on a Sunday evening. The main artery of Inuvik, the Mackenzie Road is quiet. Most offices and businesses are closed, but if you look up at the Inuvialuit Corporate Centre, the blue glass windows of the corner office on the third floor office will be lit, and you can make out the profile of a woman bowed over papers on her desk. She is Nellie Cournoyea, Chair and CEO of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC).

“She’s in the office from morning, to afternoon, to night,” said Carol Arey, Chair of the Aklavik Community Corporation. Inuvialuit beneficiaries are represented by a community corporation in each of the six communities in Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR.) “It means a lot to me to see how committed she is. She’ll be there even if she can barely move; even after her hip operation. She always makes sure she’s there for the people.” Nellie was acclaimed as IRC Chair this year, and is now serving her 7th two-year term. This year, she was also awarded two prominent awards, the Governor General’s Northern Medal, and the Aboriginal Business Hall of Fame Award. These awards come in addition to the many other accolades she has garnered over the years, recognizing her immense contribution to the identity, culture and economy of Northerners and their place in the nation.

‘A Public Servant’

Nellie is a pragmatic person. To her, no matter whether she was Premier or CEO of IRC, she is a “public servant.” “You are providing a public service. You can’t let it get to your head that you’re more than what you are supposed to be, that is, you’re striving to be the best for the people that you represent; you are a servant to the people.” Her down to earth nature can be seen in the way she lives. Her small one-bedroom house, which she cheerfully tells me was once

“the first welfare house in Inuvik,” seems to match her humble personality. “Oh no, to me it’s not small,” she said, “Growing up, we had ten kids in our whole house and it was no bigger than this.” Nellie does have a bigger home in Tuktoyaktuk, but due to the volume of her work and travel, she only spends a couple of weekends per month in Tuktoyaktuk. The doors of these homes are always open when she is there, regardless of her busy schedule. This month some students from Ulukhaktok, who were in Inuvik to do an oil and gas course at the high school, have come to stay with her. Even though that further reduces her personal space, Nellie is excited. Helping people seems to keep her going. It makes her work impossible hours, and take on other people’s problems without complaint.

At this year’s IRC Native Hockey Cup, Master Ceremonies Roy Ipana introduced Nellie at the grand opening.

I said to the people, Nellie doesn’t have the easiest job in the world. Her mandate is to please all the Inuvialuit beneficiaries that she represents. She goes out of her way to support local struggling artists. She buys their work just so they can make ends meet, and I know her to lend a lot of money out to people. You get stuck, and the old saying is ‘Call Nellie’,” said Roy.

Before the Ingamo Friendship Hall was built, local gatherings and meetings had to be held in condemned buildings. Instead of washrooms, there were ‘honeypots.’ Nellie was called upon to bring people together to build a proper facility.

Timeline 1940 Nellie is born in Aklavik


1940s Nellie goes for a year to Immaculate Conception School

1949 Fur prices collapse 1950 Inuvialuit are allowed for the

first time, to vote in federal elections in Canada

1951 Aklavik Federal Day School opens. Nellie becomes educated by taking correspondence courses sent to her family’s bush camp.

(R-L) Nellie, Herschel Hvatum (brother), Nellie’s mother Maggie holding baby Gayle, and Jeannie Wright (friend.)


IRC Cup organizer Donny Hendrick watches as Nellie opens the game with a puck drop.


ellie laughs, “It’s like I have an Eveready battery in me, or something. I get excited about the smallest things, like when people accomplish something. I don’t mind providing some lodgings when younger people come up here from their communities to do something, and they feel proud of themselves. I feel just so great."

It took four years and dedicated fundraising, but Ingamo Friendship Centre became what the people desired, a truly Northern space for political, social and cultural gatherings, built from over a thousand logs that were floated down on the Mackenzie River from Fort Liard. The building became a home to the Northern Games, elder luncheons, old time dances and fundraiser bingos. Interestingly, three ministers of different religions were convinced to work as a team to lead its construction: Father Adam, a Catholic priest, Reverend Dietrich of the Anglican Church and Allan Critch, a Jehovah’s Witness.

1958 Imperial Oil starts seismic exploration on Inuvialuit Lands

Roy Ipana, hockey cup MC (right) and Nellie.


1960s Nellie works her way from announcer

to station manager at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Over her nine years there, she sought to acquire funds for aboriginal programming.

1970 COPE Established 1970 First Northern Games held by Northern Games Society Early 1970s Nellie works as a land claims field worker Inuit Tapirisat of Canada

1976 Ingamo Hall Friendship Centre opens


in Inuvik, providing a decent space for social gatherings and events. Nellie’s volunteer work as a board member was crucial to the establishment of this space.


Nellie (far left), Sam Raddi and other Inuit leaders at an ITC meeting.

special Feature Nuitaniqsaq Quliaq "And I feel sometimes I have a little to do with it, you know? Not everything, because people have to want to do it themselves. But I’ve been privileged, I am old enough to have known a lot of really important Inuvialuit and so I’ve a connection, it let’s you know why you are doing what you are doing.”

She said, “I believe a lot of people go to a lot of trouble to reward people whom they think have contributed. A lot of times I think what I do is just part of my daily life, but when other people think that you’ve contributed that’s always nice.” She adds, “I might be the one that’s being recognized but I didn’t get there by myself. A lot of the work and success that we had is a result of us working as a team.”

Striving for Inuvialuit Rights

Ever since the early sixties, Nellie has sought equal opportunity and education for aboriginal people. She strived for their voice to be heard when she worked as station manager at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, acquiring funds for aboriginal programming. During her years as field worker for Inuit Tapirisat of Canada and later as one of the founding members of COPE (Committee for Original People’s Entitlement), she worked with field workers and leaders such as Sam Raddi, Andy Carpenter, Robert Kuptana, Agnes Semmler, Billy Day, Peter Green and others to negotiate and secure the Inuvialuit Final Agreement (1984). Gilbert Thrasher, Chair of Paulatuk Community Corporation recalls, “We started working closely in the COPE days, she is trustworthy and makes us feel comfortable, she makes us understand what we are working for. She puts in the extra work to get to know everyone, and even now, she still understands the needs of the people in every community. In Paulatuk, she always helps with elders in the community, interacting with them one on one. We have great respect for her.”

1977 Inuvialuit propose their own regional land claim

When the land claims of the Inuvialuit faced obstacles from the federal government, Nellie ran as MLA for the Western Arctic. By 1991, she was elected as the first aboriginal woman premier of a Canadian territory. Nellie chose to step down as premier five years later, so she could return to lead the IRC, which was then facing operational problems.

Seeing beyond the present

The IRC has grown and evolved into an organization worth over $300 million, focusing on developing opportunities and initiatives for beneficiaries in business, education and training, community development. It also promotes cultural, wildlife and environmental conservation. Has it become more complicated ever since Nellie and her team have embarked on their mission to ensure equal rights for the Inuvialuit? “It was always complicated, right from the beginning,” she said, “Because what we set out to do was unusual. With the claims we were the first to step on a lot of toes, on the Yukon governments’, the NWT government, and other aboriginal groups that didn’t really like anyone setting precedents that they think might affect their negotiations. We were up against the oil and gas industry who were active up here, and who felt we were a threat. We really tried to make sure that everyone was informed of the work we did at a community level, and we developed a really great attitude amongst the Inuvialuit towards settling the claim. People pulled together, you couldn’t break them apart, it was very powerful. It’s the same for anybody: you set out to do something that is fairly reasonable, and get on resolving issues that you feel are reasonable…but then you turn around and find that it becomes very complicated because you are dealing with government.”


nother complicated issue is the pipeline. Whilst most people in the region accept and even welcome a pipeline, there are others who differ.


1979 Nellie J. Cournoyea is elected to the Legislature of the Northwest Territories. She held a variety of portfolios, including Minister of Health and Social Services, Minister of Renewable Resources, Minister of Culture and Communications, and Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources.

1981 The Federal Government introduced the Constitution

Act, a bill to repatriate the constitution and make significant amendments to it. 59 MLA’s, staff and members of the press went to Ottawa from Yellowknife to argue against changes to the Constitution with which they disagreed. Nellie Cournoyea was one of the Chairs of the Special Committee.

1984 June 26, Inuvialuit Final Agreement approved by Parliament in one day – a precedent

Nellie, NWT Government Leader Dennis Patterson, and Les Carpenter (MC) at the IFA signing in Tuktoyaktuk.



Nellie, CBC station manager speaks with announcer Edward Lennie.

Nellie at her desk in the COPE office.

“If you don’t have strong economics, you don’t have anything,” said Nellie. Her focus for her next term is to make sure the proposed Mackenzie Valley pipeline goes through.

Nellie is doing her best to protect us,” Roy Ipana said. “There are some people who don’t like her because of the pipeline. At first I was totally against it too, but now I can see that it’s inevitable. Nellie is looking to the future, she’s doing it for the betterment of our next generation. The Inuvialuit now own 1/3 of the pipeline.”

“Without the economics of a pipeline, companies will all go away,” said Nellie, “there won’t be any winter work, there won’t be any work going on at all, and it’s not good for people to not have employment.”

1991-1995 Nellie becomes the first

native woman to lead a provincial/ territorial government in Canada.


“You can’t allow that to happen. I believe there are areas where people are concerned impacts might happen, but those can be taken care of. People have to have choices, and if there’s another choice, it would be different, but right now, there isn’t.”

A dream for the Inuvialuit

Roy Ipana still feels grateful that Nellie encouraged him when he was seventeen years old and employed as a video operator at CBC. “She was my boss. Even then, she was trying to help me get my life straightened out,” he said. “She would say, Roy, if you didn’t drink, you can go places. She was always there for me.” Roy has become a strong leader for the Inuvialuit, volunteering and giving back over the past decades. The Northern Games has come back strongly in the communities because of the combined efforts of Nellie, Roy and his wife Sandra, amongst others. “Sandra and I are always there for Nellie, if she needs something she can call us, anytime, any place, and we’ll try to get it done. That’s what I am asking, for more people to stand by Nellie. She’s not young anymore. As far as I am concerned she’s doing one heck of a job. She doesn’t seek attention when it comes to herself, and


1996 Nellie becomes CEO of IRC 2000 The Aboriginal Pipeline Group (APG) was formed to represent the interest of the aboriginal peoples of the Northwest Territories in the proposed Mackenzie Valley Pipeline. The Inuvialuit became a full participant in the Project in June 2003, and has ownership of 1/3 of the pipeline. 2008 Nellie acclaimed to her 7th term, as CEO of the IRC.

Nellie signs an agreement as Premier of NWT.



that’s the way a leader should operate. She’s only one woman, we should help her by giving her more support throughout the region. Whether you’re in Ulukhaktok, Paulatuk, or anywhere else.” Three years ago, Nellie gave a convocation speech to graduates in Education, Rehabilitation Medicine, Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta. She said, “For many young Inuvialuit, the challenge is to recognize the opportunities that are available for them and to acquire the knowledge and skills to be a player. Only by reaching individuals and helping them to dream bigger dreams, opening the window onto a world of possibilities, will we succeed in making real the promise of the IFA.


y dream is that in the near future, I can sit in a room like this and watch as numbers of Inuvialuit walk across this platform filled with the same spirit and pride evident here today. Institutions such as this University can play a part. We need to challenge ourselves to find ways to engage the mind and spirit of a generation of northerners.


Agnes Semmler, (L) and Nellie (R), cutting the ribbon for the IRC building’s grand opening. Nellie posing with children at a celebration in Ulukhaktok.

Peggy Jay photo

In you I find hope — hope that you will touch young people and help them to dream, hope that some of those that you inspire will be young people from my part of the world. The realization of your dream today can lead you to inspire their dream tomorrow and thereby fulfill mine.” And for that dream, she continues.


1982 Woman of Year Award (NWT Native Women’s Assn.)

1986 Wallace Goose Award (IRC) 1994 National Aboriginal Achievement Award Honorary Doctorates: Lakehead University 1995 Carleton University 1996 †he University of Toronto 1996 University of Alberta 2004

2004 Energy Person of the Year (Energy Council of Canada) 2008 Aboriginal Business Hall of Fame Award 2008 Governor General’s Northern Medal

At the Aboriginal Business Hall of Fame Award ceremony.

Timeline Photos Courtesy of IRC

Awards include:

<<The Kulbisky family. The women of Hardisty packed their bags and went away for a week in the reality television series, The Week the Women went. They enjoyed new activities and opportunities that made them reassess their independence.

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Family formerly from Ulukhaktok in reality TV series Check out the series online at


or the publicity-shy Kulbisky family, being part of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation series The Week the Women went meant having to live their lives in front of the camera, along with others from the small prairie town of Hardisty, Alberta. They found unexpected rewards from their on-camera experience.

This is the first time Lucy has left her family and job behind, to go on a holiday with a group of strangers who became friends. The women struggle with their guilt at first, but soon embraced their “me-time”, bonding over poker games and striptease classes.

Production company Paperny films was looking for a town that would be enthusiastic about their proposed social experiment: what would happen, psychologically and physically, when you removed all the women from a community for a week, leaving the men with the women’s usually unpaid and undervalued duties as housekeeper and caregiver? The women are whisked off to Canmore for an all expenses paid week, to enjoy luxurious spa treatments, white water rafting trips, and a chance to reevaluate their identities.

One of the women, who had a near death experience while rafting, decided to go commemorate her new independence with a tattoo and piercing. “It was a great trip,” said Lucy. “The best part was meeting new friends. Now groups of the women know each other better than before. It was an adjustment but we all did well.” Lucy did not get a tattoo, but did feel empowered by having a good time on her own.

Tony Kulbisky, town administrator, said Hardisty jumped at the opportunity to put their town on the map. “We’ve been tracking the amount of people watching, and so far 1.4 million across Canada have tuned in (by the third of eight episodes). I think it’s because the series deals with issues that hit home for a lot of people. We are not actors, we were not rehearsing lines.” “We were not a feature family, my wife Lucy is very shy, it’s her Inuvialuit side, you can see her onscreen in the background, or off to the side,” he laughs.



The men also grew closer to each other and their children, as they worked together on surprises for the women: community projects, and even a marriage proposal. “My daughter Delaney helped me to plant the flowers that we had for a beautification project,” he said, “our family had a easier time because our children were older and could take care of themselves.” Readers of this magazine might be familiar with the Kulbiskys, who had lived for thirteen years in the smaller hamlet of Ulukhaktok in Canada’s Western Arctic (population 450) before moving to Hardisty, located 200km southeast of Edmonton. Tony was the first Recreation Coordinator of Ulukhaktok, helping to bring in facilities such as the arena and recreation hall. The family would like to send their best wishes to the Okeenas in Ulukhaktok, as well as to Mary and Eddie Okheena in Inuvik.

In The News Tusaayaksani

Youth Speak Up Nutaqat Uqaqtut Youth at the Inuvik Youth Centre go shopping for nutritious food.

Cooking Dinner at t he Yo u t h C ent er

The youth at the Inuvik Youth Center are having delicious dinners at the center. One week, they had caribou vegetable soup. Another time, it was vegetarian chilli. This week, it’s pita pizzas.

Yummy!” said Cheyenne Ciboci, as she layered on tomato sauce, cheese and mushrooms on her whole wheat “pita pizza” base. The youth are first taken to the Northmart, where program co-ordinator Lyndsay Wood quizzes them. “Which is a healthier choice?” she said, holding up a package of ham and another of pepperoni in her hands.

This is all part of Strong Starts, the Aboriginal Children Childhood Diabetes Prevention Program. “We’re basing it on the Canada food guide. So we’re talking about how many vegetables you should eat a day, how many grains you should eat a day. And how many meats and alternatives you should eat a day. The most attention was paid to how many sweets you’re allowed to eat a day. They all learnt that it should only be one or two a day, which for some of these kids, is not very much,” said Lyndsay.

How to make a pita-pizza: Buy whole wheat pitas, slather on tomato pasta sauce, put on cheese and topping on your choice, bake at 350 degrees in the oven. Enjoy!

“It’s all about making choices, I am never going to make these kids eat fantastically with this program, but I am going to help them make smart choices.” When asked why they cannot eat more than two candies a day, the youth replied, “It’s got too much sugar!” From the look on their faces when they made fresh orange juice with the juicer, it definitely seems like they are getting the message.


Aklavik Combats

Stomach Cancer Causing Bacteria

<<Nurse Sheila Berrisford holds baby Corbin Wilson.


illy Archie has been a champion of H.Pylori testing as a health priority in Aklavik for almost twenty years. Ever since the early 90s, Billy was one of the first few people in Aklavik who became concerned when community members, especially those in certain families, seemed to be plagued by stomach cancer. When a health team finally arrived in Aklavik to begin the study this February, he felt it was worthwhile to work through obstacles such as red tape and funding issues. “At least thirty lives must have been saved,” he said, because of the H.Pylori testing that the health team carried out.” Dr. John Morse of Yellowknife’s Stanton Territorial Hospital was then working in Inuvik. “I started to see stomach cancer among young people more often,” he said. H.Pylori cases were cropping up in communities such as Aklavik, Inuvik, Tuktoyaktuk and Fort McPherson. Statistics show that 1% of people who have H.Pylori get stomach cancer, while 5 – 15% will get stomach ulcers. “It was an issue that I kept pushing when I was hamlet councilor,” said Billy Archie, now head of the Aklavik Chapter of the Arctic Health Research Network, a committee made up of members from Aklavik’s hamlet, band, community corporation and a nurse from the ArcticNet Research Network. “Finally when I became mayor, I had the authority to get this moving.” Antibiotics that worked in the south did not seem to have effect on northerners affected by H.Pylori. It also seemed that H.Pylori was more prevalent in people with a large family that lived together.

Gladys Edwards gets tested for H.Pylori.

Dr. Bob Bailey, of Capital Health with Aklavik resident Martha Erigaktuk.

In the past few years, doctors with experience in H.Pylori cases (from Stanton Territorial Hospital and Capital Health) joined the cause. Dr. Morse, Dr. Sander Van Zanten, and Dr. Bob Bailey joined the cause. Researchers from the University of Alberta, led by Dr. Karen Goodman, are now working on cultivating the bacteria in a lab, and hope to release results in six months. The research is ongoing this team will be going back to Aklavik in the next eight to ten weeks.

They want to distinguish the types of H.Pylori found and to develop antibiotics that target those bacterias. “We are waiting to hear the news. If they find out what strains these are, they will be able to narrow it down and provide cures with the right antibiotics,” said Billy Archie. “It’s a really positive thing. I have heard leaders from other communities, such as Fort McPherson say, hey, we’re next.” “This is a million dollar study,” said Dr. Morse, “and we had an ‘A’ team.” Olympus, a medical equipment manufacturer, also provided over $800,000 worth of the equipment needed to conduct the tests. These scopes are being tested for the first time in the North, and participants said the scope, which is inserted into their nostril were surprisingly comfortable. “198 people showed up for the testing. They were all jumping on the bandwagon because at the back of people’s minds, they think: I might have cancer. We chose to have the study done in February because most people will be in town instead of on the land,” said Billy Archie. “We found about 55 per cent of the people we tested have the H. pylori bacteria,” said Dr. Morse. This percentage is more than double the percentage in the rest of Canada. Many people on the health team had not been to the north before, and were treated with feasts and chances to participate in cultural activities such as square dancing and skinning foxes. “The people of Aklavik were great, they get full marks for coming out, and also for welcoming the health team of 25 people into their community,” said Dr. Morse.



Photos by Terry Halifax, small photo inset by Karen Karbashewski

Inuvialuktun for ipods

In The News Tusaayaksani

Inuvialuktun teachers team up with traditional drummers to record songs in ICS’s studio.


We are doing the transportation unit, so all these words Betty and Mary sang pertain to transportation,” said Anna Pingo, Samuel Hearn School teacher. “With this pilot project, students are learning to speak complete sentences, and they like it a lot more because it’s a lot more interactive. The melody for this song comes from drum dancing, from the Inuvialuktun culture. Usually teachers use songs like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” but we are trying to steer towards the culture. Thanks to Betty it’s a nice song.” There is lots of laughter as the teachers refine and rehearse the songs they made up. Betty Elias, language teacher from Tuktoyaktuk said, “It’s a challenge, it’s the first time we gather to do something like this together. We come up with the songs as we go, making changes as need be to the new activities and songs for the students.” “Teachers have been teaching Inuvialuktun since the early 1970s, but they didn’t have a curriculum to follow all these years. Finally in 2003, they started writing a new curriculum, which is made up of units with storybooks and activities. They are now going through it step by step,

Illustration by Zoe Ho

nuvialuktun language teachers are piloting a fresh approach to teaching by stepping into the recording studio. Over the past few months, teachers have been gathering at the Inuvialuit Cultural Resource Center (ICRC) to work on songs to accompany a new curriculum for their students, who range from kindergarten to high school age. Sentences about specific topics are broken down into syllables, and sung along with melodies from nursery rhymes that are already familiar to children. We found Betty Elias, Mary Green and Anna Pingo recording a song about skidoos at the Inuvialuit Communications Society.

deciding how to teach each unit.” said Cathy Cockney, manager of the ICRC. She reported that the curriculum is helping the students pick up the language much faster. Anna Pingo, who has performed as a singer, said she felt nervous as Inuvialuktun is not her first language. “I hope I don’t pronounce these words incorrectly,” she said. These materials created by the teachers will also help teachers like Anna. “For some of these teachers, they need the materials so they can see the language, say the language and hear the language themselves, in order for them to work with the students,” said Liz Hansen, who has years of experience in training language teachers. Both Inuvialuit and Gwich’in language teachers work together on developing this new curriculum. “We want to keep the students interested. This is a rare opportunity for us to work together,” said Liz Hansen. “With a pilot project like this, a lot of materials are needed, and teachers are expected to make these materials. Language teachers are busy people, they don’t have substitute teachers or assistants.”




T he ar t of t he song


special Feature Nuitaniqsaq Quliaq

pihiqs must never be lost. The late William Kagyut come over quite a lot to teach me how to drum dance and chant pihiqs. We learnt the songs one by one, because he said that’s the best way to learn. One day, he became really quiet and there were tears running down his cheeks. We sang pihiq after pihiq, it felt like there was a house full of people even though it was just the two of us. We sang with all our might. That was when I knew he had taught me all he could. “They will be with you forever,” he said.”

Settling in different villages and joining in different land claims has meant these people do not see each other often. This isolation has been an obstacle to the practice and passing on of cultural traditions such as the drum dance.

When Morris Nigiyok told this story, he was in turns laughing and crying. It was the last week of January, the sun was finally returning to Ulukhaktok, and elders from Ulukhaktok, Kugluktuk and Cambridge Bay have also finally returned for a reunion. It has been perhaps 50 years since these same elders met as young people during winter gatherings in seal hunting villages on the sea ice. Drum dance celebrations would go on nightly once enough skins for clothing, and meat for food has been harvested. It was a time of abundance.

Renie Oliktoak remembers the kalgi, igloo ‘apartments’ made of cojoining igloos. “The kalgi had low roofs, just taller than a man, but they were very wide. They danced every night when hunters returned home for the day. When my grandmother went to the kalgi I would follow, but I was so shy to meet strangers. A person from the mainland, Kapatoan, would start dancing, and when, a lady, Eyeminak, grabbed the drum, he wanted her to be his dance partner. Her husband starts fighting for the drum, and there is a tug of war, but Kapatoan won, and the other man could not cross the floor anymore.”

These elders want to revive and preserve the Copper Inuit (Inuinnait) tradition of drum dancing. They share their memories of the rituals around partner selection, song meaning and dance styles, and often breaking into dance and pihiq (song).

By Z o e H o written with quotes translated by Roy Goose ph oto s by ZO e H o a n d Dav i d S t e wa r t

Stories filled with drama and emotions were told. The appearance of new faces and new songs at drum dance gatherings are seen as triumphs. Renie broke into song about a person who is excited to get his turn at the drum at such a gathering:

This is the first time I have seen this person Left Page: Drum dancer Bobby Kakolak from Kugluktuk dances as elders chant and children peek in at the igloo’s door. This Page: Bobby and Jack Akhiatak (from Ulukhaktok) enjoy dancing as partners.

This is the first time I have seen this person

A different person, with a very unique free styling dance...

Yangi ya Yangi ya 15

There was another song, made up by a starving hunter dreaming of a bowl of bowhead backstrap meat. Singers tried to not to repeat any song each night. “There were pihiq competitions,” said Andy Akoakhion. The competitor who ran out of songs was not too happy. It was really fun to see them compete, sometimes they would hold each other’s heads like this, and blows would start landing on temples.” The ability to write songs and the ability to perform a high quantity of songs is highly esteemed. It is up to each competitor to defend their pride and place.

Roy Inuktalik, an elder from Kugluktuk, is working on a songbook. “Recording our oral history is difficult because of a lack of education,” he said modestly. “I am working on the Inuit songbook so our songs can be organized, written down and made available to our young people. I write slowly because I lack formal education. I hope people enjoy it, it is not easy.” Younger drum dancer Bobby Kakolak from Kugluktuk told us why he is determined to maintain the drum dance tradition. “I am the youngest dancer coming in…it’s exciting, but at the same time I always find it hard to show younger people that they can do it too, that they don’t have to be shy. I finally realized it’s all about enjoyment. There’s shyness but always enjoy what you are doing. I am hoping that young people understand what this is all about, that this is about carrying our traditions on. I enjoy what I do, and as long as one person learns I am happy.” During the week, we were able to observe a transformation in the community as younger members got up to try drum dancing. Crystal Kongayona was especially inspired. “It’s been four years since I started drum dancing. I just want to keep my culture going. I heard my great grandmother singing when I was in pampers growing up, but when I got older, I lost it. When I started working for elders and youth and I started getting back into drum dancing. I am probably the only younger person around here trying to do this. I am trying my hardest. I am hoping the younger kids will come around after this.”

“When I heard them singing and dancing, I fel t like I

could fly. I fel t so ligh t. It just made me feel happy. It gave me the courage to get up and learn to drum wi th them.”

Jack Akhiatak is fully immersed in the emotion of the song he is performing.

The Kitikmeot Heritage Society, Kitikmeot Inuit Association, Inuvialuit Cultural Resource Centre and the Inuvialuit Communications Society are jointly producing a documentary exploring the history of Copper Inuit drum dancing. Elders are reconnecting with their dancing traditions, remembering and recording their songs and knowledge, in the hope that younger generations will have a resource to help carry on their culture. Mary Kudlak, elder from Ulukhaktok said, “I learnt the old ways from my grandparents Manuyak and Kalvak, they are singers of old Inuit songs. When I hear the beginning of a song, especially the first verse, I would close my eyes and imagine a pathway to their minds. It seems to open my memory and I remember the other verses of the songs. It’s good to pass it onto our children and nieces and nephews, to our relatives, to whomever wants to learn the songs and to use them as reference. Our cultures are about friendship, about helping one another, and to love each other in a good and healthy way as our ancestors have.”



The elders also performed a feeding of the sun ritual, a first for even some of the younger elders. Elder Kate Inuktalik found the Spring Melt ritual “uplifting.” To the tune of a pihiq, small items of caribou, seal and char meat, along with pieces of fur are put onto sealskin and tossed towards the sun when it appears over the horizon. Elementary school language teacher Mollie Oliktoak said her students really enjoyed interacting with the elders and rushing in after the offerings are tossed. A competition was held to see who could gather up the most of the food. “We are taught if we share country food, the favor will return ten fold,” said Mary Kudlak. “Our ancestors gave offerings to the arrival of the new year, to show their happiness, to give thanks for luck during the last year, so the sun god will bring hunting and harvesting luck like in the old legends.” Elders are now hoping that this event can be held annually. A television show on Copper Inuit drum dancing will also be produced by ICS for APTN. A big Quana to Emily Kudlak and Julia Ogina for being wonderful organizers and for interviewing elders in their language.

Top: Elder Alice Aliyah of Kugluktuk dances while the other elders sing and drum. Middle: Children and elders revive the Spring Melt tradition of Feeding the Sun. Bottom: Younger generations are encouraged to try drumming.


translated by Roy Goose

Kugluktuk miotak Alice Ayalik mumirtok iglumi Ulukhaktom innait pitiqitillotik.

special Feature Nuitaniqsaq Quliaq

Last Page: Innait Ulukhatomiut lo Kugluktukmiut lo Ikaluktutiakmiut lo katimavaktot pitiplotik lo unipkaktlotik lo hokolrovakhutik lo.


itit gok ataiktaksaungit tot. Kagyutim pitikqijaktujuktok igluptinun, tadjvani hokolrovaktugut pitinik. Pitinik elihaotivaktani poigolaijakhugitlu. Kignulikpanik polaariaktukmanga, Kagyut kolvivaliktok nipaikpiakhuni, hunaova kaitkilimailihoni kolvivaktok. Namakhigaptaa, pitikivaktugut malgoinaoplota iglukpak una inuviahiyotun iliituq nipitukpiagapta. Akhuukpaktogut talvuuna. Talvani illitorijunga elihaijaktutkilimaiktuk uvamnun. Kagyutim piyanga, Ilihamajatin pitit nognolimaiktut. Nigiyom unipkakmagu, kuviatakhunilo kulvivakhunilo ilihaojini itkagevakgamiong. Hikingum takunakhiviani January mi Ulukhatomitpaktogut, Kugluktukmiut lo Ikaluktutiakmiut lo katitpaktugut pitikiyaktokhuta. Kangaralukgnoktok takutigeekapta pitikijaktokhuta ukiomi. Engilran, katitpaktogut tariumi kalgijarangata atiktut. Pitikivaktogut natikhiuktit utirangata. Anorratlo, niksakmariksigapta lo ukiok naatlasingmagit. Inuit nunamiitungnaikmata initorlirmini, nunalingnun katitpiakhota numagiaktorgunaiktogut nuattkatiptignun taimanitun. Poiblikmun lo Unggahik tomun lo pitikeyaktoktlotik aolaarunaikmata, pitit lo atutit lo poigoktauvalealiktot. Innait makuatt pititlo atuutit lo poigulaijargomayain Inuinnaktun. Taimane, Inuit kalgimata ukiomi numikatitik numikategeyaktok paktot initoklimun najoktaanun. Tikinmata, sanairmata lo numagieaat pitit atuutit lo hokolrovaktait tadjvani.

Rene Oliktoam lo itkagevaktait unipkaktlogit lo taimane Inuin kalgijarangata. Kalgim kingiktilanga inum namagijanik ajanitomik iglulivaktot. Unuk tamaat numikpaktot tuvirat angilrarangat. Ananatiaga kalgi liaarangan maliktakatakpaktara Inuknik li illirahukhunga huna takunraktamnik. Poiblirmiutak gok Kapotaon mik attilik, natikmun haavitpaktok numikpaliktloni lo, arnap taffomap Eyeminap kilaotit tigoplogit numikatigejumaplogo, uigna kilaotit taploaagut tiguplogit akhangotigivaktaat tadjvani, Kapotaon akimavaktuk, tammna angun akiilitaungman numilimaingitnakpaktuk.â&#x20AC;? Unipkakpaktot aliaanktumik lo tuharnaanaktunik lo. Inungnik allanik takunraktamingnik tusarvigejomavaktaat Inuin numagiaat kalgijarangata. Taipana hokolrovaktait inuknik tujurmiaanik kilaohijarumajunik lo pitiqitillogit kalgimi:

Taipana quilliliqijuq Innait katitviaani Ulukhaktok mi pitiqiplotiq lo Inuin atutait lo hokolvovaktait itqaotlotik kalgijarangata.

Takuniakaluktaga uvanga Takuniakaluktaga uvanga Inungmiik allaamiik alangnangmiik apkuangmiutmikanga yangi ya  Gaaktiloni gok anguneakti hokolrovaktait arvirgum uliosinranik pitiqip loni, atokhimaitomik pitinik inuit anitivaktut kalgijarangata. Andy Akoakhio tim unipkakta, pitinik anittakhairangamik atugakhaikpaliramik, akiraotiyok anittakhaimat koveahugungaikpaktok. Aliaanak piaktok kongiakriaami akiraotiyonik tiglutiplotik lo, ulorianaktugaluaak tiglutinik, niakutik imaa gok tatimiplogit tiglukhirneakhimalikpaktok. Katimakategeet lo eyegeethotik unipka lioliktut Inuinait lo poiblirmiut lo atusiorutainik kilaosiyarmata. Innait pitikiplotik lo numiktlotik itkaouktulirmiyuaat pitiniik lo Inuit kaoyimatukangitnik, inuhaat takutkoplogit tusaakoplogit lo sivullipta pitkosiinik tamaktailinaptitku kinguvaapta atoktakhainik.



special Feature Nuitaniqsaq Quliaq Ulokhaktok miutak Mary Kudlak koliaaktok, “ ataatiamingnin Manuyak lo Kalvakmin lo elitpaktok pititnik sivullipta atutitukangitnik. Atuktunik tusaayarangama, atulisalirtillogit, sikungiktlonga koveatakpaktunga pitikiyot takoyoyapakgapkit tadjvanni. Itkaoktoktitpagani pitit atutaat lo unipkangat lo tusaavakapkit nutarautilonga. Nutakanun lo elaptignun lo, Inungnun lo kisutlikaanun tusaapkaklogit lo poigolaiyaktaksaraloaavut pitikinikmik koveaanakmata. Pitkosipta elisaotivaktatigut ekayoktigeekluta lo nakukutilotalo ihtluaagun inuniarutikaklota sivulipta atokpaktaatun.”

June Klengenberg

Kugluktukmiutak Roy Inuktalik, titirakpaliktait lo katiksuiplonilo pitinik. “Pitit titiraotaat ajornapjaktuk elihakhimangitnama titikikinirmik,” Inuit atutaalo pitikiutatlo katitpalirmijatka kingulipta atuktaksainik tutkikhijakhaotaanik, titiraktlogit lo inuhaat taigoaaktakhaat poigulaijaktakhaat lo. Kajumiitomik titirakpaktunga elihaktaungitnama, aajornapjakhuni lo.” Bobby Kakolak Kugluktuk miotak okalaotijatigut kilaojakpak tunga aliaanakpiakman lo kuveaagigapkit lo elitpaliaalirama pitinik atutinik lo. “Uvanga nukaktlikpangugama pitikijuni hamani aliaanakpiaktogaloaak kihimi inuhaat eelihautinahuaaktlugit aajornapjaktok, ukaotiplogit kangnuhoktailijakhaugaluaat numirmata. Ilitorijara kuveaahutaojuq tamptingun. Kanguhokkaluaatlota koveaagijakhakpot tahamna. Inuhaavut kagnikhimajakharijaat pitit hunaongmagnata, poigulaijaktakharaluangat. Kuveaagijara kilaojarnik, inuhaat elitpaliknearmijaat.” Tadjvaniitnapta, takunak paktavut inuhaat pitikinikmik lo katutijunik lo uktortlotik lo mumikpangmata koveaahuktlotik. Crystal Kongayunam koviaagivakta uktokpalirmata. “Ukiot sitamat kangiktoaat numikpalirama kilaojaktuni. Pitkohikput sivunmuakolirapku uktukpaktunga. Amaura tusaavaktara pitikeyarangat inugokpalirama, angikliplonga lo, poiguktatka. Savaanikama Inakni lo inuhaani lo numagiakataklogna kilaojarnik elitpaliaalirtara. Uvangatuaagnujungnakhijok hamani inuhaani kilauhijak tomin elitpaliaalirtunga, uktoinalirama. Nutakat mikitkijait opakpaklirtukhaogaluaat una kongiaruirumitku.” “Tusaagapkit engioktunik lo numiktunik lo, umatiga ukiplipgaktaat, koviaatakpailunga. Numirumalirtitgani pitikijut lo kilaohijaktot lo illiharumaliktitpiamanga nipigik mata.” Innait Ulokhatoliaat hikinikmun aiitokpaktot pijumajamingnik ukioptingni. Inuit elait hikinirmun aiitonraktot tadjvaniitnapta. Kate Inuktalgum koviaagija hikinirmun aiitormata. Atoktlotik nikisuaatiamik tuktublakmik lo natiplakmik lo ikalukpikmik lo amisuaatiamik lo kisigalimungaktlugit sikinrum tungaanun nalugak taat, sikinik noengmat. Mollie Kudlak elhakvingmi elihaujiojuk ukaktok nutakat gok aliaahuk piakhutik naalakhutik unipkaanik, kungiaktlotik lo Inait sikinikmun aitokmata. Ahiin, nutakanun lo inaknun lo pukuktittiyot nalugaktainik, taksijaksakaktlotik lo. Mary Kudlak okaktok, “Pajuktarnikmik elihajaovaktogut, tunijavut gok kagungkpan utiknearmata uvaptingun.” “ Sivulipta sikinik aitokpaktaat noilisarangan ukiomi nutaami, piyomayatik ukiomi nutaami, koyagiplogo lo sikinik, nakoaakunmini tunigamiong uvaptingnun.” Inuit illitkohiaat otikpalialirman uvaptingnun, Innait katimajaktoktut taimalioktoni elaoplotik. ICS kuneagaksaliornearmijot Inuinait pitikingmata lo numirmata lo kilaohijaktoktilogit APTN mi.

“Tusaagapki t engioktunik lo numiktunik lo, uma tiga ukiplipgaktaa t, koviaa takpailunga. Numirumalirti tgani pi tikiju t lo kilaohijaktot lo illiharumalikti tpiamanga nipigik ma ta.” 21

Common experience payments well spent Common experience payments – monetary compensation to former residential school students from the Government of Canada have by now been received by some people. We received a letter from Carol Arey, resident of Aklavik regarding this.

Carol’s letter

I wanted to say in this quarter’s Tusaayaksat what survivors of the residential school system spent the majority of their payments dollars on. We are hearing on radio and seeing in articles about too many of the negative issues that occured with the payments received. I am not saying that there are not any negative issues, but there were alot of positives that came out with the payment as well. We now see alot of snow machines and trucks purchased, if not new, then second hand. Such equipment was not affordable to individuals prior to receiving payments. There were alot of relieved faces on people who can now pay outstanding bills that they could not afford prior to recieving their payments. One of the big stories from Aklavik is that because people received their money, the furniture at the local northern store ran out. Everything was sold out. Washers and dryers were purchased. Household appliances and plenty of groceries, thousands of dollars worth, flew off the shelves and left them quite bare by Christmas. I just wanted to make it known that it is human nature to look at the negative, forgetting about the positive that occurs on a day to day basis. We tend to forget to thank each other, pointing fingers instead. We have to come together as a community, and help each other out. I hope this will help those who are not doing well. We should praise those who give even just a little helping hand to another person. That can go a long way. All of us might at some point do things that seem negative in somebody else’s eyes, we may be put down, but we need to keep our heads high and be proud of who we are, and where we come from. I would like to thank the community of Aklavik, each and everyone for being who you are and for sharing your smile. Let’s not forget our culture and our traditions. Let’s come together whether in times good or bad.


arol’s call for her community to come together and applaud those who have spent their compensation wisely is echoed in all the other communities. Most people know what others in the community have done with their compensation. Many are excited for Inuvialuktun teacher Sandra Ipana, who is planning to build a bush camp for her family with her common experience compensation payment. Do I deserve compensation? I think I do,” she said, “It was eight years of my life, even though I’ll never run out of stories. We sit around with our friends and all we do is reminisce about Stringer Hall and laugh. I had some very good experiences there, but I think I deserve something. I won’t say I was happy 24-7, you know. There were times when we were very lonely.”

“There’s so many that are gone now that did go through a lot but they didn’t get anything. Maybe a lot of them had a hard life because they didn’t know how to deal with many issues: the anger and loss of culture, language and identity, the person that you are inside you.”



Carol Arey makes a fire for traditional tea at the Aklavik jamboree.

There are similar stories in Sachs Harbour, Ulukhaktok and Tuktoyaktuk. Stories of families sharing, travelling, buying necessities to make each other’s lives better. Elders going on holidays and pampering themselves. Sarah Krengnekterk of Tuktoyaktuk observes, “there is a lot of drinking, but there is also a lot of other people who are spending their money in good ways.” Annie Goose, who went through the residential school system and now counsels others, hopes survivors will be able to have more than just monetary relief. She said, “For me forgiveness is important. I feel good after I did that in my own life. I don’t think I’ll be as strong today if I didn’t accept someone’s apology. To be honest, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to be as strong today, and to enjoy life as much as I do now. My mum taught me, once I went back home, don’t repeat what others do to you, don’t take on the behavior they had. If someone did something wrong to you, reverse it. I learnt later on in life, what it meant.”

photo courtesy of Debbie Gordon-Ruben

In The News Tusaayaksani


re h e r e w u o y d e We w is h

Experiencing the Space Shot Amusement Ride at Galaxy Land (West-Edmonton Mall.

Out and about By Markus Siivola When Debbie Gordon-Ruben and Stanley Ruben received their residential school compensation money, they decided they were going to offer their children an experience. Paden, Dustin, Colton and Kynwill Gordon-Ruben were in for a treat. First the family flew out of Paulatuk to spend six days in Edmonton. For two of the sons, this was their first time being outside of the Northwest Territories. The children roamed the huge West Edmonton Mall and splashed to their hearts’ content in the water park. They went to an IMAX theatre to enjoy wide views of the world from the larger-than-life screen. Despite the big-city-awe and the fantastic fun, the brothers did feel a little twinge of homesickness towards the end. Home is home, after all.

Following the visit to Edmonto e family traveled to visit Debbie’s parents at their home in Aklavik, which the sons had not been able to do since 2004. The family reunited, the sons helped the grandparents with chores, tried snowmobiling out in the MacKenzie Delta, set trap lines and went ice fishing. “It was very nice,” said Debbie Gordon-Ruben in her office in Paulatuk, smiling brightly. The boys’ experiences in Aklavik were as exhilarating as much as they were humbling. Compared to the wind-swept and barren tundra of Paulatuk, the snow in the delta is much softer. The boys, who were hardly acquainted with the mushy layers of snow, were properly introduced during their outings. Getting the skidoo stuck was a memorable experience. The opportunity for the family to do these things together was as important as it was unique. It touched three generations at the same time. The journey was made possible by the residential school compensation money that the parents received, but that alone is not enough to make things happen. More importantly, it was made possible by good intentions, creativity and the desire to live fully.


A mother’s love Words and Photo by Markus Siivola


hen Anne Thrasher from Paulatuk thinks about residential school, the memories come flooding in. She feels obligated to improve the lives of her daughters. When talking about her two daughters, Anne’s face lights up: they mean the world to her. She knows that she has made their journey to adulthood more joyful. She has always offered them her full attention and love. The compensation money she has received has therefore all gone to improve the education of her daughters. Anne explains, “I was there for each and every year of their grade school. A big part of what I am able to give back to them is that they are more prepared than I would ever have been.”

With the residential school payment that I received, they have an advantage to go out of Paulatuk, to go to post-secondary school, and not worry about payments and tuition fees or anything like that.”

Anne Thrasher working on freshly harvested fish with daughter Heather.

With her mother’s support, Jerrita recently graduated from high school in Paulatuk and now attends Red Deer College. “She is in political science and fine arts and enjoys so much going to her classes.” When asked about the younger daughter’s aspirations, the mother continues, “It’s just a matter of knowing that my children are going to go for what they really love. If she wants to be a carpenter, well, she’ll be set for that. But she’s thinking of becoming an RCMP officer. And I’ll hopefully be able to change her mind”, she laughs. “She has been in grade school for three years, and she has plaques for perfect attendance and excellent grades. It is a combination of devotion, determination, and showing them a love for education. Heather becomes distraught when school is interrupted by weather,” Anne laughs. “I feel extremely proud of people who spent their compensation money very wisely – whether it was spent on a holiday, an extra machine, a TV, or camping equipment. I am so proud of these people in Paulatuk.” “Everytime somebody comes to me in the office and tells me what they were able to buy, something that they weren’t able to do before, I can see the light in their eyes. They feel so good about it.” So, did Anne get anything special for herself? She sure did: every different fishing hook possible. The fishing derby is coming up, and she is now more prepared than ever.






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2 Alainna Carpenter wrestled hard in her weight class, which had all boys!

Li’l Demons show their game face with Coaches Ryan (L) and Casey (R) in front.

Youth Speak Up Nutaqat Uqaqtut Thursday saw the Li’l Demons swarm the Chinook Shopping Mall to browse the stores and pick up some new clothes, gifts for family, and fun novelty items such as fake presson nails. Later that day the team headed to the Calgary Rebels Wrestling Room to practice with the team hosting the weekend’s tournament. The young wrestlers went to see the senior high school team practicing when they first arrived; including one wrestler that is the current National Champion in his weight class. Coaches Russell Friend and Russ Mendonca of the Rebels team worked with the Demons and some of their junior team members to go over a series of moves and allow both teams to mix up their wrestlers with athletes from the other team. While there was some shyness early on, the kids eventually got down to business and worked on their moves with their southern counterparts. Alainna Carpenter said “It was weird because there were more boys than girls” – an unusual occurrence for the Delta Demons squad.

Chelsea Elias swept her divison going undefeated in all her matches against the boys.


Li’l Demons go to calgary words and photos by steve baryluk

There was one thing on the minds of the elementary group of the Delta Demons Wrestling Team most of the season: Calgary! After much anticipation and weeks of build up, the day had finally arrived for 11 lucky “Li’l Demon” wrestlers from the Sir Alexander McKenzie School team who were chosen to travel to Alberta for a five day trip that would see them practicing with a southern team and coaches before bringing all their energy and excitement into a tournament to cap off the trip. The team consisted of 10 girls and 1 boy (Christian Van Vliet) who commented afterwards that “It was tough at times [being the only boy], but I had a lot of fun actually.” With the team leaving to Calgary on a Wednesday there was a lot of time to fill before the South Elementary Wrestling Festival tournament took place on Saturday. Rather than just fly in and out the coaches decided to maximize the experience for the kids. Each day started off with a good breakfast and some time swimming in the hotel pool to get rid of any sleepiness before setting out on another adventure in the big city.



Some of the Li’l Demons getting set to see the elephants.

Tanya Moore beats a southern wrestler.



The big day was Saturday with the tournament in the morning. Things started off with a good warm-up and some wrestling games to get the kids going. This was followed by an actionpacked few hours of three matches going on simultaneously that had coaches David Halpine and Steven Baryluk bustling back and forth to coach the wrestlers when they were up. Even though, according to Paisley Day, the tournament was “kind of hard” because some of the girls had to wrestle boys, the Demons had a strong showing and each wrestler came away with a medal: 6 gold, 4 silver, and 1 bronze medal!! Their performances and skill level impressed all the coaches who made many positive comments to the Inuvik coaches, and to many of the kids themselves. A trip to the movie theater in the evening was a nice reward for a job well done on the mat.

On Friday the Li’l Demons made a trip to the Calgary Zoo and enjoyed some great weather – as warm as +14 degrees!! The kids spent the day winding their way through prehistoric lands filled with dinosaurs, tropical rainforests gorillas, monkeys, elephants, giraffes, hippos and stingrays and many other animals in their enclosures. “I got to see the hippos poop!” exclaimed an excited Karly King Simpson. After the zoo, the wrestlers went to the University of Calgary wrestling room – home of the U of C Dinos – for some instruction from a couple of the Junior Dino coaches, Casey and Ryan. The coaches put on a fun-filled clinic for the Li’l Demons that had them working on their basics and some more advanced techniques. The practice was topped off with some front and back flips onto the crash mat. Sisters Chelsea and Kristen Elias said they enjoyed meeting up again with Women’s National Team member Britanee Laverdure who had recently been in Inuvik for the Territorial Championships a couple weeks earlier. The Women’s National Team coach and the President of Canada Wrestling also happened to be in the wrestling room and stopped to take a look at some of our northern wrestlers in action. They all had great comments about the Li’l Demons skills and enthusiasm!!


Neta and Chelsea meet a hippopotamus! Sarah Seward performs a ‘hand turk’ move on a Calgary Wrestler.

The Li’l Demons show off their hardware after the tournament: six gold, four silver, and one bronze!

In the end, all the kids had a great trip and are already looking forward to more opportunities to wrestle in the next season. “It makes me want to wrestle more” said Neta Allen. Asked what they liked most about the trip, twins Tanya and Tamara Moore both agreed “I liked the tournament the most. It was fun!” A big thank you also has to be given to chaperones Karen King and Carly Turner, without whom the trip would not have been possible.



he Nasogaluak Brothers, Eli, Bill and Joe have built their fame as acclaimed artists from Canada’s North.

Their works have been featured both nationally and internationally. Eli has had prominent art exhibitions at places such as the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa, Ontario. He now lives in Yellowknife. Bill was a collaborator on the design and production of the Ceremonial Mace for the Government of the NWT Legislature, and now works out of Toronto. Joe’s claim to fame is with his mythical yet highly realistic carvings. He has chosen to stay in their hometown, Tuktoyaktuk. As a team, the brothers won First Prize and the Artist’s Choice Award at the 2002 Canada National Snow Sculpting Competition. They placed second in the same competition in 2005. Snow sculpture, although not a traditional form of sculpting for the Inuvialuit, presents exciting possibilities to the brothers. Eli has participated in this snow sculpture competition over the past seven years; his collaboration with John Sabourin (Yellowknife) and Randy Sibbeston ( Fort Simpson) placed Team NWT as first prize winner last year. Below are extracts from our conversation with the brothers in Ottawa, where they finish their latest piece for the competition.

T: What does your success mean to you? Eli: It’s an honour to represent the territories, and to be able to be recognized as artists. There are many artists up North, and a lot of good artists. It’s an honour to be here in Ottawa competing with Canada’s best. Bill: To be able to make a living as full time artists, (not only my self but the three of us)…it’s not only a career. It’s a passion. We all have that desire to make a living with our passion. That to me is my greatest achievement. Also, [success is being able to] interpret our culture in stone, a very permanent stillness. Joe: When I first started I went from gallery to gallery, and trying to sell a piece. I got a lot of rejection… now that we’ve built a name for

Joe, Eli and Bill Nasogaluak

Th N Br

T: Tell us about your latest piece. Eli: This piece is titled Dance of the Northern Lights. It represents a story that our elders have passed on for generations. They said if you see the Northern lights, you can whistle, and they will come down really low and start dancing. We used the idea of two dancers dancing with the Northern lights, with ice birds around it. It also represents our culture and our people, going through changes from the past and still holding on to our culture, traditions and values of who we are as Inuvialuit aboriginal people. The icebergs are done in a very contemporary style to represent the changes in life. Yet we’re carving the rest in a very traditional style in the top section to show that we still hold onto our values. T: What was the process for this piece? Bill: It’s very labour intensive, I’d say it’s about 90% labour and planning. It’s difficult because the three of us live in three difference places: Toronto, Tuktoyaktuk and Yellowknife. Our first day was trying to come up with how we’ll see this piece together. The three of us are artists in our own right, so we just work individually and yet we very much share the same process of working… We’ve missed our camaraderie and fun for a few years. This year we thought it would be nice to join Eli in producing a piece as brothers. It’s good to be with my brothers. Joe: I am a full time hunter too, and to come down here, to represent your community and to see the different interpretations of the theme, and how other people carve broadens my mind. When I am hunting I see the animals and I know how they behave. You can see the wildness in the animals’ eyes…and recognize how they feel too. The challenge for me is to recreate that expression…on stone it’s easier to do, on snow it’s really hard. There are limitations with snow, and it’s a challenge for me, and for us.




ourselves, we can choose who we want to sell to, and I think that’s my achievement. I want to show the young people, to keep going even if you get rejected from galleries. I want to give back to my community where I live so the younger people can at least try to make a living from carving…I have a shop at home and I always have time for kids who come by, to show them how to carve and be proud of themselves and their culture. That’s my passion, to pass it on. T: What drives you? Eli: Ideas - We grew up together, beginning as sketch artists. I believe it was a good starting point and we started to challenge each other. If I see one of my brothers with a nice drawing, I would quietly think wow, that’s really good and it will challenge me to go further. I think having that in our lives is really fulfilling.

The brothers were in m

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With their entry: Dance of the Northern Lights

Bill: It was always there, even when I was very young, around ten, twelve years old. We did art, we drew, carved on wood. I myself always envisioned doing art full time. I wasn’t the only one talking about that. Deep down we were always artists, we just didn’t realize at such a young age that it was our passion. I see it now. The drive was always there. Whatever pieces of paper we had…I remember drawing on

The Nasogaluak rothers:

a r t i s t ic c o n n e c t i o n

nterviewed by a variety of media at the competition.

brown paper bags because that was the only paper we had. We used pens, we used whatever was there to express ourselves in art. Joe: There were a few antler carvers when I was growing up. I see them also trying to make a living. Checking their nets. And carving. Even my father, he wasn’t a carver but I would see him trying to make a piece and never giving up on it. When they finish, they try to go sell their carvings, and I can see the people coming in and pricing him down. I didn’t like that. That’s where I get my motivation, that drives me. T: How do you feel when you are categorized as ‘Inuit Artist?’

Bill: They put that name quickly on us. I want to be recognized as an artist, period. Some of what I want to express is beyond my culture, beyond the world I live in. Even now, I live in Toronto, and I want to create pieces outside of the category of Inuit artist. I think we all do that. The three of us, we’ve done subject matters that is outside of our culture…that’s what I want to be called, an artist, instead of just an Inuit artist. T: What are the advantages and disadvantages of being an artist up north? Joe: One of the challenges is exposure. You’re limited to the venues where you can do shows and get exposure. Another disadvantage is the difficulty in getting the materials and tools. JOE: In the North I go outside of my house and I see kids running around and playing like when I was growing up, the blue sky, the air, it’s just beautiful. Even at 40 below, and I can go to my shop and have the quietness and the work. When I go outside and I am in a place I love. I used to live down south, and I would carve, and when I went outside I would see a building, and trees. I would just feel lost. In my community there are a lot of carvers, we have snow up there but nobody knows how to carve the snow. I think we must go forward and try to introduce it and help it. We have festivals every year in our region, and it would be good to have something like this. I see the kids and families enjoy this. This will be nice for people who are not into the skidoo races and such competitions in our region… My family and I go down to a [local] festival and we enjoy seeing our people, but at this level, it’s just awesome and I would like our people in the North to see that. Eli: We’d like to see snow carving events like this take root and grow and develop up North. Throughout the years we’ve entered competitions we’ve picked up a lot of good knowledge and I believe we can pass it on and build our own special tools. I think we’ve come to the point when we can pass on the knowledge to youth. T: What is the next step? Joe: I would really like to create monuments in our communities. You may see the ocean and the land and the pingos, but there’s no monument about who we are. I want my kids to be able to say, hey that’s my people and my culture. I think it’s lacking in our communities in our western region. Bill: I think my next step is to improve my artistic abilities and to take it to another level. Even if people can’t see it visually, I want to know that within myself. I want to know that I’ve done it. Eli: I’ve stepped a little bit into doing paintings, and acrylics. I’ve totally stepped into challenging myself in a different field. The challenge is always there being satisfaction and sometimes not being fully satisfied, so I enjoy that. The brothers are also looking forward to working as a team again, in an international snow carving competition next year. They did not place at this competition, but with down to earth attitudes and good humour, plan to take what they have learnt and work together on a winning design in the next competition.

Photos by Brendan Hennigan


In the 80s we star ted a hockey club called the Huskies, and we went to tournaments all over the area. We had fundraiser bingos and traveled at our own expense. I love hockey, I still do,” said Roy Ipana, Master of Ceremonies of the 2008 IRC Native Hockey Cup. The Huskies were the beginning of people in this region playing hockey together, and this year, as teams from all over the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, For t Good Hope and For t McPherson came together for another season of the biggest hockey tournament nor th of Yellowknife, Roy has a lot to be happy about. The tournament is the inclusive event he had envisioned since it’s beginning. “Any team can come in, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, what language you speak. That’s the way to run a hockey tournament,” he said.

to raise funds in order to come to the game. Paulatuk and Ulukhaktok received help from IRC. Sachs Harbour, who played last year, was unable to attend as they currently do not have an ice rink.

“The fans go crazy during the games, and go against each other, but after the game, there is no bad feelings whatsoever. That’s the part I like.”

The final game between Nor thwind and Tuk EGT kept the audience on the edge. “These teams are always in the finals,” said Roy, “the competition is always there. They’ve a couple of players from down south each. To win it all is their mandate.” MVP of ‘A’ Division, Mickey Ipana helped bring Nor thwind to success. Before he began playing, he had told his father, “This is going to be a big night.”

After over ten years of being organizer of the games with his wife Sandra, Roy’s son Donald Hendrick and his wife Wilma has taken over. Organizing the tournament means taking care of many details but Donald finds the payoff of “seeing all the fans enjoy hockey” to be wor thy compensation. Volunteers also help during the hockey weekend. It does seem as if hockey fever has taken over the fans as they unabashedly rallied for their teams. Aklavik’s call of “Never say die!” (their town motto) spurred their team on against Paulatuk Storm. “In the last minute of the game between the Gwich’in Flames and the Nor thwind Old Dogs, everyone was just jumping up and down and screaming. When the final buzzer went, it was the biggest play in the whole tournament,” said Jaksun Grice, Gwich’in Flames coach. The team won first place in the ‘B’ division. “For t McPherson has been trying for 24 years to win this tournament and this is the first time. It was a very big deal for the players and especially for the community. Everyone’s knew how much pride it would bring to them.” Waylon Snowshoe of the Gwich’in Flames was award Most Valuable Player of the ‘B’ Division. High Speed Auto, a team formed this year in Inuvik, was an underdog team turned victorious, placing third in the ‘A’ division. Chris Smith formed the new team when Young Bloods and East Three Rebels decided to move down to ‘B’ division, putting together some players from these teams. His favourite game was when High Speed Auto played against the LJ’s Sabers on Friday. “We lost 3 – 1 and then had a good game after that.” He liked playing against the Ulukhaktok team, Holman Ducks, and McPherson team. Holman Ducks did well, considering it has been three years since they’ve been in the competition. They placed four th in ‘B’ division. It is Clayton Olifie’s first time playing in the tournament, and he was admittedly nervous. The Holman Ducks player said, “It was lots of fun, and good to play in a big arena.” Teams from smaller communities had

IRC Hockey

Tournament Brings Region


Roy made a tribute to Bobby Gruben at the end of the games. “Ever since I could remember, Bobby was at the games every year, it didn’t matter who was playing. He was the biggest fan, and he had good things to say about everybody. He was always there to help us; he never turned down any request we made.” “We made a tribute to Bobby because he was such a big par t of the hockey game, and a genuine good guy who loved everybody. It’s hard not to see Bobby Gruben sit there on the benches,” he said. Bobby’s niece Erica Lugt, said the tribute, “warmed her hear t.” For most fans, seeing friends and family from different communities was a highlight. Onida Banksland said, “My favourite game was the finals. There were so many people and it was so exciting. You can see people from different communities interacting with each other and it’s always fun.” Roy sums up the spirit of the IRC hockey tournament, “I saw hockey players from different teams outside the rec. center after, talking about the game, and that’s what I like to see: the camaderie. It’s over, you wait for next year.”

Final Results

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A Division 1st    Northwind 2nd   Tuk EGT 3rd    Highspeed Auto

Aklavik Outlaws played a tough game against Paulatuk.

MVP: Mickey Ipana of Northwind

B Division 1st    Gwich’in Flames 2nd   Northwind Old Dogs 3rd    Fort Good Hope

MVP: Waylon Snowshoe of Gwich’in Flames.

A Paulatuk player celebrates a goal for his team.

A Gwich’in Flames goalie gets ready.

Craig Gruben (Tuk Blazers) and Fred Akoakhion (Holman Ducks) duke it out.

Mickey Ipana (L), MVP of the ‘A’ division with Donald Hendrick, IRC Cup organizer.


B Division 1st    Gwich’in Flames



A Division 2nd   Tuk EGT

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A Division 1st    Northwind

A Division 3rd    Highspeed Auto

Gliding Ahead – Hockey Hero & Mentor Charles Pokiak Charles Pokiak, (L) mentors young hockey players from Tuktoyaktuk at a youth game.


o u would probably never notice that Charles Pokiak, hockey player on the Special ‘O’s team, has only one arm. At the IRC Hockey Tournament, Charles plays with as much speed and agility as others on his team, and the hockey stick that is taped onto his arm is like an extension of himself. He is part of the minor hockey association, plays recreation hockey and says he feels “pretty natural” on the ice.

“Growing up in Tuktoyaktuk, we only had one TV channel then. Every Saturday, I would watch the hockey game on the CBC. I wanted to be Peter Mahovlich from the Montreal Canadians,” laughed Charles Pokiak. “I’ve played hockey ever since I was seven years old. I lost my arm close to twenty years ago. But I’ve been back in the game with my buddies’ encouragement for the past twelve years.”

“I learnt how to play as a young boy from Pat Kuptana. The Kuptana boys, David Krengnekterk, and Rex Cockney coached us. They had learnt to play hockey because they were at Grollier Hall. Father Lyon taught them. Every chance we had, we would be out on the ice. When we grew up, we only had a small back pond to play on. Nowadays youth are lucky with all these facilities.” Charles now coaches young players in Tuktoyaktuk, including the bantam teams, children and par t of the midget team. “Hockey is great for young kids,” he said, “when they fall down, I tell them they are tough, just like Sydney Crosby (Pittsburg Penguins star player), and they get right up again. It’s really cute.” “I really like to push hockey, because my motto is to keep the kids in school.” Charles dedicates more than three evenings a week to coach and organize activities for budding hockey players in his hometown. “The ice didn’t freeze here until after new year. I brought six players down south for the Arctic Winter Games trials, but because they had only been on the ice about five times before they went, they were unable to get in.”



Never theless, Charles does whatever is in his power to get the Tuktoyaktuk players into tournaments. “I talked Donny Hendrick (IRC Hockey Tournament organizer) to lower the age requirement by a year, so the younger boys could play hockey too.”

There was a darker time in Charles’ life, when he attempted to end his own life and thus lost his arm. “It’s not easy to grow up in the isolation. I was already lucky, I had a big family and lots of friends, but it was still hard for me. I didn’t know how to get everything out in the open, to talk about the darkness I felt. I am glad I got beyond it, and now I have a positive attitude, I am doing everything I can to give back.” Charles is now for ty five years old. “Now I want to help others prevent it [suicide], I get calls from teenagers sometimes. They’ve got to let it out. I might not work with the Social Service depar tment, but you don’t have to in order to help somebody.”

Besides hockey, Charles is now also sharing his love of the land with young people. Last year, he brought them whale hunting with the Brighter Futures program funding, and spent a week showing youth the traditional skills of butchering and preparing the beluga maktak. “Hockey is a good spor t for winter, when it’s too cold for activities on the land,” he said. “It keeps the modern and traditional activities in balance.” Charles is organizing a Fire on Ice hockey tournament for March, where players from other communities will be invited to Tuktoyaktuk for a face off. “Watch out for the Tuk Puck Chuckers,” he chuckles.

We would like to thank Charles for his courage and generosity in sharing his story. Young people who feel they need counseling can contact an adult/ social worker they trust, or go to (tel: 1800 668 6868.)

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Youth Speak Up Nutaqat Uqaqtut

Jennifer Thrasher is motivated to get a better education. She wants to be a role model for her daughter.

A New Perspective Jennifer Thrasher moved from Tuktoyaktuk to Inuvik last February to study at the Aurora College Adult Learning Center. She wanted to make a change that will impact the next generation.

I wanted to do this for my daughter. I want to be the best role model I can be for her. I want to get my education so she’ll know she can get an education, and that she deserves more. I feel that I deserve more than just working at the store, or just working odd jobs here and there.

“When my daughter came into my life, I quit drinking and smoking. My boyfriend and daughter both believe in me and look up to me, when they say I love you to me, I feel that I am needed and am somebody. They both helped me open my eyes to my weaknesses and strengths. I am also improving on my weaknesses at the Inuvik Adult Learning Center. I draw my strength from my instructors, my family, and my classmates from both Tuktoyaktuk and Inuvik.” “I met my teacher Zara at the Adult Education Center in Tuktoyaktuk, one day when I finally felt ready to go back to school. She had me do a pre-test, and from September to January I studied there, and by February I moved here and started my program with Joel McAlister. We had a completion ceremony in June and I couldn’t believe I made it in half a term.” “Last summer I worked for Parks Canada for over a month in Paulatuk. I got to job shadow Carleton Jordan, a Park Warden, and Marlene Wolki the receptionist. I really enjoyed it.” “I am now upgrading my marks from Grade 12 at Aurora College. I completed high school biology and now I am focusing more on English and Math, which I need for management studies and the Natural Resource Technician Program (NRTP). I am trying to decide between the two. My instructors wrote me some references to get on-the-job experience with environmental work.”

“If I like it, I’ll stick to it. I feel confident. I feel like I’ve found a sense of direction. Now I know where I want to go. Our teacher taught us to visualize success. If you put NRTP on your door, and you look at it everyday when you get up, you’d have the urge to go do it.” “Before this, I was not aware that I could do any of this. My sister and I had to come to Inuvik to attend Grollier Hall, because there was no high school in Tuktoyaktuk then (1991). An incident happened when my sister and I had to help a girl who was having a miscarriage, and the supervisor there was not being supportive. I couldn’t concentrate in school after that. I went home and missed one year of school. I worked and stayed with my parents instead.” “When we pushed for a high school in Tuktoyaktuk, Nellie Pokiak interviewed each student that dropped out from Inuvik’s education system, and we all had different reasons. I went back to school once the high school in Tuktoyaktuk opened in 1993, and I graduated from there.” “It was tough. I was a single parent. I wanted to go back to college, but I waited until my daughter was older. I took care of her with the help of my parents, brothers and sister.” “My family is very musical. When I am homesick, I sing. I have played guitar for almost two years now. I am not going to give up on music or my education, no matter how long it takes. It was hard in the beginning; but now I find it easier and have higher marks. I don’t expect to live in Inuvik forever, I want to see how far I can go. I’ve learnt not to just sit there and talk. you’ve got to move. I feel that I’ve grown stronger as a mother, girlfriend, sister, and friend. I feel that other single mothers and fathers can do it. If I can do it, they can do it too.”


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Muskox Harvest Creates Jobs in Sachs Harbour

Catherine Kuptana feeds the muskox at the corral daily during the harvest.


he hamlet of Sachs Harbour has a population of 120 people. About a fifth of this population was engaged at the Muskox Harvest from this February to March. Temperatures were in the grueling minus thir ties before factoring in wind chill, and much of the work had to be done in the cold, but there is a cheer in the air as the muskox harvest team carried on their respective duties. Catherine Kuptana, a 22-year-old resident of Sachs Harbour, describes people working at the harvest as “happy and busy.” Catherine’s work includes feeding the muskoxen and collecting qiviuk. Qiviuk is the Inuvialuktun word for down from birds, and the inner down of the muskoxen. “We work at least ten hours a day. We star t at around nine and get everything ready.” “When I first heard about the harvest as a child, I couldn’t wait to star t work,” she said. “There aren’t a lot of jobs in town.” Catherine plans to save her wages for fur ther schooling in Whitehorse. She enjoyed learning how to shear qiviuk from specially brought in exper ts. She has also overcome her fear of the wild animals after her daily contact with the herd. The community is proud that she is one of the first females to be par t of the herding team. Her father, Roger Kuptana and her brother Jeff were also key members of the herding team. They braved blizzards to bring the muskox home. “We went thir ty-one miles nor th of Sachs Harbour,” Roger said. “We found a good area for muskox. We gathered them in and each day they were fed hay, which we brought up on sleds. Throughout the trip we had a lot of bad weather. It took us four



days to travel back, at a pace of about 8 miles a day. We camped at each stop.” The arrival of the muskoxen is quite an event in Sachs Harbour. Many people in the community went to the corral grounds to await their appearance. In recent decades, qiviuk has been worn by heads of state and celebrities, such as the Queen of England and Canada, Francis Ford Coppola, and Sarah Jessica Parker. The yarn spun from qiviuk is softer and lighter than cashmere, and eight times warmer than wool. The Inuvialuit have traditionally harvested the muskoxen for survival needs. In 1995, organized muskox harvesting was recommended to Sachs Harbour by wildlife management bodies, to facilitate the recovery of the endangered Peary caribou population. The commercial demand for qiviuk was seen a key economic oppor tunity for the people of Sachs Harbour, who wanted to engage in sustainable business development, based on translating traditional activities to the modern economy. In 1997, the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation formed an agreement with Jacques Car tier Clothier Inc. in Banff, Canada. The latter company would purchase, process and market this precious fiber. Qiviuk from Sachs Harbour travels as far as Peru to be processed professionally. These qiviuk garments are supplied to Canada, USA, Japan and Europe. With the suppor t of the Inuvialuit Community Economic Development Organization, ITI and INAC, the fruits of labour by the people of Sachs Harbour are now extended to a global level. Christina Oxenberg, daughter of Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia, will soon open a qiviuk fashion store in New York.

“Right now, I am enjoying working at the harvest,” Lena said, “It’s fun to work with people, we laugh and sometimes we dance. It’s a nice break from sewing for me.”

Lena Wolki has become an expert at shearing qiviuk. She also knits with the wool. Closer to home: Lena Wolki, elder of Sachs Harbour and accomplished seamstress, works with qiviuk to create items such as sweaters, toques, socks, scarves and mitts. She buys the qiviuk at cost from the processing plant and sells her items to the IRC craft shop as well to private buyers. “I like working with qiviuk,” she said. “It’s a good income. Many years ago, I learnt from an instructor in Whitehorse to spin the qiviuk and to knit.” “In the summer time, I collect lichen of all colours, purple, pink, yellow…and I use that to dye the qiviuk.” Lena said her sewing keeps her busy “every day” as she works to fill her orders. She has three qiviuk knitting machines. Lena also worked at the meat processing section of the harvest. She said the harvest was an efficient way of harvesting an impor tant food source for the locals. Any

resident of Sachs Harbour who needs to supplement their protein diet can take home as much as they need at no charge. Lena, like other residents of Sachs Harbour, hopes the harvest can continue to happen every year. The muskox herds are monitored by the Wildlife Management Advisory Council, the Inuvialuit Game Council and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, and managed such that tradition and sustainability are combined. “Right now, I am enjoying working at the harvest,” Lena said, “It’s fun to work with people, we laugh and sometimes, we dance. It’s a nice break from sewing for me.”


Mayor Bob Eldridge looks at plans for proposed facilities to be built in Sachs Harbour, including this artist’s rendition of the new complex.


For Youth, Elders and Offices


ob Eldridge, mayor of Sachs Harbour has lots on his hands in his third term. The hamlet is preparing for the tentative arrival of two RCMP officers in April. The community’s capacity building fund has also been allocated for the building of a new complex. This complex is modern in design, and will provide space for the hamlet, community corporation, hunters and trapper’s committee, and a recreation center. “Right now, youth don’t have a youth center. They use the gym. With the new complex, there will be room for TV, a pool table, an excercise room. It will be a full facility,” he said.



In The News Tusaayaksani

MLA and deputy Premier visit Sachs Harbour Hamlet Nunakput MLA Jackie Jacobson and NWT Deputy Premier Michael Miltenberger held a public meeting on the 27th of February at the hamlet of Sachs Harbour. A range of questions about housing shortages in Sachs Harbour were posed to Jacobson and Miltenberger (the latter is also Minister responsible for the NWT Housing Corporation.)


esidents were concerned about housing shortages for educators and other employees in their community, as well as with the high rental rates in Sachs Harbour. Some individuals pay as much as $2100 for one month’s accommodation. Residents were also concerned that Sachs Harbour does not offer education beyond grade 9, and that 11 youth will have to begin grade 10 in next year Inuvik, where the boarding school is no longer available.

“It is hard to keep quality staff,” said David Haogak, who works for Parks Canada. He feels the high rental scales are contributing to a staffing crisis in his community. “Couples who both work often find it harder, because a big part of their income is gone after paying full rent. Some couples choose to not work because they can live in low-rent housing if one of them does not have a job.”

The mayor of Sachs Harbour and MLA Jackie Jacobson (front) listen as Donna Keogak, representative of Sachs Harbour Community Corporation raises an issue about housing.

Margaret Carpenter was concerned that the nursing station does not have an ambulance. She said that lives have been lost due to nurses not being able to attend to people in need of medical care. Residents were also unsatisfied with the high rates they have to pay for excess baggage when they travel. High cargo rates increases their food expenses, as many have to fly in additional groceries from Inuvik, to supplement the lack of food available for sale in Sachs Harbour. Other concerns that were brought up were the difficulties faced by residents who have to travel to obtain photo IDs, Northwest Passage sovereignty and wildlife issues such as polar bear tags and climate change. Jacobson and Miltenberger toured the muskox harvest site after the meeting before traveling to Paulatuk for their next public meeting. They promised to take the concerns of these constituents back to the 16th legislative assembly.

Options such as refurbishing old houses and developing a tender plan for those who wish to own their own homes at reasonable cost were discussed to resolve this problem.


A teacher

Priscilla Haogak’s


Inuvialuktun class involves lots of action and fun! Today’s class of grade 4 to 6-ers do a warm up dance before they begin class. The tune is to the nursery rhyme, “If you’re happy and you know it,” but the students sing it all in Inuvialuktun, clapping their hands, and even doing a bit of drum dancing. “When you don’t see somebody for a long time, what do you say?” Priscilla asks as she extends her hand to a student, giving his hand a hearty shake.

“Qanga Taima!” The students go over the date and weather, and take attendance in the language. This is Priscilla’s third week of being Inuvialuktun teacher. She was formerly a teacher’s assistant for more than a year. Before she could teach the students, Priscilla had to study. In Sachs Harbour, Inuvialuktun has become mostly a language of the elders. “I learnt the language by hearing my parents and nanuk speak when I was little,” she said. “Listening and reading along with the materials that came with this program really helped me.”




Photos: Priscilla drum dances as part of a nursery rhyme. Right: She takes attendance with her students in Inuvialuktun.

To tell you the truth, I am still not 100% confident. But I am confident enough to read it, say it, and write it so I can teach these kids.”

With her dynamic teaching style, the children seem to be having fun. They excitedly shared their knowledge of naapachat (a traditional game), and of sewing zipper pulls and decorative pillows. “Our people come from a place where we are taught visually, so I try to incorporate a lot of hands-on activities,” Priscilla said. “They are very intelligent children, I am surprised how fast they are soaking it up. It seems ingrained in them, and they pick it up so quickly it touches my heart.” Priscilla had left Sachs Harbour for school in Inuvik, but came back after her education. She cites her family and her love of going out on the land to hunt and to fish as her reasons for coming home. For now, Priscilla hopes to help popularize the language. “I really hope they can take what they learnt here and take it outside of the classroom. I hope they can be more comfortable speaking it,” she said. She had found herself speaking Inuvialuktun in the community, especially with her mother and children. “It’s even getting to the point where it’s difficult for me to switch over to English,” she laughs. A student in her class said, “I talk to my grand nanuk and daduk in the language. We tell them our Inuvialuktun names.”

Youth Speak Up Nutaqat Uqaqtut

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for the kind of business that I run – sports hunting, tourism, it goes with the guesthouse,” said Roger. “At first we had people stay at our house here, and then I thought of expanding. This was back in 1992. I developed a business plan and it went from there.”

ost people would find it hard to walk away from a steady paycheque. For Roger Kuptana, it was not a hard choice to make. He came back to Sachs Harbour with his wife Jackie in the spring of 1976, after having worked as an aircraft engineer outside of Sachs Harbour and traveling globally as a board member of IRC.

Running a business is not easy, but Roger enjoys the work. “To hunt polar bears, you go anywhere from 15 miles to 150 miles. You have long days, tedious days, but it’s great. I get a lot of freedom and a lot of exercise. I get to make a lot of contacts from all over the world.” Roger shares stories about his culture and life with the tourists.

Roger’s parents first moved to Sachs Harbour in the summer of 1955, from the East Coast of Banks Island. “The white fox trapping was very very good then,” said Roger, “and prices then were high for white fox pelts.” It has been decades since that fur boom, and Sachs Harbour is largely dependent on government support. What attracted Roger to move back to his childhood home?

“A lot of them are amazed. I guess in the States, Europe or Japan, they don’t have many wide-open spaces anymore. I took a group of Japanese tourists to see the muskoxen, they really enjoyed it.”

The outdoors, the freedom. I wanted to be my own boss. I can go hunting anytime I want. I like being out on the land, getting my thoughts together,” Roger said. He spent the first few years of his return as a trapper. “We had planned to stay only for six months but we ended up traveling in the summer, fishing and camping along the coast. I just fell in love with the land again. I couldn’t go back to a job because I grew up this way, on the land.”

Roger’s wife, who is originally from London, helps out with the business. She runs the guesthouse, and came up with marketing ideas like the Polar Grizz merchandizing. Roger was featured internationally in media as the big game hunting guide who led Jim Martell, a hunter from Idaho to capture a half-polar bear, halfgrizzly hybrid on the southern tip of Banks Island. The merchandize is very popular even amongst local residents. Roger’s son Jeff also helps with the sports outfitting business.

While some might say it is not easy to make a living in Sachs Harbour, Roger believes “There’s so much opportunity here. You can just tap into it. You just have to start working.” Roger began a tourism and sport hunting business, making use of the natural resources already present in Sachs Harbour to create a business close to his heart. The big game hunt guide business expanded and diversified. Roger now owns and operates a guesthouse with his wife Jackie. His tourism related services also include truck rentals. He attributes his success to self-discipline, which his parents taught him as a young boy. “Like anywhere else, you have to look after your business. You have to get your priorities straight. There is a demand

This March, reporters from National Geographic will come to Sachs Harbour to do a story with Roger about the polargrizzly. Roger has also been featured in the media with his climate change observations for Sachs Harbour. His view on climate change is pragmatic. “Well, if climate change is going to happen, it will. It will affect us, but it doesn’t do us any good to worry about it. The only thing we can do is to try to make more people aware of what changes are going on around the world.” Photos Top: The Polar-grizzly bear. Middle: Roger pulling up a fishnet. Bottom: Roger and his wife Jackie. Photo of Roger on boat by: Graham Ashford


Teachers In transition

I was pretty sure I wouldn’t end up sleeping on the street, but I was sure I’ll end up sleeping on someone’s couch, for a while anyway,” said Linda Hall, current principal of Sachs Harbour’s Inuthayak School. These are not words you would expect from a principal, but ever since Linda’s arrival in Sachs Harbour at the end of January, she has moved three times.

In transition

“I knew that a principal was needed, a vacancy has been here for a while, so I came into the community knowing that there was no place for me to live yet. I stayed at Kuptana’s Guest House for about a week, and that’s $235 a day. BDEC (Beaufort Delta Education Council) was subsidizing but I couldn’t afford to stay. And then I was house sitting, and when that was coming to an end they managed to fit me into the RCMP house for about a week. Finally I moved into the manager’s apartment in the Co-op. It will be shared accommodation, but it’s good, because I can finally unpack now,” she smiles. Linda first saw Sachs Harbour during her northern journey on an icebreaker last year. “I like the kids. Sachs Harbour, there’s something about it. I wanted to come back,” she said. The school is comprised of three classes, broken into grades K-3, 4-6, and 7-9. “With the numbers, it’s good. We have 26 students, and I like it because I can work directly with the kids and see what they need and help them.” It does not seem to make sense that educators passionate to do a good job have no homes in the northern communities they come to. Catherine Macaskill, who has been teaching in Sachs Harbour since last July, has moved twice since her arrival. “It’s not really conducive to coming into the classroom when you are under a lot of stress,” she said. Fuel can cost as much as $800 a month, and food is expensive in Sachs Harbour. Catherine, who has to pay student loans on top of her other expenses said, “It’s been a really hard year, I love it here though. But without housing, I’ve already sent in my notice and will not be coming back next year.” “This is a problem throughout the NWT, the northern allowance isn’t keeping up with the cost of living,” said Linda. “There’s a real value to northern housing being provided for teachers. You can jump right into the job, and do a much better job.”



Above: Tessa, Maria and Steven Lucas with their principal Linda Hall. Education in Sachs Harbour ends at grade 9. Students have to consider moving elsewhere for futher education. Due to a lack of housing, even principal Linda finds herself constantly on the move.

Students in Transition There are about six people in Inuthayak school’s grade seven to nine class today. Some of them will be finishing grade 9 this year. It’s time for them to decide whether they want to continue their education elsewhere. Tessa Lucas is going to Inuvik for her grade 10. She has attended grade 7 in Inuvik and has been thinking about her upcoming transition. She felt the last time was “good,” as she “made a lot of friends.” She likes that there will be more options for entertainment, food and shopping in Inuvik. She is not worried about the lack of housing, as her mother lives in Inuvik. Steven Lucas is Tessa’s cousin. He has chosen not to go further with his schooling. He said, “I’ve already lived there [In Inuvik] for eight years. I got sick of it. It’s too loud. I am going to start helping my dad John Lucas Jr. on the land. I’ll help him to hunt in the spring, and help him to make money though sport hunting.”

Sachs Harbour Co-op In Need of Manager

In The News Tusaayaksani


he Ikahuk Co-op has not had a manager ever since last summer. In the meantime, Joey Carpenter, president of the Co-op’s board has been doing his best to fill in, working six days a week. When I saw Joey, he was scrubbing the walls of the Co-op with a bucket of soapy water. Earlier in the day, he had thrown out produce that had gone bad in the refrigerator: shriveled broccoli, and the pitch-black bananas sitting on two shelves.

I am trying to just keep it going,” he said. His facial expression is both resigned yet hopeful. “Everybody who uses the Co-op is a shareholder of the Co-op.”

For Joey, this is a labour of love. “Why do I want to? I only gets paid $40 for each board meeting I sit on, it’s definitely not for money.” Joey is inexperienced with computer related tasks, and is thankful Charlie Haogak (store assistant) tries to help. Still, understaffing has caused the Co-op to face challenges such as disrupted food supplies.

Joey Carpenter, president of the Ikahuk Co-op’s board, has been doing his best to fill in without a manager or cleaning staff.

The Co-op is the only commercial source of frozen meats, produce and household supplies for residents of Sachs Harbour. Many residents are complaining about the disruption in service. There have been periods of up to three weeks where either produce or meat has been unavailable in the store. Besides the meat harvested through subsistence hunting, alternative food resources have to be flown in from Inuvik, costing an arm and a leg for freight. Bulk supplies and food are barged in during the summer months, and since the Co-op has already run out of many key household necessities, the people of Sachs Harbour will have to make do until another barge arrives this August. In the meantime, Joey urges his fellow residents to do what they can. “It’s in the best interest of everyone to pay their Co-op bills every month. Any cooperation we can get will be great,” he said. A new security lock needs to be installed on the Co-op’s main door before another manager can be brought in, and Joey is seeking people in Sachs Harbour who have mechanical skills to help. “Sally Esau, our former assistant manager will be back in town soon. She had left to have a baby. She was really good, I hope she can come back to work soon,” said Joey Carpenter.

Some shelves are bare or filled with produce gone bad.

The Co-op also houses an Aklak counter and post office.

Ulukhaktok’s badminton players pass through Inuvik’s airport, on their way to Arctic Winter Games trials.

In The News Tusaayaksani

Gearing Up for the Arctic Winter Games The airport in Inuvik has been busy with athletes from all over the ISR flying through for Arctic Winter Games tryouts in Yellowknife. The games will be celebrating its 20th anniversary and will once again allow northern youth a platform for their athletic dreams through friendly competition. Participants hail from Alaska, the Northwest Territories, Yukon, Northern Alberta, Northern Quebec (Nunavik), Nunavut, the Russian province of Yamal, Greenland and the Sami people of Norway and Finland. The Inuvialuit athletes will be competing in diverse sports: Arctic Sports, Badminton, Basketball, Speed Skating, Wrestling and Hockey. Representatives from Aklavik will also be doing Cultural performances. Watch for the next issue of Tusaayaksat to see how they performed!

Charlie Haogak Charlie Haogak made it into the Arctic Winter Games, having successfully completed the territorial trials for Arctic Sports in Inuvik. This is the eighteen year old’s second time to the games, the first being two years ago in Kenai, Alaska. Charlie began practicing in arctic sports about eight years ago, learning by watching others. He also learnt from Yvonne Carpenter, a coach in Inuvik when he lived there. “Whenever I get some gym time after that, I will do some practicing,” he said. Currently the main facility for youth is the gymnasium hall at Sachs Harbour’s school. The space is also used to host sewing classes and recreational activities organized by the hamlet and community corporation. Despite the inconveniences, Charlie is eager to go. “I am excited,” he said, “the competition is good.” Getting together with hundreds of athletes will be a big change. He said, “I am the only one training in Sachs Harbour right now.” “I think my chances are pretty slim, but it will be fun. My best chance is the one-foot high kick.” His highest record for that category is 8 feet 8 inches. “To prepare I am going to eat healthy. No pop, chips, or chocolate.”



Charlie Haogak working at the Sachs Harbour co-op.

By Markus Siivola

Angik School House Teams The Ookpiks,

the Amaruqs, the Nanuks and the Qavviks. The idea for creating house teams for Angik School in Paulatuk was born during a staff meeting at the school a couple years ago. From there the whole concept has sky-rocketed, says Jessica Schmidt, a K-2 teacher and a long-time staff member.

The Qavviks

In Inuvialuktun, “ookpik” stands for the word owl, “amaruq” for wolf, “nanuk” for polar bear, and “qavvik” for wolverine. Each of the four house teams has an animal symbol: a protector, with which the members of the team can identify. The owl is wise, the wolf fearless; the nanuk is strong, the wolverine ferocious. Each animal mascot transcends another in its own characteristic way. The teams consist of around twenty randomly chosen students and two or three teachers to run the team. The way they are constructed mixes up classes and age groups. The house teams compete for monthly and annual prizes by collecting points. Points can be accumulated by succeeding in competitions that take place roughly once a week, wearing team colors at school, attending and participating actively in class, and so forth. It is a collective effort where everybody’s input counts. In November the students participated in the Musical Chairs contest and in December the House Team Christmas Puzzle as well as the Christmas Tree Decoration. During Musical Chairs, the giggly students were trying to position themselves in a certain spot to get a chair. In the activity called Christmas Puzzles, they had to piece together their house mascot in a puzzle. The winner of the monthly competition enjoys a pizza-and-movie party, which is an award well appreciated among the youth. In January, the Ookpiks happily grabbed the pizzas. In the end of the school year, the annual winner is announced. They will receive the Liz Kuptana Cup shining proudly over the cabinets in the staff room. In 2007, the trophy was ceremoniously delivered to the Amaruqs.

The Amaruqs The whole concept of school house teams competing against each other has sprung to a refreshing success. Such an arrangement would not be feasible with conventional class structures because of age differences. The kids find the rivalry fun and carry the spirit of their animal protector with pride. The logos and the team’s characteristic color are a source of excitement for them. Students will want to wear their team colors in school. In addition, the house teams have unexpectedly become a handy structural unit for teaching: anything that is happening in the school can be delivered through the teams. In a way, they represent another dimension to the traditional class structure. The true beauty of house teams is that the youth appear to have set their eyes on a goal that goes beyond receiving material awards: they simply desire to be better than the other teams. They are motivated and follow the progress of the team points with a keen eye. There is a strong sense of loyalty towards their own team: an Amaruq will always be an Amaruq, even outside the school.

The Ookpiks

According to Jessica Schmidt, the competition has resulted in an enhanced school spirit among not only the students but also the teachers. The staff is in a constant verbal debate, a humorous litany of teases, over whose team is the absolute best. It is not a serious combat but one filled with smirky smiles. Angik School has a good thing going.

The Nanuks at a school event.

The Nanuks


Melvin Sittichinli, Herbert Blake and Danny Gordon Jr. are actors in Arctic Exhumation, a documentary for the Discovery Channel.

D ann y G ordon J r ’ s acting D ebut


Explosions! Action! All in a day’s work for Danny Gordon Jr. from Aklavik. It’s a wrap. The last scenes of Arctic Exhumation, a documentary that hopes to solve the mysterious origin of the Mad Trapper through forensic science, has just been shot in the Richardson Mountains. Danny Gordon Jr. is celebrating with his common-law partner Michelle Gruben and her sister Tanya Gruben. “I’m very happy,” he said, his first taste of acting for the camera has been intense. For over two weeks, he has been acting as John Moses, the aboriginal special constable who helped end the pursuit of criminal Mad Trapper Albert Johnson in the 1930s. He was also the body double of Albert Johnson in various scenes.


hey were at Shingle Point when auditions were being held in Aklavik, but when Michelle sent his photo to Myth Merchant Films, Danny was chosen for his athletic build. “Lazarus Sittichinli was his mum’s brother, and I put that in the application, maybe that’s why he got picked,” she said. “The people of Aklavik are really happy to have someone from Aklavik be part of the film. We hope this film will make Aklavik more popular with visitors.”

Photos courtesy of Myth Merchant Films

Reenacting the 240 km foot chase where Johnson was fatally wounded required similar physical exertion. “There were no lines, just action,” said Danny. He ran around on snowshoes in -30 degree weather, and even scaled part of the Richardson Mountain. The historical costumes and mukluks he wore (which had previously been used in a Charles Bronson film) ripped apart during the shoot. “The best part was playing the Mad Trapper when his house exploded,” laughed Danny, imitating the enraged criminal. “I came out with two guns in my hands.” Danny said he would act again, if given the chance. He enjoyed working with fellow actors Herbert Blake and Melvin Sittichinli, who played the roles of Lazarus Sittichinli and Joe Bernard respectively. Michael Jorgenson, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and director of Arctic Exhumation found his actors to be “real gentlemen.” “They showed up on time and took direction well,” he said, “There were a couple of days when we shot for over 20 hours, and they would still ask, was that ok, do you want me to do it again? They were real pros.” Michael Jorgenson said Danny was a lot of fun to work with, and the fastest shot. “We used perhaps the same amount of ammunition as they did in the original shootout of the Mad Trapper, and Danny would always be the first to say, can I get more bullets?” In real life, Danny runs Gordon Contracting, a construction business in Aklavik. His girlfriend was instrumental to his being ‘discovered.’



Melvin Sittichinli in a dog mushing scene. In gratitude for the assistance the community of Aklavik has given to this project, Myth Merchant Films will be giving back to the community by setting up an online community archive about the history of Aklavik and the story of the mad trapper. A full DNA profile of the Mad Trapper has been created. About six families who believe they are related to Albert Johnson will undergo testing to see if their DNA matches. The results will be out in a few months. Michelle Gruben is looking forward to seeing this documentary on the Discovery Channel. “It’s interesting, we live in Aklavik but we didn’t really know much about the mad trapper until we read the script. I can’t wait to see how it turns out on TV,” she said.

Photos courtesy of Amanda Clarke

Autumn Semple and Bonnie Koe pose with New Zealand’s Maori.

Aklavik Youth Showcase Nutritional Video in New Zealand Being tourists: Autumn, Bonnie and their school principal, Velma Illasiak.


Autumn Semple and Bonnie Koe decided to walk around Aklavik with a camera, asking people about what foods they buy and eat for their nutrition class project, they did not know that their video will take them all the way to New Zealand. The girls’ tongue in cheek commentary as they panned over the elevated prices of fruits and vegetables or interviewed people makes their video entertaining and watchable. The video was shown to Arctic Health Research Network.

“They sent it out to the Indigenous Conference in New Zealand, and our video got picked. We got selected from a worldwide submission base,” said Bonnie. “We presented it in New Zealand to a lot of aboriginal people from Hawaii, New Zealand - from all over the world - Australia, the US and Canada.” The video also asks elders what they eat, and their responses of traditional foods were intriguing for the international audience. The girls are traveling outside of the country for the first time. “But it was good because we are friends and we had each other,” said Autumn. “We learned to work together, being far away from home and everything. It made us stronger to go places and get to know how things are in the world, rather than just staying in a small town.” The girls enjoyed gondola rides and going to the hot springs. “More youth should get involved in stuff like this,” said Bonnie. “If they have more awareness, and go to more meetings…youth around here don’t really get into stuff like this often enough. If they do, they’ll come out knowing more information, and more about what they want to do in their life time.”

Youth Speak Up Nutaqat Uqaqtut


That Pipeline!


Anne Crossman

The edit or of PermaFros t Media e x p l a i n s w h a t ’s n e x t f o r t h e p i p e l i n e .

Tuktoyaktuk’s hamlet officials and community corporation make a presentation to the JRP.


many people in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, there are many who are getting a bit frustrated with the length of time it’s taking to get a pipeline to carry all that natural gas from the Mackenzie Delta down to Alberta. This proposed pipeline has a long history. It started in the 1970s with all kinds of exploration work going on, took a real dive in activity after Thomas Berger said that land claims needed to be settled before anything happened.   So the Inuvialuit settled their land claim in the early 1980s and we are still waiting to see that pipeline!   Actually, there is a pipeline which the Inuvialuit built to bring natural gas to Inuvik from the Ikhil field here in the Delta. It took a while but it got done because the Inuvialuit wanted it done.   This Mackenzie pipe is way more difficult to move forward – mostly because of all the players involved and the agreements that have to be in place before anything gets done.   There are many, many players involved in this process – all levels of government and land claims organizations; most of the communities in the NWT; many Northern businesses; scientists who seem to be experts in all things arctic; big (really, really big) oil and gas companies; all manner of environmental groups; the regulatory agencies; lots of ordinary people; some reporters; and last, but not least – oodles of lawyers!   the past four years – FOUR YEARS – we’ve been listening to all the arguments both for the pipeline and against it. Those who have said they are against this project have expressed fears for the land and the animals and their way of life. They worry that a huge influx of people from down South could cause all kinds of social problems. And there is a concern that large amounts of money in the communities will bring more drugs and alcohol and all the problems they bring.  




Agnes White translates in real time at the JRP.

Others have said that if the project is closely monitored and the rules for how the project is to go ahead are strict, then it could mean their homes would be better, their children wouldn’t have to leave to get jobs and they could be selfsufficient. The application by the Mackenzie Gas Project group (Imperial Oil, ConocoPhillips, Shell Canada and the Aboriginal Pipeline Group) was officially made in 2004. First the federal National Energy Board started its hearing in Inuvik in January 2005. Then they went up and down the Valley and heard from all kinds of people – experts and industry and ordinary folks. They ended their meetings in Yellowknife last fall.   Then the Joint Review Panel started its hearings in Inuvik in February of 2005 and they went on and on and on up and down the Valley. Those hearings ended in November 2007 in Inuvik.  

So where are we now?

As far as the hearings are concerned, they have finally (and mercifully!) ended. The Joint Review Panel has hired a group of around six or so people to write the final report. Those people have to sift through 11,000 pages of testimony and come up with a manageable document which the panel can use to come up with its recommendations. This panel was put together by the federal government so that report has to be approved by that level.   Then the report goes to the National Energy Board and gets incorporated into their deliberations which they are working on at this time. It is expected that all this information will be going to the federal cabinet mid-2009. Can you believe it? Five years to get an answer on whether all the rules and regulations have been met.   There’s a bit of a new wrinkle in the process that will have to play out over the next months. TransCanada Pipeline has been a big backer of the Aboriginal Pipeline Group (which includes the Inuvialuit, the Gwich’in and other Northern

The Joint Review Panel

Special Feature Nuitaniqsaq Quliaq

Here is the present guesstimate of what will be happening next in this process. June 2008

A report will be presented by the Joint Review Panel to the federal government which will be reviewed and approved. This is also the time when the companies and the panel could be asked questions. First Nations in the Sahtu). TransCanada may end up being the company that builds the pipeline instead of the Mackenzie Gas group, who do not normally build pipelines – they explore and develop oil and gas fields. We have not heard the end of that scenario. And lastly, the companies will have to decide whether or not they want to go ahead and build this pipeline. It’s expensive, no question.   So when all the ducks have been lined up in a row and the stars are in the right place and everyone has been good – the Mackenzie Gas Pipeline could start being built in 2010 and be finished with gas moving through it by 2014.  

What will all this mean for the Inuvialuit?

There will be jobs for a few years during the construction phase. There will be some jobs at the compressors stations along the route. There will be jobs once the announcements are made in the big exploration push that will happen.   So now is the time to get training. Take the time to get the specialized training in areas which take a few years. There will be jobs for truck drivers and other heavy equipment operators, for sure. But there will also be jobs for computer operators and crew bosses and those kinds of positions which could lead to other oil and gas jobs as far as a person wants to go. Remember that there is that Alaska gas pipeline project that is just starting through its process. If you have those skills already, they will be looking to hire over there as well.   While we still aren’t able to look into the future to see whether this pipeline is going to go ahead, it will be important to the Inuvialuit to be as prepared as possible with knowledge and training.

Later 2008

The National Energy Board will then get together to hear final arguments from the intervenors.


The National Energy Board will prepare its report and reasons for its decisions. It will send that report to the federal government for final approval.


The Mackenzie Gas Project group will then make its final decision on whether to go ahead with construction of the pipeline.


There will be some more hearings to take place in the NWT about various permits (and there are lots) that will be required.

Elder Persis Gruben presents her point of view.


Parks Canada’s Environmental Stewardship Program: Celebrating five years of a travelling road show! by Pat Dunn

Every fall, Parks Canada staff hit the road to visit Western Arctic communities. Since 2003, Parks Canada staff have travelled each winter to each of nine communities in the Western Arctic. They visit all of the grade 4 classes in every school to deliver the Environmental Stewardship Certificate Program. This 4 to 5 hour program takes a team of two staff to deliver, and takes place during up to 5 classroom visits. Students learn about their own local ecosystem, about how the parts of that ecosystem are related, and learn to take action to protect their own ecosystem and neighbourhood.

The program gets students out of their desks and working together in order to learn. They take on the roles of plants and animals to build a “web of Life” and do artwork on what they like about their own homes. They take part in a scavenger hunt where they look outdoors for animal shelters or for evidence of camouflage, or for food chains. They learn about the water cycle. They debate dilemmas: those tricky situations we all find ourselves in where it is hard to make a decision on what is the right thing to do. Finally, students commit to an individual, personal action to help the ecosystem.

on the tree’s leaves. Each student gets a certificate of graduation from the Environmental Stewardship program. The program was developed by Parks Canada ecologists. It is intended to help students learn that everything is interrelated; that living things including people all depend on each other for survival; and that people have a role to play in taking care of the environment and living things. Education and outreach are important activities for Parks Canada. The Environmental Stewardship Certificate Program is Parks Canada’s main school program in the Western Arctic. The program has had a side benefit for Parks Canada staff too! It gives them the chance to spend time in the different communities each winter, meeting people and learning about community life. Nearly every grade 4 student in our region has a certificate from the Environmental Stewardship program now! That’s a lot of personal commitments to help the environment – something Western Arctic students can all be proud of.

At the end of the program the class builds an action tree with all of the student commitments written

Children school m Students at Angik School learnt people are made up of 70% water!



Special Feature Nuitaniqsaq Quliaq

With thanks to all the grade 4s and their teachers for welcoming Parks Canada staff to their communities! Thanks to: Sir Alexander Mackenzie School, Inuvik Mangilaluk School, Tuktoyaktuk Moose Kerr School, Aklavik Angik School, Paulatuk Inualthuyak School, Sachs Harbour Chief Julius School, Fort McPherson Chief Paul Niditchie School, Tsiigehtchic Helen Kalvak School, Ulukhaktok Grandfather Ayha school School, Deline

n at Helen Kalvak make a â&#x20AC;&#x153;web of life.â&#x20AC;?

Photos and material courtesy of Parks Canada


Margaret Kanayok enjoyed working at the Arts Center in Ulukhaktok, before it closed down.

Ulukhaktok Art Center Finds New

L ife “It’s

a very exciting time for us,” said Louie Nigiyok, chairperson of the Ulukhaktok Artists Association (UAA).

The association was formed to accomplish a daunting task: to make the arts in Ulukhaktok viable again. This February, The Northwest Territories Business Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC) announced the establishment of a new subsidiary in partnership with the UAA. This subsidiary will allow the Ulukhaktok crafts centre to become operational again. It is estimated that two full-time and sixty part-time positions will be created in Ulukhaktok - a significant increase in employment for a community of approximately four hundred people.

“There is a twinkle in the people’s eyes,” said Joe Perry of the UAA. “All we have in Ulukhaktok was the hotel and the restaurant. Once we get the artists back into the arts building, it will breathe life into it. It will become the hub of Ulukhaktok again.” 52


Ulukhaktok has a longstanding arts and crafts tradition, and is the birthplace of the internationally acclaimed ‘Holman Prints.’ From the sixties onwards, the arts flourished in Ulukhaktok (formerly named Holman), and many members of its community were printmakers, carvers, and crafts makers. “The arts started dying down about eight years ago,” said Louie Nigiyok, chair of UAA, “because of the closure of the arts and crafts center. Before that, I worked nineteen years for the print shop.” The UAA board worked with IRC and ITI (Industry, Tourism and Investment) to seek the funds needed to rectify the situation. “There were a few ups and downs, we’ve had our application rejected once in the past. But our main goal was to revive our arts and culture, looking at that made me want to continue,” said Louie. The UAA changed its application focus from getting venture capital to becoming a subsidiary company two years ago. “We have to thank a whole bunch of people for helping us, Eugene Rees at ITI, Nellie Cournoyea at IRC, Joe Perry the Co-op manager, and the board of UAA.” The Ulukhaktok Community Corporation and the Hamlet of Ulukhaktok formed a committee to decide where to allocate the community’s capacity building fund. “We made a plan to put money in the arts. There were too many people laid off when they stopped doing art. Some people did continue to sell art privately, but and it was sad that others had nothing to do.”

Special Feature Nuitaniqsaq Quliaq

“The committee looked at the number of artists in the hamlet, and decided to invest $150,000 into the revival of the arts center,” said mayor Peter Malgokak.

“Then we’ll have a mini grand opening,” he smiled. “Right now people are trying to teach children traditional arts in makeshift buildings and the school. Once we get the building operational, we can get more young people involved.”

“That investment showed that the community is 100% behind this initiative. We couldn’t have gotten there without their support. Working together as a team got us this far,” said Joe Perry. He also estimated that it would take about a year for the building to get refurbished, and the staffing in place. A contest will also be held so that the new subsidiary can be named. A traditional style stone cut, an older form of the Holman print.


Ulukhaktok Co-op Turns Profitable

The staff at Ulukhaktok’s Co-op: Front (L-R) Jeanine Omingmak, Peter Palvik. Back (L-R) Heather Okheena, Mardon Martin, Rebecca Perry, Linda Kataoyak, Joseph Perry, Angus Banksland.


has been many years since our Co-op has been profitable and paying dividends. We are now pleased to say that the past three years of hard work, dedication and support have put us on the right track and are now showing profits,” said Joe Perry, manager of the Ulukhaktok Co-op. Joe believes “solid management, checks and controls, and working with the people and the community to achieve a common goal,” was critical to the Co-op’s success. “I take little credit as we are truly blessed to have the Board of Directors that we have, and most of all the special staff that run the store. We all need help along the way and if not for Arctic Cooperatives Limited and their many services this would have been a difficult task.” Ulukhaktok Co-op is comprised of the Co-op store, (which sells groceries and houses the Canada Post office), the Arctic Char Inn, and is the Aklak Air service agent for the hamlet. “Between the Store, Post Office, Hotel, Cable Service and Craft Shop, we employ 25 people,” said Joe Perry. Of the 25, 21 are Inuvialuit. “I’ve been working here since August 2006, I enjoy it. I deal with the Co-op members, which is great,” said Jeanine Omingmak, office manager of the Co-op. “One of the first things I did was to work with the account receivables. I contacted members with outstanding accounts and set up monthly payment plans that were suitable for them,” she said.

“None of our days are typical. We deal with different things everyday. It gets pretty hectic on the mail sorting days, and some days we have big rushes in sales. Every Tuesday, we get food products in on First Air.”

Jeanine also appreciates the team she works with. “All the Co-op staff, including the hotel staff, is great to work with. Everybody respects each other, and if people are not feeling well, they inform us in time and make sure that there is somebody else to take their shift.” “The hotel has seen new heights in sales and revenues that were never dreamed of,” said Joe Perry. “Our hotel is only three years old, and is certainly a hit with our many travelers. Hotel manager Martin Nadeau is truly a great ambassador. The staff are always smiling and having fun, and that adds to the pleasant experience of a visit to the Arctic Char Inn.” “I’ll like to say a big thank you to Co-op members for supporting the store and the hotel,” Jeanine said. “The elders here had a dream a long time ago about a successful Coop and we are truly honoured to be part of that dream,” Joe Perry agreed.  



In The News Tusaayaksani

Tuktoyaktuk Hopes for Wind Energy


ver since the wind energy conference in Tuktoyaktuk last November, there has been growing anticipation about Tuktoyaktuk being chosen as the first wind energy demonstration site. The first meeting was chronicled in global media, who are watching to see if the small arctic community will receive the help it needs to make a first step away from burning only diesel fuel. John Stuart Jr. (board member of Tuktoyaktuk Community Corporation and Tuktoyaktuk Development Corporation) and Jim Stevens (hamlet councilor) have just returned from a meeting with the NWT Wind Energy Committee. They discussed with technical experts, representatives from the government of Yukon, INAC, ITI, and ENR the next step of this project.

“It all depends on how much funding will be provided,” said Jim, who said the community of Tuktoyaktuk hopes to turn this into a business opportunity. “If we got one or four turbines, we would still need the same transmission lines and connections. The economies of scale are such that if we get more than one turbine, we could have medium intensity generation of wind energy. Twenty to thirty percent of the town’s power can be generated by wind energy.” “We won’t be seeing a huge savings, money wise, for the town till much later, but there are definitely benefits in terms of environmental issues. When the technology is proven, there could be some revenue for TDC. There will definitely be a job or two, with benefits and training,” said Stevens.

I m a g i n e Tu k t oya k t u k w i t h w i n d m i l l s . Wind is definitely one of the natural resources abundant in the coastal community of Tuktoyaktuk, The community is now working on getting funding for a small scale windfarm venture.

“The presentations are being made to the Financial Management Board in June, GNWT is cutting that department’s budget, so this isn’t the best time,” Jim continued. Nevertheless, Jim is hoping that potential funders such as Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Natural Resources Canada and the GNWT will come through.

ATCO SCHOLARSHIPS awarded Aurora College and ATCO have awarded the ATCO Group Scholarships to the following students:

ATCO Continuous Academic Effort Darlene Felix – Beaufort Region (Tuktoyaktuk Learning Centre) Katherine Lennie – Delta Region (Inuvik Learning Centre) Barbara Blancho – Sahtu Region (Colville Lake Learning Centre)

ATCO Developmental Studies Scholarship Angus Dillon – Inuvik Learning Centre Darren Kenny – Deline Learning Centre

(L-R) Donna Spurrell (EC &E), students Katherine Lennie, Darlene Felix, Angus Dillon and Marja Van Nieuwenhyuzen (Aurora College rep) who represented ATCO as they were unable to attend.


In The News Tusaayaksani

Inupiat-Inuvialuit Declare Need for Subsistence Hunting of Polar Bears Inuvialuit representatives Chuck Gruben, Frank Pokiak and their Inupiat counterparts Taqulik Hepa and Benjamin Nageak co-sign the new declaration on Polar Bear management.


Inupiat of the North Slope Borough and the Inuvialuit have had a good relationship right from the start, many Inupiats have relatives in the delta,” said Andy Carpenter. “I am proud of the polar bear management agreement that we signed twenty years ago, which carries on today. It’s a user agreement between natives that set a precedent for all other native to native agreements today.” “We share information on harvests on a voluntary basis,” said Frank Pokiak, chair of the Inuvialuit Game Council. “So far, the harvest of polar bears in the Southern Beaufort Seas has been conservative and lower than the recommended harvest quota recommended by both parties. It’s a good agreement, and one of the reasons why Canada can export polar bear hides to other countries today.” This February, the Joint Commissioners of the Inuvialuit Game Council and the North Slope Borough met for their 17th annual meeting, held in Inuvik. The vision and commitment of Inuit from both areas to promote the sustainable harvest of polar bears in the Southern Beaufort Sea was celebrated. An Inupiat-Inuvialuit Declaration was also signed, recognizing the need to remind the Inuit and the world that aboriginal subsistence hunting of polar bears is essential to the Inuit’s cultural and nutritional well being. The pioneers of the original Polar Bear Agreement were mentioned in gratitude: Andy Carpenter, Nolan Solomon, Benjamin P. Nageak, Charles D.N. Bower, Nelson Green. This declaration is also intended to direct the federal government of Canada and the United States to take action to address the effects of climate change on the polar bear’s habitat, as well as to urge the United States to recognize the Inupiat-Inuvialuit Polar Bear agreement in the event that the polar bear be listed as a threatened species by the US government.



“We felt it was important to make this declaration because of the many challenges faced by Inuit on this issue,” said Taqulik Hepa, Commissioner of the North Slope Borough Inupiat. “Climate change is a factor affecting the polar bear population, but the Inuit harvest is not a factor. We would like the federal government to really address why the planet is in this position.” The declaration also hopes to direct the US government to make the assurances that should the listing happen, that it will not place additional disproportionate impacts on the Inupiat-Inuvialuit people’s traditional hunting practices. Currently, the Inupiat and Inuvialuit have a quota of 40 polar bears each, per annum. “We are in support of scientific research, and are now at the point where we may need to reevaluate the harvest levels of polar bears based on the best available science and further consultations,” said Frank Pokiak. “There are now talks on changing the boundaries of the Northern and Southern Beaufort polar bear hunting areas. We have not received the final decision from the US government, and we especially do not want to make any decisions until we hear back from the Canadian side. Both the Inuvialuit and Inupiat have to go back to their user groups and work shop with all the communities to make sure all steps are covered before making a decision.”

“To have agreements like this makes us stronger as Inuit,” said Taqulik, “It is valuable for us to talk with the Inuvialuit about how they deal with issues such as oil and gas development, and climate change. As these are the same issues that impacts our people.”

An update from the Premier’s Office

Photo courtesy of Bobbie Jo Greenland

Based on content from his Executive Assistant, Bobbie Jo Greenland


Premier Floyd Roland has been very busy since the last edition of Tusaayaksat. He was in Ottawa(Jan 10-13) for the First Ministers Meeting. During this time in Ottawa, he also met with Prime Minister Harper and also on a separate occasion met with Beverly Jacobs of the Native Women’s Association. The premier also attended the Council of Federation meeting in Vancouver (Jan 27-29). During this time there was also a meeting with the Northern premiers from Yukon and Nunavut. A Climate Change Adaptation Conference was also held. The premier has been invited to be a guest speaker at the Yellowknife Rotary Club, Hay River Chamber of Commerce, Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce, and the Aboriginal Law Conference.

is a framework around land-use in the NWT. We will continue our work on land, resource and self-government agreements, including a devolution agreement with the federal government.   Devolution and resource revenue sharing is not on the back burner but, and I want to emphasize this, it is not the panacea that will make all our problems disappear. Despite higher amounts in previous years, the 2006-07 Federal Public Accounts show royalties flowing to Canada from the NWT were only $34 million. According to a proposal for resource revenue sharing outlined in the 2007 Federal Budget, we would have received only $17 million in resource revenues for that year. Just $17 million ladies and gentlemen. 

Unfortunately the premier could not attend the BDEC long term services awards in Inuvik nor could he attend the GNWT long-term services award, due to prior commitments to meetings. He did attend Remembrance Day ceremonies in Inuvik. He also attended the Regional Aboriginal Leaders Meeting (Feb 26) in Inuvik. He was in Inuvik to launch a GNWT book marking 40 years of government. He also did some constituency work and hosted a Christmas open house there. Highlights from the Premier’s recent session statements and speeches: Based on the Legislative Assembly’s six priorities, cabinet is working on key initiatives to address how we will attain our goals and live within our means.   The first initiative is building our future. This includes programming for our children and youth, healthy choices and tackling addictions, Action on family violence and supporting families, seniors, supporting volunteers, community and personal safety, enhancing police services.   The second initiative we are working on is to reduce the cost of living. This recognizes the cost of living in the Northwest Territories is too high. It is difficult for many families and businesses to pay their basic bills. This stands in the way of achieving a better quality of life, of people getting jobs and supporting their families. It also poses challenges to our ability to grow and diversify our economy, and to attract new businesses and investment. This problem can be mitigated by improved transportation infrastructure between communities, and alternative energy solutions like natural gas and hydroelectric power. We must pursue partnerships and funding to build the Mackenzie Valley Highway, and expand hydroelectric power.   The third initiative involves managing this land. We have a front row seat to witness impacts of climate change. This has decreased the length of the ice road season, making it more difficult and costly to re-supply communities and industry. Ice roads are now more expensive to build and harder to maintain. Operating seasons are also decreasing - some roads may not be viable in the future.  Melting permafrost is weakening and shifting foundations of roads and buildings. We need a comprehensive approach to find the right balance between development and protection. A key part

Premier Roland with Premier Fentie of Yukon and Premier Okalok of Nunavut. So I repeat, resource revenues alone will not solve our fiscal challenges. We will continue to pursue an agreement but should be realistic about what it will mean to us. We will not pursue a deal that is not in the best interest of northerners. The proposal on the table is not adequate.   We are talking to the federal government and we are confident a better deal can and will be reached. Our fourth working group is focused on maximizing opportunities in the NWT. It’s time to open the door to new developments that contribute to the North, to our communities, and to the future of our children. Continue improving the quality of education and training so jobs don’t go to people who fly in and fly out each week.   Finally the actions of this 16th Assembly will fundamentally refocus all aspects of government - from how we set priorities to how we deliver services and how we make sure we’re getting the best value for every dollar we spend. More information on the Premier’s work can be seen at


Frozen Rock Studio

A House of Inuvialuit Talents

The garage turned studio is a conducive space for making art.

In the Old City Market

of Yellowknife, you will find Frozen Rock Studio, a garage that has been converted into a studio for carvers from the ISR and beyond. The white dust from their work covers the little front yard and every inch of their work space, but despite the mess, the men are happy in their studio. Today, Derrald Taylor (Tuktoyaktuk), Ernest Raymond (Tuktoyaktuk) and Patsy Ekpakohak (Ulukhaktok) are working. Derrald’s current piece is a drum dancer. He shows it to us as he brushes off some of the dust made by his electric drummel. “I will oil it after this, to bring out the colour in the stone,” he said. He works with soapstone, bone and antler. “When I first started I wasn’t as good as I am now. I am known for my detail work. I try to work a lot on detailing than on the style. The style will come later.” His work is sold at galleries such as the Gallery of the Midnight Sun, and to private dealers some who are in Vermont and California. “I had to do a lot of footwork. In my first four years here, I had to talk a lot and show my pieces around, but from there on it got a lot better, because people kept coming down to see the work we do. I had a lot of artists come here to carve with me.” “If we work alone we won’t do as much, but when there’s three to four of us here, we’ll just keep busy. Once in a while we’ll drop all our tools and start telling stories…then we’ll go right back to working again,” he said. Patsy Ekpakohak is working on a beluga whale carved from a muskox horn. Ernest Raymond is etching his final mark, his signature, on the bottom of a sculpture. The artists are here because they can learn from each other, and also because Yellowknife is a good place to sell their pieces.



Derrald Taylor from Tuktoyaktuk likes detailed work.

Special Feature Nuitaniqsaq Quliaq

Patsy Ekpakohak

from Ulukhaktok has come to the studio to work on carving beluga whales out of muskox horns.

Ernest Raymond

from Tuktoyaktuk is putting the last touches on a soapstone carving.

The dancing bear

by Derrald Taylor


Is multi-year ice changing?


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Tusaayaksat, Spring 2008  

Tusaayaksat is the magazine of Canada's Inuvialuit, proudly published from the Inuvialuit Settlement Region in Canada's Western Arctic.

Tusaayaksat, Spring 2008  

Tusaayaksat is the magazine of Canada's Inuvialuit, proudly published from the Inuvialuit Settlement Region in Canada's Western Arctic.