STORIES THAT NEED TO BE HEARD
REVIVAL THROUGH INK A LOOK AT THE INUIT TATTOO REVITALIZATION PROJECT IN ULUKHAKTOK
TUSAAYAKSAT MAGAZINE / SUMMER 2017 / $5
ON THE COVER: Cora DeVos of Little Inuk Photography captured this stunning portrait of Grade 8 student Fredi Anne Inuktalik while on location in Ulukhaktok. To read more about the Inuit Tattoo Revitalization Project, check out our story beginning on page 12.
Published quarterly by ICS at Box 1704, 292 Mackenzie Rd, Inuvik, Northwest Territories, X0E 0T0. Contact us at +1 (867) 777 2320 or email@example.com PUBLISHER Inuvialuit Communications Society
TUSAAYAKSAT MEANS “STORIES AND VOICES THAT NEED TO BE HEARD.” WE CELEBRATE THE INUVIALUIT PEOPLE, CULTURE AND HERITAGE.
TO EMPOWER, CELEBRATE, COMMUNICATE, HEAL AND BOND. TO BRING YOU THE BEST COVERAGE OF OUR NEWS, VIBRANT CULTURE AND PERSPECTIVES.
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison HEAD DESIGNER Vanessa Hunter EDITORIAL TEAM WRITER/PHOTOGRAPHER Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison COPY EDITOR Laura Worsley-Brown INUVIALUKTUN TRANSLATOR Lillian Elias CONTRIBUTORS Dennis Allen, Dana Bowen, Breyze Agnes Wynter Blake, Chloe Kanayok, Jacob Klengenberg, Nadine Klengenberg Kuneluk, Charles Arnold, Dez Loreen, Sheree Mcleod and Tom Mcleod PHOTOGRAPHERS Cora DeVos and Little Inuk Photography, Kynwill Gordon-Ruben, Steph Hunter, Tom Mcleod, Gareth Everett/Huw Evans Agency, Nick Westover and Thomas Gagnon-van Leeuwen
NEWS IN BRIEF
DIAMOND JUBILEE JAMBOREE
SPECIAL THANKS TO Hovak Johnston, Cora DeVos and the Inuit Tattoo Revitalization Project team, Mark Siermaczeski and Maestra Business Solutions, Kynwill Gordon-Ruben, Mavis Jacobson, Underwood Day, Donald Kuptana, Steve Cockney Sr. and the Northern Games Society, Megan McCaffery, Abe Drennan and the staff at East Three, Jackie Challis and the Muskrat Jamboree Committee, and Beverly Amos and the Inuvialuit Cultural Resource Centre BUSINESS OFFICE Inuvialuit Communications Society BOARD OF DIRECTORS PRESIDENT, INUVIK Lucy Kuptana VICE PRESIDENT, TUKTOYAKTUK Debbie Raddi TREASURER, ULUKHAKTOK Joseph Haluksit AKLAVIK DIRECTOR Colin Gordon PAULATUK DIRECTOR Denise Wolki SACHS HARBOUR DIRECTOR Jean Harry
DIAMOND JUBILEE CONT’D
BIG WHEELS TURNIN’ INUVIK & BEYONPADDLE D CONT’D
THE REVITALIZATION PROJECT
MANAGER Dez Loreen OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR Roseanne Rogers SUBSCRIPTIONS E-mail subscription inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +1 (867) 777 2320
GET SOCIAL Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
FEATURES 2 NEWS AROUND THE ISR 4 INUVIK & BEYOND 12 A REVIVAL THROUGH INK 22 ON THE MACKENZIE RIVER 28 PRESERVING OUR LANGUAGE 37 THE MUSKRAT JAMBOREE
THE AIT TASK GROUP
FUNDING MADE POSSIBLE BY Inuvialuit Regional Corporation GNWT (Education, Culture and Employment)
FEATURES 34 LANGUAGE GAMES: TRADITIONAL ACTIVITIES 41 HOW TULUGAQ STOLE THE SUN 48 STORIES FROM ULUKHAKTOK 60 THE FACES BEHIND #MMIW 62 NEVER SAY DIE 72 NORTHERN GAMES: STICK TWIST 76: GET SOCIAL
INUVIALUKTUN ON THE LAND
LESSONS FROM ULU
DO TRY THIS AT HOME
ON THE STAGE
AK ALL THE WAY
TUSAAYAKSAT UPINARAAMI TUSAAYAKSAT IN THE SUMMER AAQANA! HELLO! Thirty-two women transformed. Thirty-two women given the gift of reawakening – of their culture, their pride and their traditions. Thirty‑two women who now share a bond that is unbreakable. Thirty-two women took part in the Inuit Tattoo Revitalization Project in Ulukhaktok this past April. In the words of activist, tattoo artist and project founder Hovak Johnston, the force of their transformation was undeniable. “You can see in the women the change in their eyes,” she explained. “They are so proud, and they have something more to carry them higher.” Getting the project to Ulukhaktok wasn’t easy though, and it didn’t happen overnight. For months the community, as well as supporters from across the country, fundraised to bring Hovak and her team to the shores of Queen’s Bay. Traditional tattoos have roots right across the North, from Alaska to Labrador, but the shame in these cultural practices – and others - that was introduced during the residential school era can still be felt among some Inuit. In the end, 15 per cent of the community’s
population received tattoos from Hovak, creating a legacy that will last for generations to come. Janet Kanayok and her daughter Chloe were two of the 32 Ulukhaktumiut to take part. To Janet, it was both a way of honouring the past, and celebrating their unique bond as mother and daughter. “I’m in awe of my young daughter’s strength,” she said. “I love that we both have these symbols of beauty from generations back that her and I share.”
QUYANAINNI THANK YOU, Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison Editor-in-Chief
New NIYC News from President Elected
around the ISR and beyond
The National Inuit Youth Council (NIYC) has elected Ruth Kaviok as its new president. The 19-year-old from Arviat, Nunavut said she is excited to work with the council, which includes Inuvialuit representative Melody Lily Teddy from Tuktoyaktuk. “As president, I look forward to representing the national voice of Inuit youth. We have important knowledge to share and I will bring my passion for Inuit culture in advocating for the values and priorities of our youth. The National Inuit Youth Council is an enthusiastic and committed team and I am excited to share this work with them. Together, we will work to create a positive future for Inuit youth across Inuit Nunangat,” she said. Ruth advocates for suicide prevention, climate change prevention and the
NWT Help Line Expanded Drum dancers perform at the 2014 ICC General Assembly in Inuvik.
Utqiagvik to Host 2018 ICC GA
The NWT Help Line expanded its services in January to include telephone group sessions and a Facebook page. The telephone group sessions will offer NWT residents group counselling support on a variety of topics, including suicide and suicide awareness, depression and anxiety, grief and loss, recovery support and substance abuse.
The Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) is pleased to announce that Utqiaġvik will host its 13th General Assembly July 16-19 of next year. ICC assemblies, held every four years, bring together delegates from Greenland, Canada, Alaska and Chukotka, Russia to share experiences and discuss circumpolar strategies to address environmental, economic, human rights, health and social issues impacting all Inuit. Assemblies also celebrate the vibrant traditions, arts and culture of Inuit in the four countries. ICC Chair Okalik Eegeesiak said, “It is especially significant that the next assembly will be in Utqiaġvik, as this June we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the meeting convened here by Eben Hopson that led to the very establishment of ICC.”
The NWT Help Line offers confidential, emotional support to residents of the Northwest Territories 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Services include emotional support for crisis and non-crisis situations, referrals to community-based services, support to concerned family members and friends, and offering a follow-up call with a ‘CareCoach’ to check in on how the caller is doing. Residents can call the Help Line at 1-800‑661-0844. For more information, visit NWT Help Line on Facebook.
importance of education. In 2016, Ruth was John Arnalukjuak High School’s Inuktitut valedictorian. Nationally, Ruth won Samara’s Everyday Political Citizen award for drawing on Inuit knowledge and western science to spread awareness of how climate change is affecting Inuit Nunangat. In addition to her community involvement, Ruth is developing her entrepreneurial skills through the Inspire Nunavut Program. She is creating a business plan for a hydroponics greenhouse business. Her goal is to offer affordable options to her community by selling fresh produce grown in Arviat. Ruth has been accepted to Nunavut Sivuniksavut in Ottawa this fall and she is eager to learn more about the history of Inuit and Nunavut through this program.
Delegates attend National Indigenous Women’s Summit An all-female delegation nominated by six NWT Indigenous governments attended the fifth National Indigenous Women’s Summit (NIWS) in Toronto, Ontario from March 6-8. The NWT delegation was comprised of Tanya Gruben (Inuvialuit Regional Corporation); Angela Koe (Gwich’in Tribal Council); Pearl Bird (Northwest Territory Métis Nation); Nora Wedzin (Tłıchǫ Government); Sally-Ann Horassi (Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated); and Nyra MacKenzie (Akaitcho Dene First Nation). Over the duration of the Summit, the NWT delegation participated in workshops and panel discussions, which provided delegates the opportunity to learn from other governments, share their experiences, and witness firsthand the national leaders discussing the recommendations that they had input into.
ITK President Natan Obed and Prime Minister of Canada Announce the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and Inuit leaders signed a declaration in Iqaluit in February to create the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee. The Inuit Nunangat Declaration demonstrates the shared commitment to a renewed Inuit-Crown relationship between Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Government of Canada, and underscores the common goal of creating prosperity for all Inuit, which benefits all Canadians. The committee includes Chair and CEO Duane Smith on behalf of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation.
“The Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee will play an important role as we take action on the priorities that matter to Inuit and Canadians. This committee will enhance cooperation between Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the federal government, allowing us to continue renewing the relationship between Inuit and the Crown in a sustainable and positive way,” said Natan Obed, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.
Hakuringniq Katillugu: Gathering Strength
Photo courtesy of IRC
European Union accepts Inuvialuit sealskin Inuvialuit-created sealskin products will be an option for fashion-conscious Europeans combatting next year’s winter weather thanks to a long-standing lobbying effort led by the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT). The European Union (EU) has accepted the Northwest Territories’ application to accept the Inuvialuit as a Recognized Body under the Indigenous exception to the EU seal products prohibition. This will provide unencumbered access to the European market for seal products harvested in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region.
“Seal products have long been a part of our traditional Inuvialuit culture in providing a sustainable source of food, clothing and income. As a Recognized Body for selling these products throughout the EU, our regional harvesters and artisans will now have an additional economic outlet for their work. We are pleased and ready to expand the marketing efforts of Inuvialuit seal products to Europe. We are also pleased to see that the EU is respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” said Duane Smith, Chair and CEO of Inuvialuit Regional Corporation.
Elders and youth gathered at Ingamo Hall in March for a four-day Inuvialuit Youth Symposium. Participants explored how to blend traditional knowledge with contemporary ideas through interactive workshops and guest speakers, including Chief Clarence Louie of the Osoyoos Indian Band.
Paulatuk celebrates International Women’s Day
Photo by Maya March
Students at Angik School braved temperatures of -40 to celebrate International Women’s Day and march through the community.
INUVIK & BEYOND
With spring comes jamboree season, and this year Inuvik celebrated a big one â€“ the 60th Muskrat Jamboree. Aarigaa! Turn to page 37 for your commemorative Muskrat Jamboree poster! To see more photos, check us out on Facebook! Photos by Kynwill Gordon-Ruben and Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison
Jimmy Kalinek is flagged down as he wins the 150 mile track race.
The womenâ€™s tea boiling competition in action.
Men rush to grab the best wood for the tea boiling competition.
Jimmy Kalinek and his medals.
Charis Dillon (centre) takes part in the muskrat skinning competition.
The plank walk race on the Mackenzie River. First place took home $100.
The reindeer crossing - the last ever on the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk ice road - drew hundreds of spectators.
Tug-oâ€™-war teams of three men and three women compete at the river site.
Layton Kotokak shoots around on the ice.
Drum dancers from across the region performed at the jamboree opening ceremonies.
Anna May Andre Niditchie takes part in the flour packing race.
Julie and Roy Cockney take part in the elders jigging contest.
Participants in the flour packing race - a timed event - donâ€™t always stay on their feet as they zoom around the icy course.
The traditional dress parade was open to people 16 years and older from all cultures.
Track races down on the Mackenzie River.
Birthday girl Emma Dick cuts the cake at the opening ceremonies with the help of jamboree queen Loretta Rogers.
Sarah MacNabb drum dances at the opening ceremonies.
The community feast included everything from donuts and bannock to reindeer and macaroni salad.
Kolby Gordon-Ruben joins the drum dancers on stage.
Vendors at the river site sell yummy treats and hot drinks.
The nail driving contest underway.
Children play in front of the main stage on the frozen Mackenzie River.
Amanda Andre Niditchie tries to stay upright in the flour packing race as the crowd looks on.
Participants prepare for the muskrat skinning competition.
Letter from the Manager:
Strengthening Our Traditions I am excited to say hello and greetings to the readers of Tusaayaksat Magazine for the Summer 2017 issue! It is my first issue as Manager of Inuvialuit Communications Society (ICS) and a special issue for many reasons. As a beneficiary and someone who has an interest in tattoos, I am especially eager to read about the Inuit Tattoo Revitalization Project in Ulukhaktok. There is a lot of cultural buzz happening, and it’s not just from the tattoo machines! It is always nice to read about our traditions being passed on to a new generation. The summer months are upon us in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and it is shaping up to be a summer of epic proportions! There is a lot to do, and we encourage everyone to spend this time with friends and family, enjoying the vast land around us. From camping to boating, and even spending time at whaling camp, there is a lot to do before the ice sets back in the fall. I’ll always remember my one summer at Victor Allen’s camp on Baby Island. We had a great time, and I learned a lot about a culture I wasn’t aware of. Now I try to get more involved and teach my daughter the same. There is a wealth of knowledge in our region, and we need to learn as much as we can. Here at ICS we have a full schedule of programming to finish editing for submissions, as well as some really exciting footage from the crew’s recent circumpolar trip for the TV production ‘Inuit Away.’ We are also working on a top-secret project for TV production that will be announced later this year! We are looking forward to strengthening the Inuvialuit presence in broadcasting and are working with partners from all across the North to bring the best we can. If you have any questions or comments, please let us know. Quyanainni, Dez Loreen Manager, Inuvialuit Communications Society
Letters from down south:
way it used to be I think I’m old enough to say, “Boy, when I was a kid things sure were different.” And they were, by a country mile. Our parents had just moved off the traplines and were just getting used to living in town. But we still did a lot of things “the old ways.” We burned wood in a wood-stove, and got a lot of our food from the land - fish, ducks, geese, caribou, moose, maktak and muskrats. Life was a cycle of seasons, even for a pup like me. I just caught the tail end of that way of life, but my brother Gerry was probably the last generation to remember living subsistently.
WORDS BY DENNIS ALLEN
Anyway, back to us kids. Right after freezeup, we’d all pile onto someone’s skidoo after school and go jiggling for loche at Bombardier Channel. Loche liver and fish eggs were a delicacy. We’d fry them up and eat them with big slabs of frying pan bannock and jam. If you were big enough, you got to drink tea with your meal. Otherwise, it was Tang. Trapping season would start November 1st. I missed my fair share of school because I’d con my way out of classes to go with my dad when he went setting traps. He’d try to talk me into staying but I was stubborn as a rusty nut, and he would take me for a week here, or a week there. We’d stay overnight at dadak Little Jim Rogers’ place, thirty miles from town. In the morning, nanak Maggie would cook oats and toast for us. (If you were lucky, maybe some bacon.) Then it was all day standing on the toboggan the next few days, setting mink traps in the creeks, fox traps in the lakes, and lynx traps along trails. To trap properly, you need to be out full time, but because we lived in town, my dad did it when he could, and because he missed that way of life. Uncle Elijah Allen was just getting Kipnik ready them days, his father’s old homestead in the Mackenzie Delta. And we’d stay at Kipnik during these trips. When we got older, me and my cousins Patrick and Timothy would learn the traplines and trap from town on weekends. Though we didn’t make a lot of money, we had to at least break even, especially after getting staked from our parents. We didn’t look at it as work, because we were having fun driving skidoos, rolling smokes, and visiting people in the delta at the same time. March was muskrat trapping time. And any spare time we could get, we would be out trapping muskrats. It still used to get to -40 in March, and it was doggone cold standing
behind the toboggan all day, setting muskrat traps in every conceivable lake in sight. So stopping for lunch was the highlight of the day. My dad would make a big fire and we’d have a feast of food - smoked muskrats, bannock, sardines, klik, pilot biscuits, tea, and always one can of mandarin oranges. Then it was off to find a place to set the tent for the night, if we’d strayed too far from Kipnik to return. My dad knew nearly every lake the other side of Uva, all the way to Ellis Island. He had a story for every one of them too! My dad grew up with his cousin and spent his entire youth, and into his young adulthood, hunting and trapping in this area, along with areas along the Beaufort Coast. And when the river broke up, we’d shoot muskrats until about the tenth of June, when the muskrats’ mating season began, and they began to fight for mates. My cousins, Patrick, Timothy and I, used to hunt from town on school nights, getting home about four or five in the morning, just enough time to sleep for a couple of hours and go to school. I don’t know how many times Mr. Murphy slammed his yardstick on my desk to wake me up. When we were tweens, we’d spend summers at nanak Winnie’s fish camp, at a place called John Keevik’s Point, eighteen miles from town. We’d stay up all night playing tag, making boats from driftwood, and eating dry fish from the smoke house. Uncle Ebun was pretty good at rolling smokes and we’d all crowd around to get a few puffs before he hogged it on us. Then it was off to whaling camp. My sister Yvonne ran “Opportunities for Youth,” a chance for town kids to go to whale camp. Rosie Albert was our cook and she’d make us gather driftwood in gunny sacks for the cook stove. My dad was the outfitter and he’d take me and my sister Judy whaling when camp was all set up. I remember one time we got wind-bound on Hendrickson Island for three days. Tom T. was there and they ran out of sugar. Tom T. used jam in his coffee. I can still hear him smacking his lips and saying, “Sweet Jesus that’s good.” For years, I would prefer jam in my coffee to sugar. Even though those days are gone, I still try to give my kids a chance to go out in the bush when we can. They’re not going to live the same life I did, and certainly not my father’s, but I want them to know where they came from and tell them stories of those places. Somehow, we have to keep those traditions alive, of family, hard work, and respect. Until then, always carry extra socks and matches. Never know.
A R E V I VA L THROUGH INK M I N G U L I R N I Q I N U U P K A R A AT WORDS BY/UQALUNGNGI DANA BOWEN PHOTOS BY/TARALINGI UUMA CORA DEVOS/LITTLE INUK PHOTOGRAPHY & THOMAS GAGNON-VAN LEEUWEN MUMIKTITAIT INUVIALUKTUN LILLIAN ELIAS
eeing the nine lines streaking her chin, beginning at the bottom of her lip down to the edge of her face, Lucy Taipana was overwhelmed with pride, knowing that she was honouring her grandmother in a way that would stick with her forever. Lucy was one of 32 women in Ulukhaktok this past April who sat down in front of Hovak Johnston, ready to take back a part of their culture that had been lost over the years. “It brought a lot of closure and pride and healing in each person,” said Lucy, who also had several of her family members get tattoos of their own.
Following a trip to Kugluktuk last year, Ulukhaktok was the second trip Hovak had made as part of the Inuit Tattoo Revitalization Project, where she gives traditional Inuit tattoos to those who want them. Traditionally, Inuit women bore ink on their face, hands, arms, legs and breasts to note their transition into womanhood, as well as to mark other significant events in their life, such as the birth of a child or their first hunt. The symbols now etched into Lucy’s skin were chosen because of their similarities to one of the many tattoos her grandmother had – a woman who Lucy said helped raise her. “I was just getting into my teens, and I had asked (my grandmother) more than once if she would give me tattoos,” she said. However, the elder had told her granddaughter at the time that she no longer had the tools to give Lucy the markings. These Inuit tattoos among others were seen as an important ritual within the culture until the past century, where it became less common due to the forced transition into Western society, Hovak explained. “When I found out the last woman with traditional tattoos had passed away – she was 105 – I thought, ‘This is nuts. We can’t have another part of our tradition die. Part of our culture is going to be lost again.’” From the time Hovak, at childhood, had seen these tattoos on an older woman in Kugluktuk, she said a part of her knew she would one day bear them herself. “I started looking at myself thinking, ‘I could be one of those (tattooed) women. I am one of those women.’”
“It brought a lot of closure and pride and healing in each person.”
- Lucy Taipana
autukigaa tavlungani minguliqtaq, utaanin qaqluminin aularnihaaqhuni kiinami nalaanun, Lucy Taipaana quviatchapiaqtuq ukpingitchakhunilu kamatchakhunilu, ilihimavluni iqaumagivlugu Annaanani piiguiqhiqlugu inugutqingmatuuqqugu atuakȓaminik aiipaapak. Lucy ilauȓuaq 32ni arnani Ulukhaktuumi Aukarvingmi ingminun maniȓuq minguliquvluni Hovak Johnstonmun, hanaiqtuq ilaulahiȓuq inuuhini atuqnagutigaa hinikharaluaqtuaq aipaapak, umikaluakangi maiȓutivut huamahivulu nalunaigutavutlu iunpayaanun, Uqalktuq Lucy, ilanangi ilangi ilaumiȓuat minguliqtaumiȓuat inmiktigun. Aquvatigun malikługu minguliqtuaq Kuqluqtuumuktuat ukiutqik, Ulukhaqtuuq tugliuȓuq Hovakgum aulavia iglaukami Inuit minguliqningat inugutqiqtuarȓiȓuq, minguliqtarait inuit minguliutaanik, Minguliquȓuat minguliqtarait. Inuniarutingting, Inuit arnangit mnguliqtitaqtut kiinamitigun, argamitigun, niumitigun milumiktigunlu ilitchuritqukaming arnaruqaming arnat,nalunaiqtaqługi huȓarautitikting inuuhini, nutaraqarnini, anguqaarninilu, Naluniangutchipiaqtu. Licyim uvininga ativluni inugiaktuani mingulirninga anaangata uvinnga ativlutik ilaanlu–inuk ikayuqtauvluni inuugurniarman arnanguahivluni, apiqȓurukaraa anaanaga minguliqtilamagaarma (Anaanaga) atuahitualungłaami ilaanun minguliquvlunga,’’ uqalaguuȓuaq. Utuqarupayaaruvit, utuqhanaam uqalautikanga hatkuirnivluni minguliuutairnivluni tutitchiani pigaa. Inuit mingulirningat piitchuitchuaq mingulirqaarniq inuuhini pitquȓaupiaqtuaq aipaangaqaqanga, tamaiqyakkangat inuit atlanin qaȓaralirmata maunga, Hovak quliaqtuq. Ilitchurikaraaaaquliq minguliqtaq arnaq minguliqtaq 105tun ukiulik – isumaȓunga “qanuq una isumaungilaq. Taimaaqtiniangitkikiput inuuhiqput. Inuuhiqput taimaqtuarȓiaqhiligitpa.’’ Ingilaraan Hovam, nutaraungarmi, tautukhimagai minguliqtat innaalungni arnani Kugluqtuumi, tavȓani ilitchuriȓuaq ilaani mingulirniarnini,’’ Uvamnun qiniqtuaraluaqama ‘ilaulanahiliqhuq (minguliqtanun) arnani. Pangma ilauȓunga arnani minguliqtani.
From that point on, Hovak began researching the tradition itself, while learning the various methods of tattooing. She discovered the modern way of using a tattoo gun; she learned the stick and poke method where one uses a needle and ink and repeatedly pricks the skin to embed the ink; then she learned the traditional way, known as hand stitching. “Back in the day, it was done by one needle and sinew. The sinew was soaked in seal oil and soot and stitched into the skin,” she explained. “Now we use a metal needle and cotton thread with tattoo ink, so it’s a similar technique.” While essentially sewing one’s skin may not seem like the least painful way of tattooing, Hovak argues that it is not only the easiest but also the quickest to heal. She prefers this method over the tattoo gun, which she said is the loudest and takes the longest to heal. “I talk about it like when you’re travelling from community to community,” Hovak explained. “You’re getting there quick, but you’re missing out on a lot of things. But if you’re going by skidoo or boat or back then a dog team, that’s my way of saying, that’s how I’m going over your tattoos.” Before getting the tattoos herself, Hovak first tested out the look by using eyeliner to understand what it would feel like to permanently have those markings on her face. “The more I drew on myself, the more intense was my urge to get them,” she said. “I was like, ‘I don’t want this to wash off anymore.’” She had searched through multiple tattoo parlors, looking for the right one to make these markings on her, but found that none quite fit the bill. That is until Hovak’s husband introduced her to his 17-year-old student, Nick Frank, who Hovak said she felt an instant connection with. Using the gun method, the student etched three slits onto each side of Hovak’s face, extending from either side of her nose and running up her cheeks to her ears. The slits represent each one of her sons – a common insignia among the women who had originally received them. Those were later followed by more tattoos, including the two sets of V’s on her forehead, and the Y’s lining her wrists and fingers which face downward, as is the tradition for women who have sons as opposed to daughters, Hovak explained. “Boys
usually tend to leave the parents’ family and the girls (have symbols) facing up because the girls tend to stay with the mothers and close to the mother’s family,” she said. More recently, Hovak added a row of stitches onto her arms – one for each of the women she has tattooed so far. The stitches continue to grow as she visits more communities. Because the tattoos originally marked a significant time in a woman’s life, they were always done in stages – a message that Hovak stresses to the women wanting to get them done all at once. “When I first got them done, I used to get so frustrated because somebody at the restaurant would be staring right at me and wouldn’t look away,” said Hovak. “It took me a long time to be like, ‘It’s in my head. It’s up to me how I’m going to carry it. And it’s up to me to educate people because they don’t know about this.’ It’s been lost for three generations. If I’m going to carry these on, I need to be able to answer these questions and their curiosity.” While Hovak’s own experiences getting her tattoos were ones she won’t soon forget, the things she felt were lacking in her experience helped shape her vision for the revitalization project, she explained. “It encouraged me to think about this project,” she said.
During every tattoo, Hovak ensures there is at least one elder present to give the women a sense of community and support. “The best part of (the Ulukhaktok trip) was having the elders there,” she said. “They came in the morning and didn’t want to leave until the last woman left - and they were singing traditional Inuit songs. They knew exactly when a woman needed it the most and their songs got louder and louder as the woman was going through different pain and needed it. It’s how I envisioned my project to be and more.” For Janet Kanayok, who had tattoos done on each of her wrists, the ceremony that went along with getting her tattoos made the experience all the more powerful. “To have an Inuk lady tattoo me and have elders who I already have such respect for sing while I went through
Tavȓan, Hovaak qimilriunagutiȓuq inuhinik humik hivuniqarmagaan mingulirniq, ililarmi qanuq mingulirutaannik. Ilitchuriȓuq atulaninganik pangma mingulirutaannik huputirnamik; ilihanga qavluun qanuq aturuutilaanga mitqutimik mingulirutiqaqtuamik kavluuȓarnaqtuamik uviningmun; tavȓangnga ilitchuq aipaanitun pilahivluni, mitqunmik ingilaraan atuqtaq. Taimani mitqunmik ivalumiklu aturuuȓuat. Ivalu ningitchiqaaqlugu natchim uqȓuanun paulalu kilaiyarługu ahiin uvininginun’ quliaqtuaqtuq ilitcchuripkaiȓuq. “Pangma ahiin mitqutaa kavilhak mitqutaa qivyuȓuamik mingulirutimik, atiłaȓuk mingulirutivut “Qiniqtuaqtuni hapirnatuatun itkaluaqtuq minguliqtuni, Hovagum ilitchuriȓanga hapinangitchuq qilamik mamitchuȓuqlu. Una ilaan aturrugaa huputitun mingulirutingant,nipatuvluni mamitchiriitchurlu.’’ Uqauttigihuugiga pulaktaqama Inauȓanun,’ Hovaak kangiqhipkaihuuȓuq. “Qilamik tikitkaluaqtutin uniuqługi inugiaktuat ilitchuriakȓatin. Skituuraqhutin pangma ingilaraan uniaraqhutin, taitnaqtuna uvapkun ihumagikapku ailaniq minguliqtuatikun. Ilaa minguliqharaluaqhani, Ukkturaqhaarhuni kiinani minguliqharaa iȓinun mingulirumik kingiqhihukhuni qanuqinniaqtilaani mingulirumi kiinamigun ‘’Aglakhimalarma uvamnun piiyarungairitka minguliqtatka kiinamni piyumitchaktunga,’’uqalaktuq piiyarungairai tavȓanga. Uqalaktuq qafit taima mingulirviit pulaktaqpigi, paqiniaqlugu iłuarikkani minguliruliqami inminun, paqitchingitchuaq iłuarikaminik. Tuvaqatata prlapkaraa iliautȓiȓaminun 17tiintun ukiulik, Nick Frank, Hovaagum parlakamiung ilihimangaluqaa. Aturaa huptitun minglirun, ilihaqtuam ukturauȓaqhaaqługun kiinanga pingahunik titiraa iluqaaktun uluangik Hovagum kiinanga, iluqaaktun uluangik qingangata avataak uluanganin hiutinganun aglaan. Irningni itqagivlugik minguliqtittuq –taitna hihumatigivlugi piqpagiȓat minguliqtitchuȓu. aquvatikun mingulifaaqtiniaqtuq, malrungnik vliuqhimaȓuq qaumigun, Tayarnimigun argamigun unmun
ituanik minguliqtitchimaȓua y mik, aipangaqanga irniting iqagihuuniqługi arnat minguliqtinaming angutit hivuliuhuunirait arnaiyaanin, Hovak kangiqhipkaiȓuq.’’ Angutit inaruqaming avitchugait angayuqaating arnaiyaat (nalunaingutaruȓarugaat) ahiin angayuqaamingniilguȓut hivihuȓuamik avilaitkait aakangangtinlu angayuqaating,’’ uqalaktuq Qanikkun, Hovak minguliqtifaalgitchuq talimigun – arnat ihumagivlugi minguliqtani pangmanun aglaan. Inugiakhiinaqtut minguliqtangi Inauȓanutuaqami pulaktaqhuni.
Tavȓauvaa arnat mingulilaitkai arnat ingmiktigun uvluqaqtut inuuhimitigun, uvlungini kihian minguliruugait –una piigumatqulaitkaa Hovaagum minguliqumata tavȓauvaa. “Minguliqtiqaaqama, iłuigihuuȓuanga uvamnun inuit qiniiruvlunga alalaiqhuting niriyaqturvingni,” Hovaak quliaqtuq. “Hivihuȓuamik atuqigiangutikalangitkiga kiinaraa, niaqumni ittuq.uvapkun atuqhigiagutilrataqhiga. Uvapkun ilihautȓiniaqtunga Inungnik naluȓut mingulirnimik.’’ Tamaqhimaȓuaq pingahuni inuuhini. Hagvirigaa hagaqniarigaa tamana tumi, Apiqȓuraiȓuat kiggutiqarniaritka ilihimahuktuani.’’ Pangma mingulirnini piiguqtirniangitkaa, iȓuhini tamaqhimaniq ikayuraa isagutiqikȓautaaminun havaani, ilitchuripkarai ‘’Piigumitchaikaakani isagutikama” uqallaktuq. Minguliqtilugi, Hovak uqallaktuq atauhiq unni utuqhanaaq itchuȓuq Inauȓangungman ikayuiȓuk minguliqharmata. Una nukuułaaqtuq (lukhaktuumukama) utuqhanaaqaqłunga havaktilunga ‘’uqallaktuq” Uvlaami qaikaming naalarataqtilugi minguliqtittuat anilaitchuq – Atuuȓaaqhuting ingilaraarnihanik inuit atuutinginik. Ilihimaviuȓarniqhuat arnat ihumagiȓanginik tutikȓanginiklu ingilaaraanihanik atuȓaaqaming. Ilihimavlugit hapirnaqhiman nipatuhihuuniqhuat anirnaalirman mingulirmatigi. Hivuniraa taitnaitqugiga havakuma.
â€œYou can see in the women the change in their eyes. They are so proud, and they have something more to carry them higher.â€? - hovak johnston
this passage was really healing,” Janet explained. “I don’t even remember feeling pain when Hovak was tattooing my second wrist. Having them sing was what made me feel strong and proud of who I am.” Janet got her markings done alongside her 17-year-old daughter Chloe who had her forearms tattooed. The two decided on the markings because of the beauty of it, but also as a way to keep this significant tradition alive. “I’m in awe of my young daughter’s strength,” Janet said. “I love that we both have these symbols of beauty from generations back that her and I share.” While the project has so far given the gift of reawakening to 80 women - with 22 of those being facial tattoos getting to the point that the revitalization project is at now wasn’t easy. After quitting her previous job, Hovak spent much of her time working as a seamstress and jewelry artist in order to make ends meet, while also sending out applications for help with the project. Without a computer of her own, Hovak wrote out her applications on paper and then typed them on her husband’s laptop once he got home from work each day. “It was all from the bottom up, from the start,” she said. But soon, things started looking up. “I remember getting my first acceptance letter for grant money. I started crying and said, ‘I can’t believe it – they can help.’ Then the others started coming in after that one, and it was like, it’s going to happen. It’s becoming a reality,” said Hovak. “Just to see something that I’ve been working on for so long finally come together and you put your whole heart out to make it happen, and it turned out so beautiful.” The revitalization project was even nominated in October for the Arctic Inspiration Prize, a prestigious fund that recognizes projects doing important work in the North.
The project is currently being documented through the help of photographer Cora DeVos of Little Inuk Photography and videographer Iman Kassam. Photos were taken of many of the women along with their stories about their tattoos and why they got them. It will all be part of a book, titled Reawakening Our Ancestors’ Lines, set to be released in the fall by Inhabit Media. But even after the book is published, the stories from Inuit women will continue to come out as Hovak travels to more and more communities. Her trips rely solely on grants and donations from the public. She will continue to raise funds for her next journey, which she said will hopefully take place in Cambridge Bay. While Hovak said the project can be slow-going at times, the feeling she gets from being able to carry on the tradition is irreplaceable. “You can see in the women the change in their eyes,” said Hovak. “They are so proud, and they have something more to carry them higher.”
Janet Kanayok, minguliqhimaȓuq iluqaaktun tayarningnimigun, quviahuutigimaȓung huamahima tuurȓikangani mingulirmanni. Mingulirmannga utuqhaanaam itqatigivlunga parlagihuukamnin atuuȓaaqhuni hapiqȓaiłaakun mamiȓititqaqtitkaanga,’’ Janet uȓiqhuutigait “akiangikaanga iglua mingulirmaung Hovaam naluȓuarniriga. Atuuȓarmata huamahiraanga uvamnun marlagiȓunga ilitchuririlugu kihuutilaamnik.’’ Janet minguliqtittuq paninilu 17tun ukiuulik Chloe hatqanga talini minguliqtitkaa. Iluqatik minguliruliqhuk qinaarnarmata mingulitat, unalu ihumagivlugu inuutquvlugu inuuhiqput.’’ Ukpingitchapiaqtunga paningma tuvȓarmanga kamatchaipaiaraanga,’’ Janet uqallaktuq. “Pinanapiaqtuq iluqanuk nakuurutchirȓuarȓivlunuk iluqanuk taipkua inuit utiqtuarȓigivuk iluqanuk.’’
Aularnihaaqtugut havaamik aichuqługi 80tun arnat – kiinangitigunlu 22tun minguliqtauȓut – aularnihaaqapta hapirnalaaraluaqtuaq inugutqiktinniaqaptigu mingulirniq. Havaani taimaqhamiung, Hovak kilaiyaqhanagutiȓuaq huliuruȓaqhunilu naamapkarniaqługi kinauȓani, ikayuq tikȓaminik ivaqłilaarmi maqpiraanik tuyuqtaqhuni ikyuqtikȓaqhiuqhuni. Inmigun qaqihauȓaitkumi, Hovak aglauȓahuni inmigun tuyuraqtuq ilivlugi ahiin tuvaqhanmi qaqihaurangatigun uvlutuaq.’’ Ataanin ihagutivluni qunmun, aulaȓuaq,’’ uqalaktuq. Tavaȓa ahiin qunmuagutivluni. “Una piigulaitkiga ikayuutikȓamnik tuyuhiaqhaaqama qiaȓuangaa. Qiangarma ukpingatchaktuanga– ikayulanitilaamnik.’ Taimaa ahiin isagutiaqhiȓuq qaiȓaranagutiȓut,’’ uqalaktuq Hovak. Ingilaraan ihagutikaraa atauchimigataqtuq pihalatitchiaqtuni ihumagiȓaq ailaqhipkalagin, qinarnaqhipiaqtuq.’’ Inuugutqingniq havaaq titraat Qalungniarvingmi Tariumi pinarnaqtuaq akimaȓuaq nalunaingutamik, ilitchurivlugu kinauȓaliqiȓit havaalautaq maani Nunaptingni. Una havaaq ikayuqługit iligaat taraliuqtim Cora De Vos Inunguluuȓaq taraliuqti Iman Kassam. Inugiaktuat taraliuqługit arnat quliaqtuagnillu minguliqtamingnik huuq minguliqtinivluting. Tautuktuanun iliniarait, Hivuningirlugu Tupaarningat Aipaani inuuniaqtuat ‘tittirningit, Ukiaru tautuktiniaraat inungnun. Aquvatigun tautuktualiaqting angitanikumiȓung, quliaqtuangit Inuit arnat Inauȓanun pulaktaqpan itqatiginiaraat huli Hovak. Pulaktarumi atuakȓangi kiinaurat naamakpata kihian pulaalaniaqtuq.ingminik kinauȓanik katitchiniarniaqtuq, uqalaktuq pulaalahiniaruni Iqaluktuuchiamun.
Hovak uqallaktuq hukaitkaluaqtuq ilaani, una aturnaqtuq tamaichailinim himauhilaninga. Tautungnaqtuq iȓingi arnat atlanguqtuarȓiȓaqtut. uqalaktuq Hovak, ‘’kamatchapiaraqtut, huli piguikitchiqtut tamaichailinirmik hagaakȓitkait pinarnaqtuamik.”
Photo courtesy of Charles Henry Douglas/ Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library
The Distributor and its barge arriving at Tuktoyakuk, 1942.
On the Mackenzie River The history of paddle wheelers in the Northwest Territories WORDS BY CHARLES ARNOLD
o you know “Proud Mary,” Creedence Clearwater Revival’s song about a paddle wheeler that plied its trade on the Mississippi River? With apologies to CCR, here is a tribute to two paddle wheelers that once were familiar sights along the Mackenzie River:
Big wheel keep on turnin’ Distributor keep on burnin’ Rollin’, rollin’, on the Mackenzie River The fur trade that dominated economic activity in the western Canadian Arctic in the first half of the twentieth century relied on an extensive water transportation system that brought trade goods north and shipped furs to southern markets. One arm of this system was the coastal route first pioneered by whaling ships, with sea-going vessels sailing between ports on the Northwest Fred Wolki, an Inuvialuit trapper, going south on the Distributor in 1935. Coast of Canada and the United States, and depots and trading posts on the Arctic coast. Another arm was the interior route: overland to Waterways (near present-day Fort McMurray) and then meters long and could carry 90 or more passengers and a along the Slave River, with a portage around Rapids of crew of 30. It first saw service on the Fraser River in British the Drowned south of Fort Smith, across the southern Columbia, and subsequently was purchased by Lamson & part of Great Slave Lake, and then ‘down north’ along the Hubbard Trading Company, dismantled, and shipped to Mackenzie River to Aklavik and Tuktoyaktuk. For more than Fort Smith where it was rebuilt and put into service on the 40 years, the northern leg of this route was serviced by Mackenzie River in 1920. It was acquired by the Alberta two shallow draft riverboats propelled by stern-mounted Arctic Transportation Co. in 1921, and by the Hudson’s Bay paddle wheels, SS (for ‘Steam Ship’) Mackenzie River and Company in 1924. SS Distributor. Burned a lot of wood on Great Slave Lake SS Mackenzie River was the first paddle wheeler on the Fightin’ against the wind on that inland sea Mackenzie River. It was built at Fort Smith in 1908 and was Almost lost a barge near Mission Island operated by the Hudson’s Bay Company until 1947, although When a crashing wave darn near tore it free it was mothballed for most of the 1920s. SS Distributor was considered to be the ‘flagship’ of the Hudson’s Bay Big wheel keep on turnin’ Company’s Mackenzie River Transportation Department. Distributor keep on burnin’ Larger than the Mackenzie River, the Distributor was 50 Rollin’, rollin’, on the Mackenzie River
Photo courtesy of Mrs. Peter Sydney Collection/ Library and Archives Canada, C-38505
Got hired on the Distributor in Fort Smith Heading all the way to the Beaufort Sea Workin’ as a deckhand on a paddle wheeler Thinkin’ about Tuktoyaktuk way ahead of me
Twice, and sometimes three times in summer, the Mackenzie River and the Distributor would set out from Fort Smith on a 2,000-kilometer journey down the Mackenzie River as far as Aklavik in the Mackenzie River Delta, and on some trips going as far as Tuktoyaktuk, on the edge of the Beaufort Sea. The round trip took about five weeks. In addition to carrying freight for its trading operations, the Hudson’s Bay Company operated under a Common Carrier License so that they could carry general freight and passengers. The passengers stayed in white paneled staterooms that surrounded a central lounge, and meals were served in a room that one passenger described as resembling “the dining room of an old-fashioned inn.” Freight was carried in barges that were attached to each side of the paddle wheelers, and in addition, the paddle wheelers often pushed one and sometimes two large barges in front of them.
The first part of the trip north required steaming across the southern part of Great Slave Lake, a notoriously windy area where one passenger said the Distributor was “tossed about like a cork.”
Photo courtesy of Archibald Fleming/NWT Archives/N-1979-050: 1077
The paddle wheels were turned by steam boilers that burned a cord or more of wood each hour. Every eight
hours the boats had to pull into shore to take on a supply of wood that had been cut and stockpiled by woodcutters during the winter months. Sixteen deckhands were kept busy loading wood during the frequent refueling stops and feeding it to the boilers when the boats were underway. This is how an employee of the Hudson’s Bay Company described the sound of the Distributor: “The antiquated engine … wheezed its way northward to a medley of sounds; the sobbing and heaving of pumps, the measured stroke of the great crank and the steady slapping of the wooden paddles of the stern wheel … From the smokestack the spent steam was blown into the air in a regular pattern of two puffs, then one, followed by a pause while the engines gathered enough energy to continue the puffing.”
SS Distributor on the Mackenzie River, circa 1940.
Once on the Mackenzie River, the paddle wheelers had to navigate rapids upstream of Fort Simpson and below Norman Wells, and go through faster waters at the Ramparts near Fort Good Hope, where the river narrowed and flowed between limestone cliffs. In slower parts of the river, particularly in the Mackenzie River Delta, shallow areas and shifting sandbars could present hazards to the paddle wheelers, especially when they were encumbered by their barges. For many years the police, church missions, government agents, oil and mining companies, prospectors, and competing fur traders depended on the Mackenzie River and the Distributor. The Hudson’s Bay Company also courted tourists, offering round-trip passage on the Distributor from Waterways to Aklavik for a cost in 1933 of $325.00, including meals and a berth. Northerners also booked passage on the paddle wheelers, ‘going out’ for holidays or special occasions. By the time we got down to Aklavik The sun was shining on us all the night and day So I never got a single minute sleepin’ And before I knew it we were headed up Tuktoyaktuk way
Until the mid-1950s Aklavik was the centre of economic activity on the lower Mackenzie River, and often was the end of the line for the paddle wheelers. After the Hudson’s Bay Company established a trading post at Tuktoyaktuk in 1937, they sometimes took freight for that post, and for transfer to sea-going vessels that carried it to other parts of the Western Arctic. If you go down north on the river Bet you can still find some people who heard The blowing of the whistles of the paddle wheelers As they came around a river bend curve Rollin’, rollin’, on the Mackenzie River The end of the Second World War brought changes to the North. Airplanes carried passengers to their destinations more quickly than the slow-moving paddle wheelers, and a fleet of diesel-powered tugboats operated by the Northern Transportation Company carried freight more efficiently. In 1947 the Hudson’s Bay Company gave up its Common Carrier License, and the aging Mackenzie River and Distributor were taken out of service. The paddle wheeler era on the Mackenzie River had come to an end.
Photo courtesy of O.S. Finnie/Provincial Archives of Alberta/PR1992.0388.0003
Big wheel keep on turnin’ Distributor keep on burnin’ Rollin’, rollin’, on the Mackenzie River
People at Aklavik greeting the arrival of the Distributor, 1929.
Photo credit: Fred Jackson fonds/ NWT Archives/N-1979-004: 0152 SS Mackenzie River (left) and SS Distributor (right) on the Mackenzie River, 1922.
Photo credit: G. Zuckerman/NWT Archives/N-1979-012: 0005
A 1933 advertisement for an excursion to the Arctic by paddle wheeler..
The SS Mackenzie River with three barges at Fort Wrigley, 1946.
PRESERVING OUR LANGUAGE FOR THE NEXT GENERATION
The Atausiq Inuktut Titirausiq Task Group works to unify the Inuit language writing system WORDS BY NATHALIE HEIBERG-HARRISON WITH FILES FROM INUIT TAPIRIIT KANATAMI AND PRINCEâ€™S CHARITIES CANADA PHOTOS BY GARETH EVERETT/HUW EVANS AGENCY AND NATHALIE HEIBERG-HARRISON
t’s not often that you get to see history in the making from the sidelines of a long conference table. That’s what happened this past September in Inuvik at the Inuvialuit Cultural Resource Centre, where the Atausiq Inuktut Titirausiq (AIT) Task Group was meeting to try and create a unified writing system for the Inuit language. Their goal – to ensure the language is preserved and passed down to the next generation – wasn’t a small one. The task group is comprised of representatives from all four Inuit regions in Canada, with Beverly Amos, Lillian Elias and Albert Elias representing Inuvialuit. Their aim is to have a recommended unified Inuit language writing system for discussion and implementation by 2020. Since the 1970s a discussion around promoting and supporting the continued use of the Inuit language in schools across Inuit Nunangat has taken place. It has included a deeply rooted debate about introducing a unified Inuit writing system to promote communication across dialects and the development of common learning materials. The key to a new era in bilingual education is the ability to produce, publish and distribute common Inuit language materials. A unified Inuit language writing system with common grammar, spelling and terminology would facilitate the production of these materials and strengthen the Inuit language. It would improve mobility and allow consistency in the education system for students, leading to improved literacy and education outcomes across Canada’s four Inuit regions, including the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. A unified writing system will also strengthen Inuit unity and culture in Canada, as it is part of self-determination. One of the long-term objectives of unification and standardization is to have Inuktut as the language of operation for organizations, government and institutions in Inuit Nunangat. This would facilitate policy making with an Inuit worldview and perspective. Crucially, even with the adoption of a unified writing system, communities will retain their own dialects, in both the oral and written language, and be encouraged to teach the existing local writing systems in homes and in the community. In 2012, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) and the National Committee on Inuit Education established the AIT Task Group. The 15 members were appointed by their member organizations. It includes language specialists from each Inuit region and is coordinated by ITK’s National Inuit Language Coordinator. The task group has been mandated to research and identify the
speech components of Inuktut and the current Inuktut orthographies in use, and recommend an Inuktut orthography considering today’s technology and trends that are most effective and have the best chance of advancing Inuktut far into the future. “I think our participation as Inuvialuit with the Inuit of the Eastern Arctic is important. It’s really important that we’re there. It’s really grinding at times and tiring - it’s a lot of hard work, no doubt,” Albert said of his work with the task group. “There are so many dialects in the circumpolar world from Russia to Greenland. We can understand each other quite well, but to try and come up with one writing system, it’s discussion and it’s debate, and it’s not that easy sometimes, but it’s good that we’re there to get our input and feedback to them.” In December ITK and Prince’s Charities Canada partnered on a study tour to Wales, bringing the AIT Task Group together to learn from the Welsh language revitalization initiative first hand. The trip took place over five days, with one day in London and four in Wales. It culminated in a meeting with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales at his Welsh residence Llwynywermod. AIT Task Group members shared their Northern culture with Prince Charles, including drum dancing and throat singing, and Albert performed a closing song. The Inuvialuk elder said his time in Wales was memorable, invaluable and educational. “It was very exciting. We learned quite a lot, mainly about the Welsh language and how they revitalized the language. When the British ruled Wales centuries ago, they were not allowed to speak their language,” he explained. “Eventually when they became independent they started trying to revitalize their language. Today they’re really doing well.” Beverly agreed. “You could sense the pride in the people when they spoke and how they looked after and supported the institutions that are working towards revitalizing the language. They have made themselves and their people really educated in their education system. The English government is helping to pay for the language they took away from the people,” she said. “I felt all that pride and all that urgency. They think, ‘That was ours. We’re going to do what we need to get it back.’ They are all working together. That’s what I learned. Everyone is doing their part. It’s nothing fancy. They’re not dressed fancy, the food is not fancy, but they’re strong in taking back what’s theirs.”
Beverly Amos meets HRH The Prince of Wales.
Albert Elias shakes hands with His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. Below: The AIT Task Group meets in Inuvik.
AIT MEMBER MONICA ITTUSARDJUAT, CHAIR LILLIAN ELIAS BEVERLY AMOS ALBERT ELIAS JEANNIE ARREAK-KULLUALIK SUSIE EVYAGOTAILAK LIZZIE ALIQATUQTUQ JEELA PALLUQ-CLOUTIER HARRY TULUGAK ROBERT WATT RITA NOVALINGA SOPHIE TUGLAVINA CHRISTINE NOCHASAK SARAH TOWNLEY MAATALI OKALIK (FORMER MEMBER)
COMMUNITY OTTAWA, ONTARIO INUVIK, NWT INUVIK, NWT INUVIK, NWT IQALUIT, NUNAVUT KUGLUKTUK, NUNAVUT IQALUIT, NUNAVUT IQALUIT, NUNAVUT PUVIRNITUQ, NUNAVIK KUUJJUAQ, NUNAVIK MONTREAL, QUEBEC MAKKOVIK, NUNATSIAVUT NAIN, NUNATSIAVUT NORTH WEST RIVER, NUNATSIAVUT IQALUIT, NUNAVUT
HRH The Prince of Wales and Monica Ittusardjuat.
REGIONAL ORGANIZATION INUIT TAPIRIIT KANATAMI INUVIALUIT REGIONAL CORPORATION INUVIALUIT REGIONAL CORPORATION INUVIALUIT REGIONAL CORPORATION NUNAVUT TUNNGAVIK INC. NUNAVUT TUNNGAVIK INC. NUNAVUT TUNNGAVIK INC. INUIT UQAUSINGINNIK TAIGUUSILIUQTIIT MAKIVIK CORPORATION MAKIVIK CORPORATION KATIVIK SCHOOL BOARD NUNATSIAVUT GOVERNMENT NUNATSIAVUT GOVERNMENT NUNATSIAVUT GOVERNMENT NATIONAL INUIT YOUTH COUNCIL
WALES Wales tariuqpaum akiani ittuq Nuna akijusimayuq takumasiriktuq Sikusuittuq apunmik takunaittuq Napaaqtut nautchiatun ittut Imnait inugiaktut takunaqtut nunami Punâ€™ngayut niriniaqtut apqutit saniani Aulasuittut ittuataqsinaqtut.
Across the great sea lies Wales A land of enormous beauty and history No sign of ice or snow to see The great trees resemble plants Along the hillsides are many sheep With heads bowed low they graze Seem to be contented and rarely roaming.
Igluqpait ingilraanitat uyaqqanik sanayat Tariuqpaum qaningani makitayut Mayurautait nirukittut qutchiktut Qunmuinakapsak ittut Ulurianaqtut mayurautait Igluqpait uyarakyuat nuitaniqsauyut Nunamlu tariumlu akunrani.
Huge castles of old made from granite Stand near the great sea With stairs narrow and tall So steep seems climbing straight up Very unsafe these steps of rock The mighty stone castles stand majestically Between the beautiful land and the mighty Atlantic.
Aksaluutit apqutait nirukittut piringayut Sittuqpait mayuriaqpait aulagait Irriqpait naqsaqpait quvianaqtut Napaaqtut angiyut takumasiriktut Irrit nuvugiktut qilangmun tikuaqtutun ittut Nuvuyat qangatayut akunrani Nunalu tariurlu silalu ilagiiktut atausiuyut.
Traffic on highways narrow and meandering Travel the rolling hills and dales The mountains and valleys bring happiness The forests are huge and beautiful Powerful steep mountains point towards heaven White scattered clouds floating between them The land, sea and the sky are three in one.
-- Poem by Albert Elias on his travels in Wales
The Atausiq Inuktut Titirausiq Task Group on their study tour in Wales.
TRADITIONAL ACTIVITIES When you’re on the land, there’s an endless amount of things to do to keep busy and active – and provide for your family! In Tusaayaksat’s latest edition of language games, see how many traditional activities you can identify in Inuvialuktun’s three dialects: Kangiryuarmiutun, Siglitun and Uummarmiutun. Illustrations by Sheree Mcleod
TRADITIONAL ACTIVITIES Inuvialuktun language games #11
Inuvialuktun language games #11
1. What are you doing? 4. I am sewing.
2. I am fishing. 5. I am getting water.
3. I am picking berries. 6. I am making fire.
THE MUSKRAT JAMBOREE Celebrating 60 years
Celebrating 60 years
THE MUSKRAT JAMBOREE
EAST THREE THEATRE PRESENTS
HOW TULUGAQ THE RAVEN STOLE THE SUN
May 26-May 28, 2017 Photos by Kynwill Gordon-Ruben
ACT 1 scene 1
The Chief’s Tent/Forest
Over the Ocean
Strip of Land
ACT 2 scene 1 scene 2 scene 3 scene 4
The Riverbank The Chief’s Tent The Forest Time Immemorial
CAST OF CHARACTERS tulugaq the moon inuit elder gwichâ€™in elder sahtu elder the sun raven child snowbird chief daughter daughterâ€™s friend lynx owl squirrel fox rabbit
Maya Simard Katelynn Crocker Wallace Goose
Tessa Jenks, Brooke Dalton, Shannon Guy, Olivia Gilmour, Malakai Keegan-Drennan
Mila Eldridge, Dimitri, Jasper, Adriana, Jolie Wolki, Whitney, Xavier, Rachel, Madison, Jaxon, Paige, Sabrina
Madison Francis Sierra McDonald Ariana Keevik John Voudrach Nicole Verbonac Wallace Goose Sierra McDonald Madison Francis Tatum Mistaken-Chief Tyra Bain Tye Ovayuak Tamara Bain Reese Wainman and Jolie Wolki
PRODUCTION TEAM director
Denise Lipscomb, Gillian Lavoie, Kristen Lavoie
Lexi Winchester, Joel Granger
Dave McIssac, Steve Dagar
Photo by: Angela Gzowski
set and props
Kristen Callaghan, Jenna Foster, Gillian Lavoie, Arno Wilkomm
front of house
Sharla Greenland and Kenzie McDonald
Tristan Blyth, Anibe Abba, Florence Nasogaluak, Tyson Mistaken-Chief, Krish Sharma
Anna Pingo, Angela Voudrach, Abe Drennan; in consultation with Anna Pingo, Maribeth Pokiak, Donna Johns and Megan McCaffery
THREE STUDENTS SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCES FROM ON THE LAND AND IN THE CLASSROOM PHOTOS BY THOMAS GAGNON-VAN LEEUWEN
he Helen Kalvak School in Ulukhaktok is one of the many examples of schools balancing academics and local culture, with multiple programs meant to inspire the students to embrace their traditions. One of these programs in Ulukhaktok is the Uqpilik Trip, which is a biannual school outing that focuses mainly on cultural activities at the nearby lake of Uqpilik. The first trip happens during spring in May and the second during fall in August or September. The first trip takes place when the snow is still plentiful and the lake is frozen over, while the later trip occurs when it is still warm and the waters are calm. Both of these trips are a full day outing, and the school provides lunch, snacks, transportation and some sports equipment to play with while out on the land. During the fall trip, we are driven in the police and school trucks to the lakeside where we set up camp. There are
WORDS BY CHLOE KANAYOK
plenty of bilberries and mountain bearberries to pick, and we do a lot of fishing. For the winter trip, we are brought to the campsite by a combination of trucks and skidoos that pull sleds filled with kids to set up camp beside a sizable hill that we slide on. Thatâ€™s the main reason I love the winter trip. The school also has iceâ€‘fishing competitions to see who gets the biggest, smallest and most fish. I think the outings are great for not only the school but the community as well. The school encourages members of the community to come along to participate and have fun with us on the outings. So not only does it inspire the youth to go outside more often to take part in cultural activities, but it also teaches them to care about the environment, (all garbage and waste are brought back to the school to be dealt with).
Our principal at Helen Kalvak School, Richard McKinnon, had this to say about the Uqpilik Trip: “[It] allows students and teachers a chance to spend some time together out of the classroom and to start building some relationships ... to readjust themselves with each other, spend some time in a cultural setting with their teacher and get elders to go out there to do some cooking with the kids and play some games. It’s a chance for the entire school to come together and spend both some quality time and also some traditional time in one setting, and you can’t do that in a school.” My experience on Uqpilik trips over the years has been
extremely positive. I was surrounded by my culture in a learning environment that reaffirmed my identity as an Inuit Canadian. I remember berry picking on a trip in Grade 2 where it turned into a competition to see who had the most. (If my memory serves me right, I never came close to winning.) I remember scaling the shoveled-in stairs on the side of a snowy hill for the eleventh time so that I could slide down and repeat the process. These fond experiences mean a lot to me - even the time I was pushed down said hill multiple times! The only experience I regret at Uqpilik was the time in Grade 4 when I chased a rabbit and fractured my wrist by tripping on a rock, and I had to be sent out to Inuvik to get a cast. Despite this, I wouldn’t change a thing about my time on the land with my school.
LOYALTIES WORDS BY JACOB KLENGENBERG
y day begins at 7:00 a.m. on weekdays so I can show up for work at 8:00 a.m. I open up the school gymnasium for all students, and I love it! I get to play with all of the kids to get them up and at ’em with games such as soccer, dodgeball, bump or simply free time. Morning circle at Helen Kalvak School begins at 8:40 a.m. for morning announcements to alert the school staff and students on what the day brings. After school, sometimes help is needed to pick up groceries for the breakfast program or mail needs to be picked up from the post office, and I am usually free to do so. Running or working out also plays a significant role in my day; I am involved in biathlon and boxing, so it’s necessary for me to be at the top of my game. Thankfully I enjoy physical activity, more so than sitting at a desk and doing work, that’s for sure! My week is full of wonders and fun.
It is important for me, for you and for everyone to stay in school and do the absolute best you can. I have learned that the only way you are ever going to live the life you want is by graduating school. I dare say you will not see anyone in your lifetime become a teacher with a Grade 10 education or a police officer with a Grade 8 education - at least not in this day and age. I want exactly that, and no one is going to stop me from receiving my diploma. It is my first and foremost long-term goal to graduate high school so I can apply to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP); I have been seriously looking at the RCMP as a career for several years and now is the time to prove it. In 2015 I travelled to Ottawa to take part in Encounters with Canada so I could learn about the RCMP and what types of careers they offer, including as police officers, civilians and community constables. I was very lucky because it was the final opportunity for youth like me to take part in the program with the RCMP. I am dedicated to joining
the RCMP because that is where I feel I belong. I want to help people, to see everyone well, to do good work in this world and I know that the RCMP accomplishes that. As a full-time high school student taking academic courses, it is often difficult for me to go out on the land hunting, fishing and camping. I have been hunting all of my life. My father took me out on a snowmobile to a nearby island to visit some people a week after I was born, and since then I have successfully come home with meat nearly every trip to provide for my family, my grandmother and the elders in the community. Unfortunately, in the past two years I have turned down several hunting opportunities with my dad in order to stay in school; I was afraid of falling behind and not being able to catch up. I remember when I was younger going out caribou hunting with my dad basically every summer. We would be in the boat for 6-10 hours (if the weather cooperated) travelling to our destination. I enjoyed every second I spent on these caribou hunts. My dad would let me shoot three caribou, and he would shoot two. Once we reached about five caribou on the hunt, we would start to make our way back home. The day we make it back home is unload-and-rest day. The day after, we cut up and portion out the meat and make sure every elder gets at least a piece, and I think that’s the reason
I love hunting - giving back to the elders and seeing the smile on their faces knowing that they will have a good meal or two. They always say quana (thank you), ayuitutin (good job) and give me a big hug. When you step into my shoes, you will see that giving back to the elders is more important than ever. They are what made you you, and they aren’t getting any younger, so do what you can to help them out. If you see an elderly lady carrying a bag of groceries home, help her out. It only takes a couple of minutes out of your day. Thanks to the school, I can still enjoy these moments with the elders. Helen Kalvak Elihakvik incorporates on‑the-land trips with the educational time given to us. It is very refreshing to take a break from schoolwork and just hunt or fish with all of your friends and teachers. We have roughly four or more trips with the school per academic year. The school organizes two Uqpilik trips and two muskox hunts, plus additional short trips such as fox trapping and seal hunting. Uqpilik is a fairly large lake about two kilometers from town and can be accessed by truck. During the Uqpilik trips, it is wonderful to see everyone enjoying themselves either by the campfire, picking berries or fishing by the lake, and in the springtime sliding down the rather steep hill. Throughout the muskox hunts, the majority of the time is spent in search of muskox on the snowmobiles, telling stories about what it was like on the land in the past - and eating. Preparation is perhaps the most important part of the muskox hunt. There are people preparing the snowmobiles and qamutit (Inuit travelling sleds that are made up of two long curved sliding beams and many cross pieces to connect them).
They also ensure that the students are dressed properly, and if they are not, they are lent the clothing they need. The food, including thermoses of hot drinks, and the emergency camping gear are prepared as well. Everything essential is taken such as sleeping bags, satellite phones, CB radios and cameras for snapping photos. It takes a lot of teamwork, and the school does it with great ease and efficiency. If we happen to become lucky in finding muskox and harvesting them, most of the meat is distributed to the elders in the community. I believe the remainder of the meat is used for a student lunch and the rest for graduation. I feel very fortunate to be able to take part in these events our school organizes. If it were not for the school putting on these events, I have no idea where I
would be with my life in terms of school. I cannot function on a mind that is full - I need to get out on the land every once in a while! On the one hand, I have school and it is very important to me; it is the only way I am going to pursue my long-term goal and become successful in life. On the other hand, I have hunting, which is essential for me because it is what keeps me on top of my game - hunting is probably the only reason I am where I am today. I have been hunting all of my life. Itâ€™s in my blood. It is important for me to balance hunting and school, and I know for a fact that it is the only way I am going to get through high school.
UNDER the MIDNIGHT SUN WORDS BY NADINE KLENGENBERG KUNELUK
ou may or may not remember me from a previous article I wrote about ice fishing and the fishing derby we have every year in Ulukhaktok. For three years I have won all of the youth categories. (I plan on winning again this year as well as it is my last two years in the youth category.) I enjoy fishing very much, both with an aullatiit (fish jigger) and a fishing rod. In this story, I am going to share what my summertime fishing experiences are like when I am not in any competitions that have restrictions and time limits. During the summer when school is out, my parents often let me leave either early in the morning, or at midnight if I am “backwards,” to go to nearby lakes on my own. (Here in Ulukhaktok we use the word “backwards” if we go to sleep in the morning and wake up in the evening.) The
lake I like that is closest to town is called Kunaks Lake. It is named after Wallace Goose, who was the first person to catch a fish there. (Kunak is Wallace’s Inuinnaqtun name.) Everyone else assumed that because of its size that it was a pond. My dad would take me there as a practice lake from the time I was nine up until I was 15; it prepared me for when we would travel to further lakes. I still enjoy going to Kunaks because I am now tall enough to literally see the fish swim towards my lure and bite the hook. Every time I visit the lake I catch at least three to four decent fish, but sometimes I see as many as three fish following the hook, and I cannot resist watching them, so I stay in the same spot for long periods of time. I hope that other children will have the chance to practice fishing there the way I did when I was a child, which is why I will not continue to go there as often as I do.
Two other lakes that I enjoy fishing at that are also near town are Uqpilik Lake and Air Force Lake. Uqpilik gets its name from the willows that grow along the riverbank that dries up during summer. It is the larger of the two, but the fish there have become less abundant. Air Force Lake – in Inuinnaqtun it is called Amittualuk - is smaller than Uqpilik, but larger than Kunaks, and I usually catch about double the amount of fish at Air Force than at both of the other lakes. I can’t see the fish at Air Force because there are no spots with rock or grass mounds, and I would enjoy the lake much more if I were able to see the fish. Being able to see the fish is one of my favourite reasons to go fishing. If I can’t see the fish, it’s less fun than being able to see them, which is why I developed a bias towards Uqpilik. There is a dock-shaped rock at Uqpilik which I stand on top of to see almost to the opposite side of the bay. (Mind you, it is a small bay, maybe about 100 feet wide.) It is a fishing spot only I know of. However, I wouldn’t mind taking a few friends there sometime during the summer. I really do enjoy rod fishing as well as ice fishing. My favourite month of the year to go fishing would definitely be June, when the char return from Fish Lake to feed in the ocean and swim in all of our bays, which are known as King’s, Queen’s and Jack’s Bays. King’s Bay is my favourite to fish for char because we have a permanent dock made out of wood and gravel to unload the supplies and products from the barge that delivers much of our community’s food and vehicles. I enjoy fishing at the dock in King’s Bay because it helps me to see the fish, and watching others catch char is always a plus. The dock is usually pretty packed during char season. I have caught three to eight char in my life. They are very difficult to reel in because they are intelligent fish. They know to swim near the surface of the water and flick their bodies so that the barb of the hook will slip or tear off. Unfortunately, 16 years doesn’t give me much time to have the opportunities to go fishing
much with my education being my priority. All the char that I caught were quite large and heavy; I am going to assume that at least five of them got themselves off with the swim-near-the-surface-so-the-barb-will‑come-off method! My younger sister Alison loves to go fishing with me. I took her to the dock in King’s Bay last summer, and after she watched me reel in a char, she wanted to catch a bigger fish than I did that day. I enjoy taking my family members out to go fishing during the summer, especially Alison. I feel like she enjoys fishing as much as I do. I love how it brings the two of us closer together. I hope that someday in the future she can show me a favourite fishing spot of her own. It wouldn’t matter to me if it were one of the previous fishing spots that I showed to her. Another person I enjoy having tag along is my older sister Juliet. She doesn’t enjoy fishing as much as the rest of my family does. I like taking her because she makes me feel safe and lets me be who I really am. I like taking my siblings with me because I can teach them things that not everyone knows. Especially my brother Royce, he understands the basics of fishing, but it never hurts to know more. There are many memories out at the lakes I can name, but my favourite ones are during winter with my parents while we compete in the fishing derby. When we can travel across lakes in less time with more camping supplies. We can only go so far from town in summer until the trail ends. As you can tell, I just love fishing. It will always have a big impact on my life because fish were a big provider for me when I couldn’t eat a variety of food because my allergies would restrict me from other meats. Now that I understand a lot about fishing with both an aullatiit and a fishing rod, I will be ready to go on my own explorations to fish.
The missing and murdered Indigenous women I won’t forget WORDS BY BREYZE AGNES WYNTER BLAKE
Photos by Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison
hen a member of your family goes missing and you find out they have been murdered, it affects your family a lot. You could say my family is one of the many unlucky ones. My grandma was murdered when my mom was just six years old. Then, two years ago my childhood best friend was murdered. I had seen her two weeks before. Missing and murdered Indigenous women aren’t just a statistic. You grow up with them, make memories with them, and your life somehow seems incomplete when they’re gone. It really hurts. Your family and friends are what helps make life more fun. They are the ones that are supposed to be there through thick and thin when you need help.
When my grandma was murdered, my mom was forced to grow up quicker than a normal child would. She had to become a role model for her younger brother and sisters and learn everything a growing girl should know without a motherly figure around. It was hard on her. There were 10 of them, and my mom leaned on her older brother, aunts, uncles and my great-grandma for support. Although my mom tells me stories about my grandma from time to time, she doesn’t want to talk about it yet fully. I know that it was hard for my mom and she still suffers today. Even though this happened to my mom and her brothers and sisters, they don’t allow this to affect their kids today. Most of the pain stopped with them.
My best friend and I did almost everything together growing up. We would play together, have sleepovers, and were joined at the hip. I can remember once when I was about eight or nine years old; I couldn’t wait for her to come over. It was six or seven in the morning, and I went to her house while everyone was sleeping to look at her house number – and then ran back home. I thought, in my little eight- or nineyear-old head, that the number on her house was the phone number! This was my fondest (and funniest) memory from that time. I remember when I played with Barbies with her and my cousins. We would always make little clothes for the dolls, and we would always play this little game we had come up with. We put all the toys in little piles and would play rock, paper, scissors to see who would get to pick first. We would do this until everything was gone and then create our own little house. These memories are the best of my childhood. She moved away a couple of years later, and we lost touch. When I was 14, I moved to the Yukon to live with my sister. It was around the end of November when I saw her last. We talked, laughed and looked back at our old memories together. She was murdered walking home from a party two weeks later. When my mom talks about my grandma, she tells me that she was a loving and caring mom. Sometimes, growing up I would think about what it would be like to have a grandma. I would think, what would she be like? Would she spoil us? Would she always make dry meat and other foods? Would I be sitting at her feet while she told all of us stories? My friend, she was the best growing up. Everyone in town loved her. She was kind, loving and had a funny personality. I think if she was alive and we were still in touch, we’d be going to the river to go swimming and have a little fire, or going for walks late at night, and maybe after she would camp over. It might have been like old times, while we were growing up. With my grandma dying while my mom was so young, it affected her a lot. Sometimes my mom doesn’t know how to communicate with me. She grew up in a home where they didn’t communicate much. She had to learn so much on her own. She struggles from time to time, but we have fought everything that was thrown at us. With my friend also dying at a young age, it hit our family hard. It was like a breaking point for my mom. I can hardly go out on my own anymore, or sleep over at my friend’s house, because of the fear that something will happen to me. My mom and I fight when I’m out late at night because she fears the worst. She is learning to trust me more, but I know she just wants the best for me. I can’t imagine how it is to lose a mom at such a young age. I don’t know what I would do without her and the support she has given me. She made me who I am today.
NEVER SAY DIE
The story of Aklavik and its people Words by by Tom Mcleod
second largest river in North America, only smaller than the great Mississippi River. It is in the shadow of the Richardson Mountains, a continuation of the Rocky Mountains range into Canada’s North. The people that make up Aklavik are primarily Inuvialuit and Gwich’in, with a smattering of other folk rounding out the rest of the community.
Photo by: Steph Hunter
klavik is a community of around 650 people in the north-western part of the Northwest Territories on the edge of both the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and the Gwich’in Settlement Area. It is located on the bank of the Peel River, a tributary of the mighty Mackenzie River, the
Photo by: Steph Hunter
Photo by: Nathalie Heiberg- Harrison
“The Inuvialuit and Gwich’in still live on very traditional diets.
This self-supplied food source is the heartbeat of the community with many of the residents subsisting mainly off caribou and fish sourced from the Mackenzie Delta and the Arctic Ocean.
Photo by: Steph Hunter
Photo by: Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison
Photo by: Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison
Photo by: Nathalie Heiberg- Harrison
Photo by: Tom Mcleod
Photo by: Tom Mcleod
Photo by: Tom Mcleod
Photo by: Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison
The name Aklavik comes from an Inuvialuit word Akłak (pronounce uck-luck with a little roll of the “k”) which means bear and Vik which means place - making Aklavik Place of the Bear. With the name coming from Akłak some people tend to pronounce Aklavik like “Uck-lavik,” to which you might say, “If it comes from the word for bear then that’s got to be right! Right?” No. That is incorrect for two reasons, the first being that is not how people from the hamlet and region pronounce the name, which should always be how to judge how to say the name of a place. The second reason for the pronunciation being wrong is that when the people that say “Uckla-vik” say it they never find the time to roll the k and the ł leaving the name sounding like someone found a place they thought was rather horrid and still decided to live there anyways. This of course puts off anyone actually from Aklavik as it makes them sound like the kind of person that would live in a town called “Place of Uck,” which sounds thoroughly unappealing. So in summary of this point: please discontinue any use of the incorrect pronunciation in favor of the way people from the community and region say the name. I’ll tell you the proper way to pronounce Aklavik: uh-kla-vik - a nice three
syllable construction that leaves everyone feeling happy about where they’ve chosen to settle with no implications of any “uck” whatsoever. If you are feeling quite familiar with the place or are short on time, “Kla-vik” will also work in a pinch. Shortening of place names as colloquialism is quite common in the region, as locals often call Aklavik “Klavik,” Inuvik “Nuvik,” and even Tuktoyaktuk gets the ever-sensible reduction to just “Tuk.” Aklavik was founded in 1912 as a trading post by the Hudson’s Bay Company, after an ambush by the Gwich’in on a group of Inuvialuit traveling to Fort McPherson to sell furs caused the Inuvialuit to refuse to travel to Fort McPherson to trade. Fearing competition from traders from Alaska, the Hudson’s Bay Company sent a small group of men to scout for a suitable place for a trading post further down the Peel River. This was when they came across a couple of bears on the point of a river bank that looked promising and so called the place Aklavik, which as mentioned above means Place of the Bears. Aklavik quickly became one of if not the most important trading post in the North. With soaring prices for white
Photos by: Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison 68
PhotoPhoto by: Tom by: Tom Mcleod Mcleod
Photo by: Tom Mcleod
Photo by: Tom Mcleod
Photo by: Tom Mcleod
“This is what kept the people from moving to Inuvik when the government urged them to, this is the lifeblood of the town and this is why the People of Aklavik say: Never Say Die. ”
fox pelts and a very healthy muskrat trade, the trading post boomed into a small town and then into the regional centre for the Canadian Government. For a time the town was quite prosperous. From the 1920s until the large-scale floods in the forties and fifties Aklavik was home to some of the most successful hunters and trappers the North has ever seen. Some were successful enough to purchase large boats called schooners, allowing these people to travel throughout the warmer months with their entire families. For a time in the thirties, a pilot lived in Aklavik, giving short airplane rides for five dollars a trip. The town was called in turns “Silver City” and “The Muskrat Capital of the World.” This was the status quo until the fifties when flooding caused the Canadian Government to seek a place to relocate the town and escape the flooding danger. This is when the town of Inuvik was born as the first planned settlement in all the Canadian North. The government tried to resettle the people of Aklavik to Inuvik, but a part of the town refused to leave the place that had become their home. With backing from the local school principal “Moose” Kerr the people kept their hometown, and now
the local school is named after him. Though smaller now, the hamlet still lives on as a testament to the “Never Say Die” attitude of the people. This sentiment has become the motto of the hamlet, and so the community lives on. To continue this history, the people of the community rely on the amazing geological features of their land for their livelihoods and recreation. The riverways of the Mackenzie Delta are the primary means of travel to and from Aklavik. For a large portion of the year, everything from snowmobiling to trap lines to driving the ice road on a grocery run are done on the frozen water of the Delta. During the summer and winter, the riverways make life for the people of the hamlet much easier, not only by being an easy mode of transportation but also by lowering the prices of goods that must be transported into the community from the south. Milk, flour, cheese, cereal and anything you might want from a store will, of course, have to be shipped in. With a more convenient method of transportation available, the goods will be easier to access and therefore less expensive. The only alternative to the riverways for the hamlet is air travel, which is much
Photo by: Tom Mcleod
The Mackenzie Delta is not only the supply line for the town - it is also its playground. With this vast and sprawling Delta, a freedom is afforded the people. With a boat or a snowmobile a person could travel hundreds of kilometres in any direction and enjoy some of the best hunting, fishing or trapping available anywhere in the world. The aforementioned muskrat trade still goes on strong with the people of the Delta. The Inuvialuit and Gwichâ€™in still live on very traditional diets. This selfsupplied food source is the heartbeat of the community with many of the residents subsisting mainly off caribou and fish sourced from the Mackenzie Delta and the Arctic Ocean. Caribou hunting happens in the winter and spring as the Porcupine Caribou herds make their way back from
Photo by: Tom Mcleod
Photo by: Tom Mcleod
more costly and less reliable. Bad weather such as fog, rain or snow can ground aircraft, where boats and cars can of course still be driven safely in such circumstances. With this added reliability and inherent lower cost, river travel is the primary method of travel for the people of the Mackenzie Delta.
their calving grounds in Alaska. From the northern Yukon coast to the Richardson Mountains between Aklavik and Fort McPherson the townsfolk travel far and wide in search of caribou. Many Inuvialuit and Gwichâ€™in children harvest their first caribou even before they become teenagers, so deep is the tradition in this community. The Hamlet of Aklavik continues to live and thrive on its hunting and trapping roots, so much so if you were to ask almost any young member of the community where they want to be and what they want to be doing, the most likely answer would be: out on the land with a snowmobile or boat hunting caribou or ducks, or trapping muskrats or beaver, fishing for some arctic char, or even just enjoying the beauty of the region out in the wild. This is what kept the people from moving to Inuvik when the government urged them to, this is the lifeblood of the town and this is why the people of Aklavik say: Never Say Die.
STICK TWIST Words by Northern Games Society Photos by Nick Westover
Stick twist is an Inuit game that tests a participantâ€™s muscle memory. It is meant to teach the movements of their body and instill confidence in those that practice it. As always, the main goal is to have fun and try your best!
NORTHERN GAME SERIES PART 10
Underwood Day demonstrates the stick twist.
DO TRY THIS
Participants begin in the standing position with the stick beside them. (It should reach to the top of their stomach.)
Next, they put the stick behind their back, holding it loosely with their fingers.
Beginning with their right arm, they lift the stick.
They raise the stick above their head with both arms.
Next, they bring the stick in front of their bodies with their hands twisted backwards.
They move the stick in between their legs.
Northern Games &
AT HOME 7
They lift their right leg over the stick.
Next they stand holding the stick in front of their bodies. To complete the stick twist, participants then reverse the steps, beginning with their left foot this time.
11 Then they move the stick around their hip and over their back, guiding it with their left arm.
They lift their left leg up and over the stick.
Participants finish in a standing position with the stick behind their back.
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What is Tusaayaksat? Tusaayaksat is published by the Inuvialuit Communications Society from the Western Arctic of Canada. Tusaayaksat means “stories and voices that need to be heard.” We celebrate the Inuvialuit people, culture and heritage and bring readers the best coverage of our news, vibrant culture and perspectives. Why subscribe? Published quarterly, Tusaayaksat is an essential resource and forum for Inuvialuit views, culture, history and current events in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. For Inuvialuit, Tusaayaksat is like a letter from home, whether it be Ulukhaktok, Sachs Harbour, Paulatuk, Tuktoyaktuk, Aklavik or Inuvik. Support our mission: To empower, celebrate, communicate, heal and bond – and stay connected with a yearly (or more) subscription today!
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