GAME CHANGERS REDEFINING WHAT IT MEANS TO BE INUVIALUIT IN THE 21ST CENTURY NATALJA WESTWOOD WILLIE THRASHER KATE SNOW MORE
STORIES THAT NEED TO BE HEARD
TUSAAYAKSAT MAGAZINE / FALL 2016 / $5
ON THE COVER: Photographer Angela Gzowski captured this image of Natalja Westwood at the NWT Regional Skills Competition in Inuvik earlier this year. Natalja went on to win gold at territorials, and earned herself a spot at the Skills Canada National Competition. To read more about her journey, flip to page 22.
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
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.
PUBLISHER Inuvialuit Communications Society EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison HEAD DESIGNER Vanessa Hunter EDITORIAL TEAM WRITER/PHOTOGRAPHER Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison COPY EDITOR Laura Worsley-Brown INUVIALUKTUN TRANSLATORS Lillian Elias CONTRIBUTORS Elaine Anselmi, Tyra Cockney-Goose, Charles Arnold, Sheree Mcleod, Dennis Allen, Kate Snow, Cody Punter and Catherine Cockney PHOTOGRAPHERS Angela Gzowski, Matt Jacques, David Stewart, Natalja Westwood, Nick Westover and Amanda Smith SPECIAL THANKS TO the Inuvialuit Cultural Resource Centre, NWT Archives, the NWT Legislative Assembly, Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame, Jacinta Larocque, the Hervé Bodeur Collection, Kevin Howes and Light in the Attic Records, Marie Horstead and the staff of the Great Northern Arts Festival, Mabel Thrasher, Peggy Jay, Corrine Bullock and the organizers of Oceans Day, Lee Sacrey, Megan McCaffery and the staff at East Three Secondary School, Donald Kuptana, James Day Jr., Underwood Day and the Northern Games Society
BEAUTIFUL IMAGES FROM ACROSS THE ISR AND BEYOND
LETTERS FROM DOWN SOUTH WITH DENNIS ALLEN
NEWS 2 NELLIE GETS ORDERED UP 2 INUVIK-TUK HIGHWAY MEETS 3 CARMICHAEL NAMED TO CANADIAN AVIATION HALL OF FAME
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
REFLECTIONS ON TECHNOLOGY WITH TYRA COCKNEY-GOOSE
FREDERICK AREY ON THE POWER OF POSITIVITY
ULUKHAKTOK’S PHOTOGRAPHER ON COMPETING ON THE NATIONAL STAGE
HAYDEN STUART AT NUNAVUT SIVUNIKSAVUT
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Veronica Kasook OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR Roseanne Rogers
FUNDING MADE POSSIBLE BY Inuvialuit Regional Corporation GNWT (Education, Culture and Employment) GET SOCIAL Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
FEATURES 4 INUVIK & BEYOND 11 LESSONS FROM MY PARENTS 12 A TYRA COCKNEY-GOOSE STORY 16 FREDERICK AREY PROFILE 22 NATALJA WESTWOOD STORY 30 HAYDEN STUART PROFILE 34 KATE SNOW STORY 37 COMMEMORATIVE GNAF POSTER
the Great Northern Arts Festival
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FEATURES 42 WILLIE THRASHER PROFILE 48 ELSIE NUTTALL STORY 54 FATHER ROBERT LEMEUR STORY 60 RICHARD MCLEOD PROFILE 66 I, NULIGAK ANNIVERSARY 70 NORTHERN GAMES SERIES PART 7 74 LANGUAGE GAMES
KATE SNOW ON LESSONS LEARNED ON THE ROAD
WILLIE THRASHER RETURNS HOME
ELDER PROFILE WITH ELSIE NUTTALL OF TUKTOYAKTUK
THE HISTORY OF FATHER ROBERT LEMEUR
RICHARD MCLEOD PAVES THE WAY
THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF I, NULIGAK
NORTHERN GAMES: EAR PULL
LANGUAGE GAMES: WHO IS THIS?
TUSAAYAKSAT UKIAKRAQ TUSAAYAKSAT IN THE FALL AAQANA! HELLO! Here at Tusaayaksat, we love to celebrate inspiring Inuvialuit who are making a difference in their communities. So it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that we decided to dedicate every page of this issue to these curious, passionate and motivated people. They are true Game Changers, pushing the limits and redefining what it means to be Inuvialuit in the 21st century. Ulukhaktok youth Natalja Westwood makes waves with her photography at the 2016 Skills Canada National Competition (page 22). Inuvik Fisheries Management Technician Kate Snow takes us on a journey around the world, from France to Florida (page 34.) Folk rocker Willie Thrasher returns to the Mackenzie Delta on the heels of a Grammy nomination (page 42). Tuktoyaktuk elder Elsie Nuttall recounts her pursuit of education, and her love of the coastal way of life (page 48).
Self-professed technology addict Tyra Cockney-Goose reflects on the impact it has had on Inuvialuit life and culture (page 12). Frederick Arey’s enthusiasm to better his home community of Aklavik is unstoppable (page 16). Welder Richard Mcleod achieves success in the business world on his own terms (page 60). And Tuktoyaktuk youth Hayden Stuart returns home from the groundbreaking Nunavut Sivuniksavut program in Ottawa (page 30). Their backgrounds are diverse, their voices different, but there’s one lesson that runs through all of their stories: you can forge whatever path you want in life. They are all Game Changers in their own way.
QUYANAINNI THANK YOU, Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison Editor-in-Chief
Health and wellness News from council created
Public servants recognized The annual Premier’s Awards gave welldeserved recognition to individuals and groups who stand out in their field and make exceptional contributions to the public service. Two Beaufort Delta organizations were among those honoured at the ceremony in June. The Beaufort Delta Education Council was given the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the team category. The Premier’s Award for Collaboration went to NWT ASETS-Aurora College.
As the Department of Health and Social Services moves toward a territorial health authority, the individuals that will guide it through the Leadership Council and Regional Wellness Councils were appointed. The members of the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Leadership Council are: Jim Antoine (chair), Ethel-Jean Gruben (Beaufort Delta Region), Ruby Simba (Dehcho),
The GNWT released and debated its 2016-17 budget during the spring session of the 18th Legislative Assembly.
even though some fees, like those administered by the Department of Transportation, will increase slightly.
The budget proposes a $35 million investment in the long list of priorities set out by members but also identified $68 million in savings. Taxes will not increase under the new budget
Ultimately, this budget will move the government toward its goal of reaching $150 million in savings and new revenue by 2020.
Nellie gets ordered up
After first setting out in January 2014, the two construction crews building the InuvikTuktoyaktuk Highway from either end met in early April.
Former chair of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation and Premier of the Northwest Territories Nellie Cournoyea was named to the Order of the NWT on June 29 at the Legislative Assembly.
[He] was the first Indigenous pilot in the Canadian Arctic.
The Beaufort Delta Regional Wellness Council members are: Ethel-Jean Gruben (chair), Denise MacDonald, Annie Goose, Ellen Smith, Donna Keogak, Don Gillis and Eileen Koe.
GNWT budget released
Inuvik-Tuk Highway meets
The two-lane highway that will extend the Dempster up to the Arctic Ocean is expected to open to traffic in Fall 2017. Work such as resurfacing still needs to be done before the nearly $230 million project is complete.
Patricia Schaefer (Fort Smith), Michael Maher (Hay River), Gina Dolphus (Sahtu), Elizabeth Biscaye (Yellowknife) and Ted Blondin (chair of the Tlicho Community Services Association).
Photo courtesy of NWT Legislative Assembly
around the ISR and beyond
The Yellowknife landmark was Nellie’s place of work from 1979 to 1995 when she was a member and then premier in the territory. She remains the only woman to hold the title of premier in the NWT and only Indigenous woman to hold that title in the country. As well as being recognized in the NWT, Nellie is an officer of the Order of Canada and has received honourary doctorates in law from multiple universities.
Nellie Cournoyea with the Deputy Commissioner of the Northwest Territories, the Honourable Gerald W. Kisoun.
Photo courtesy of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame
Photo courtesy of NWT Legislative Assembly
Photo courtesy of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame
Photo courtesy of NWT Legislative Assembly
Fred Carmichael, left, receives the medal of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame from Major General John Madower of the Royal Canadian Air Force. The induction ceremonies were held in Ottawa on June 9 at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. Inductees receive a medal and a certificate of induction.
Fred Carmichael with a Beech 18 of his Reindeer Air Service Ltd., circa 1967.
Carmichael named to Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame Gwich’in pilot Fred Carmichael was inducted into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame and recognized at a ceremony in Ottawa in June. For 60 years Fred flew charter and bush planes across the North and was the first Indigenous pilot in the Canadian Arctic.
GNWT and IRC meet Premier Bob McLeod was in Inuvik in April for the first intergovernmental meeting with the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation. The meeting touched on various issues including a fiscal update, affirmative action and hiring statistics for the GNWT, offshore revenue negotiations, education and housing.
Born in Aklavik, Fred took flying lessons in Edmonton after saving up enough money working on the DEW Line. As well as various contributions to aviation in the North, Fred served as a town councillor in Inuvik, and as President of the Gwich’in Tribal Council.
ICC pushes for support The Inuit Circumpolar Council is calling for global funding for Indigenous participation in issues involving sustainable development. Chair Okalik Eegesiak along with Greenland vicechair Hjalmar Dahl brought the issue forward at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in May. Following the UN Sustainable Development Summit in 2015, an agenda
for sustainable development into 2030 was adopted, including issues such as climate change and ending poverty. In order for Indigenous people to participate in moving this agenda forward, particularly pillars that most heavily impact them, the ICC said there must be funding in place to make such participation possible.
She remains the only woman to hold the title of premier in the NWT and only Indigenous woman to hold that title in the country.
INUVIK & BEYOND
Sophia Nakimayak at the Iqalukpik Jamboree.
Summers in the Arctic can’t be beat! Whether you’re on the coast, in the Delta or further North, there’s no shortage of events, gatherings and celebrations. Aarigaa! To see more photos, check us out on Facebook!
Danica Noksana-Felix and Alaina Noksana at Oceans Day. Aurora Campus valedictorian Olga Aviugana‑Steen at her graduation.
Beautiful slippers on display at the 2016 Midway Lake Music Festival.
Dancing to the beat of the Fort Good Hope Drummers.
Polar Bears at Oceans Day celebrations in Tuktoyaktuk.
Graduates of East Three Secondary School.
The 30th Iqalukpik Jamboree in Paulatuk included canoe races, geese plucking, drum dancing, bannock making and other traditional activities. Spreading awareness.
Tacos in a bag at Midway.
Cheering on Aurora graduates.
Fred Paul and Jordan Mcleod at Shingle.
Julia Cockney wins fastest fish cutter at Oceans Day celebrations in Tuktoyaktuk in June.
Frank Panaktalok of Tuktoyaktuk.
Nathan and Jeff Green play with puppies on the shores of Paulatuk as JoLynn Ruben looks on.
Millie Keevik poses with Parka.
Biking at Inuvikâ€™s skate park.
Ring toss at Shingle.
Geese plucking in Paulatuk.
Emma Dick, right, celebrates her 90th birthday with aunt Sarah Tingmiak, who is 93.
Photo by David Stewart
Marie Horstead and Sarah Beattie at Inuvialuit Day in Inuvik.
Hazel Nuyaviak performs at the Land of the Pingos Music Festival in Tuktoyaktuk.
Photo by David Stewart
A crowd gathers to watch a presentation by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans at Shingle Point.
Western Arctic representatives meet.
Hilary Nasogaluak prepares for the parade at Oceans Day in Tuktoyaktuk.
Photo by Matt Jacques
The 30th Iqalukpik Jamboree.
The Native Yankees in Whitehorse.
The Larocque family celebrates the graduation of their youngest brother Liam. All eight achieved success and obtained their high school diplomas. Congratulations! From left to right: Chelsey, Chad, Brent, Kyla, Liam, Courtney, Chloe and Jacinta.
The Fort Good Hope Drummers at Midway Lake.
Nellie Raymond in Tuktoyaktuk.
Kyla Hvatum at her Grade 12 graduation.
Photo courtesy of Jacinta Larocque
Guitar straps at Midway Lake.
The Angels in Whitehorse.
Free tattoos for Inuvialuit Day.
Barbara Allen at a snowy Inuvialuit Day in June.
Inuvik Drummers and Dancers.
Photo by Matt Jacques
Eileen Jacobson competes in the harpoon throw at Oceans Day.
Mary Wolki of Tuktoyaktuk.
Zachary Mcleod, left, and Colton Archie compete in foot races at Shingle Point.
Isabella Thrasher, centre, joins in drum dancing at the 30th Iqalukpik Jamboree in Paulatuk.
Celebrating Grade 12 graduation at East Three Secondary School.
Skyla Anikina takes part in face painting at Kitti Hall in Tuktoyaktuk.
Letters from down south:
Lessons from my parents
If a guy’s gonna blame his parents for what they done wrong, then you better be ready to blame them for what they done right. Because everything you are - funny, loving, caring and supportive - you learned from your parents. Sure they made mistakes, but if you think about it, they were just doing the best they could.
Wendy Smith dances at Inuvialuit Day.
Canoe races in Paulatuk.
One-of-a-kind footwear on display at the Aurora Campus graduation.
A lot of them grew up tough, tougher than we did. I remember my mom saying how they used to live in a tent, all winter, with two little kids. No furnace, no running water, no electric stove and sure as hell no Facebook. I sure envy my brother Gerry sometimes when he talks about having his own dog team at six years old. If you know Gerry, he might stretch the story a little east now and then, but the fact remains, he had his own team as a kid. Might have been just a few mutts from Buck Semmler, but he had his own outfit. When I was a kid, all we had after school was street hockey and dog races. The Smiths lived just down the hill, and Peter Smith was at the biggest hockey fan in Canada about that time. We even had a league he made up, with makeshift jerseys and all. Goalie pads made out of couch cushions. All us kids on Co-op Hill used to take one of Gerry’s dogs and tie it up to anything. Me I liked using a kicker hood ‘cause they were really slippery. My sister Judy used to use a garbage bag. She’d just hold her favorite dog’s chain and he’d be so damn happy to get untied he would just run anywhere. We’d have races down the alley. I don’t know how the heck I started talking about dog races, but getting back to my point - your parents did the best they could with what they had.
WORDS BY DENNIS ALLEN
There was a lot of drinking in those days too. Everybody had to deal with it. And that brought a lot of sadness to families. But there again too you have to understand; we were not used to it and didn’t know how to use it. They didn’t know to just have vermouth with veal, or white wine with chicken. They abused it cause they didn’t know how to use it. So did I, and probably a lot of you as well. But we got over it. A lot of our parents were going through really hard times. Many of their kids were taken from them and sent to either Grollier Hall or Stringer Hall for school. They had a lot of sadness. Geez, when I go on the road for one or two weeks, I really miss my kids, never mind all year like a lot of parents did. We like to think that our parents should be perfect and make no mistakes. They’d have to re-write the Bible if that was the case. Cause there’s one person ever made perfect, and they nailed him to a cross for it. Anyway, my kids are bugging me to take them swimming. But first, they have to clean up their rooms and do the dishes. They sure kick about it, but they know that’s the rules around here. If you want something, then you gotta work for it. Just like with happiness. If you want it, then you gotta get off the pity pot and do something about it. Try starting off with forgiving your parents and letting them go. Especially if they are passed on, let them rest in peace. Until next time, this is your reporter from down south, Dennis Victor Allen
TYRA COCKNEYGOOSE Reflections on how technology has impacted Inuvialuit culture and lifestyle
Words by Tyra Cockney-Goose Photos by Angela Gzowski
My name is Tyra Cockney-Goose. I am 16 years old, 5’3 and a half, and I am in grade 10. I was born in Inuvik and my parents are Mae Cockney and Louie Goose. I have five sisters and three brothers. I spend a lot of my time eating cake and reading books if I am not already doing homework or playing the piano - and let’s face it, scrolling through Facebook and watching YouTube videos.
If you are a bit wiser in your years you’ve probably told the youngsters of today, “When I was younger…” and went on to say how differently your childhood was spent. If you are a youngster yourself you have probably looked up from your mobile device or computer and sighed at a lecture about how you should be outside more often. Regardless whether you like technology or not, there is no doubt it has shaped our society greatly. We are now open to a world of information and communication that can connect us better and faster than ever before. Although technology holds so much potential, how much of it do we just use to kill time? Is it making us forget about the rich culture at our doorstep?
he majority of teenagers spend hours mindlessly scrolling on their phones, tablets and computers, visiting apps and social media sites, and it has made people lazier and lazier. I am an example of this. Technology and social media drive my life.
My day starts off ten minutes before the school bell rings, when I quickly check my social media accounts before rushing out the door. At school I often find myself staring at the clock wishing for a couple more hours of sleep. I usually spend lunch hour in my bedroom looking at my news feed, nearly forgetting to eat. During afternoon classes I am thinking about what new videos have been posted on YouTube and during my last class my brain feels fried and overworked, even if I’ve barely done a thing. When I get home I go straight to my room and check all of my social media sites. I’ll watch videos for an hour, and then take a nap. I wake up when dinner is ready, and I
eat at the table as fast as I can so I can return to talking to friends on Facebook or watching videos on YouTube. I am almost always on my iPad well into the night until I realize I haven’t completed my homework, so I’ll spend an extra hour awake with that. I usually fall asleep at 3 a.m. Wash, rinse, repeat. I am an extreme example and not every teen does this, but I know for certain I am not alone. I look at my situation and sometimes wonder how differently past generations spent their spare time before the invention of smart phones, tablets and computers. I clearly wasn’t going to find the answer staring at my iPad, so I asked my dad Louie Goose. He was born in Ulukhaktok in the 1950s and has so many stories from his days growing up there. “As a youngster, in order to amuse myself, my time was spent outdoors. In those days seal and polar bear pelts had to be cleaned. I didn’t know this at the time, but me
technology holds so much “ Although potential, how much of it do we just
use to kill time? Is it making us forget about the rich culture at our doorstep?
Photo by: Angela Gzowski
Tyra and her father Louie.
and my brother were encouraged to go sliding in the wintertime, and it always seemed strange to us that after several trips up and down the bank that our folks would give us a new pelt to slide down with,” he said. “Later we found out that what we were actually doing was cleaning the pelts. We would also spend a lot of time outside and there were always puppies to play with. But we couldn’t play with some dogs because they were being trained for a dog team. Other things we would do is hide and seek, fishing just outside other surrounding communities, and harvesting using a fire arm if you were old enough. In the springtime, watching birds like ducks, nauyak or seagulls, and the ravens that stuck around all year. In the summer we would also go boating with our outboard motor.” I can tell you for certain that I have experienced very little compared to what my dad experienced growing up, and it really put a lot of things in perspective for me. If given the opportunity, I would definitely love to try these things.
I should add that my dad doesn’t necessarily think that technology is a bad influence as long as you don’t abuse it. It has benefited us greatly and he explained this with one example. “Think about before the outboard motor was invented. Our ancestors would paddle for long periods of time and that was just to go to church! When I was younger there were five horsepower boats and we thought we were flying. Now you have 200-300 horsepower boats that take you from Inuvik to the coast in under three hours, where in the old days it took three days. So technology benefits us and it is something that is going to happen. It’s a good thing and I am very thankful for innovative people. However, it has to be used wisely so people don’t get too lazy and spoiled. One thing we need to remember is that the Lord has given us two legs and two arms, and so we shouldn’t sit at home and do nothing.”
Frederick Arey T he p ow e r o f p o s itiv it y Words and photos by Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison
t’s hard to describe Frederick Arey. He’s a hamlet councilor. He’s vice-president of the Aklavik District Education Authority. He’s president of the Aklavik Recreation Committee and a member of the All Saints Anglican Church vestry. He works as the Employment and Training Officer at the Aklavik Community Corporation.
He’s a jigger and a dancer. His mother is Inuvialuit and Scottish. His dad, Inuvialuit and Gwich’in. He’s a role model – a leader in the making. “Aklavik is my hometown. I’ve always believed that making a contribution to the community is important, giving back in any way possible,” he says. “I know when I’m being active within the community, there are youth that are looking up to me. They see me busy in different areas, whether it’s at community meetings, recreation events or education events.”
“AKLAVIK IS MY HOMETOWN. I’VE ALWAYS BELIEVED THAT MAKING A CONTRIBUTION TO THE COMMUNITY IS IMPORTANT, GIVING BACK IN ANY WAY POSSIBLE.”
Frederick grew up in Aklavik, but later made the move to Inuvik and lived there for 10 years. He worked as an education assistant at Samuel Hearne Secondary School, took courses online with the University of Calgary and was involved with the Ingamo Hall youth dance group, where they practiced twice a week. In 2006 he completed the Teacher Education Access Program at Aurora College, and in 2007 completed the Leadership Certificate Program, a partnership between Aurora and Vancouver Community College. He returned home to Aklavik five years ago, first to help out his aunt who was dealing with medical problems, and later to set down roots once again. The idea of giving back has always been intrinsic to him, he says, from growing up around so many inspiring and passionate community-minded people. “First and foremost, I have to thank my mother Renie Arey. She is a leader in the community,” he explains. “She also played a huge role when she worked with COPE. So as a young child I always wondered, ‘Why is mom always going to meetings?’ And today I understand that.” He says his teachers at Moose Kerr School set a strong example for him as well, like Sandra Elanik, Lorna Storr and Derek Johnson. He also had role models in Danny C. Gordon, Alex Gordon and Danny A. Gordon. In Inuvik, he says he built his leadership skills while watching mentors Roy Ipana, Gerry Kisoun and Edward Lennie help build up the community. Five years after he made the move back to Aklavik, you can see Frederick carrying on their legacy. It’s hard to go anywhere and not see him getting
involved in one way or another. This past year, he helped coordinate the Walk to Tuk “Team Never Say Die,” a group of 14 that met daily, walking laps around the town and challenging each other to get active during the coldest and darkest months of the Mackenzie Delta winter. Frederick says the Walk to Tuk is one of his favourite community activities. The first year he took part, he was even awarded the grand prize of a return trip for two to Edmonton. “I hope to inspire the youth. They are going to be the ones who are going to be leading our community in the future, so instilling that leadership quality and the ability to be active in the community is important,” he says. “Confidence is key.” His advice to youth, or anyone hoping to become more involved in the community, is to get involved in any way they can – big or small. “If you want to become involved you have to step up and go to community events. Even if it’s a feast or a community meeting, just go and attend and become informed about what’s happening with the community, with different issues. You’ll build from there,” he says. “I’ve just always been that way. I’ve always had a smile on my face,” he says. “I surround myself with positive people, and you can feed off of that positive energy.” The power of positivity, he says, can’t be underestimated. In fact, he’s counting on it.
Ulukhaktokâ€™s hot shot photographer on competing on the national stage Photos by Natalja Westwood and Angela Gzowski Words by Elaine Anselmi
eing given only 15 minutes to shoot a portrait at the Skills Canada NWT territorial competition in April was definitely stressful, says recent Helen Kalvak School graduate Natalja Westwood. After taking home the gold medal for photography in the territorials, the next stop was nationals in Moncton, NB. Is there added pressure heading to the next level? “Oh yeah,” Natalja says from her home in Ulukhaktok. “Like, 10 times the stress.” This isn’t Natalja’s first run at the competition – she won silver at territorials last year and gold the year before that. Each time, heading to the national competition to face off against photographers from across the country. Before heading into the territorial competition this year, Natalja had a chance to prepare and look at some images online that she might be able to recreate. “I think I was
more prepared this year because I knew what I wanted to do, but in past competitions I didn’t,” she says. “I didn’t know that I could do portrait shots before the competition so it was a little surprising.” Portraits were an area of photography Natalja hadn’t yet tried out – only taking a stab at it a few weeks before the competition. “My friend had gone to the Arctic Winter Games and his mom wanted shots of him with his gear and outfit, so we went out a couple weeks back and I took his photo,” she says. Just a few weeks later, Natalja walked away from the national competition in Moncton with a fourth place finish – just a few points shy of a medal. Although it wasn’t something she practised heavily, Natalja had an interest in photography from a young age – largely something she associates with her grandmother. Natalja moved from where her grandmother lives in
Kugluktuk to her current home in Ulukhaktok though, so it was never something they got to do together. That didn’t stifle her interest, however. “We used to get National Geographic magazine and I would take the pictures and I would cut them out and stick them around my room,” Natalja says. “It didn’t really matter what it was. Just the photos were so amazing, I would stick them all around and I remember thinking, that’s what I want to do.” It was only three years ago when a visit from Yellowknife photographer Lee Sacrey and the executive director of Skills Canada NWT Jan Fullerton really bolstered Natalja’s love for the art. “I had some interest, but when they came, it just kind of sparked it I guess.” And that spark didn’t go unnoticed by Natalja’s mentors. Lee jokes that he now affectionately refers to the young photographer as ‘the famous Natalja,’ because he so frequently talks about her talents, even though she is more modest. A Yellowknife-
based photographer, Lee works with youth in the Skills Canada NWT program and facilitates the photography unit at the territorial competition. From the first day he worked with Natalja’s group in Ulukhaktok, he says she stood out. “She was very different than she is now. She was the shy little one that tried to hide from everybody and everything we did – God forbid you point a camera in her direction,” says Lee. “We were probably through our first day and I had mentioned to Jan from Skills that there was something about her, that I thought she would probably be the one that would really do something with it out of that group.” Now, seeing her through three rounds of territorials and the nationals in Moncton, Lee says she certainly has used her raw ability and honed her technical skills. “I will say, I think this is probably five or six years that I’ve been doing this for Skills and if nothing else, the progress I’ve noticed
I just like to try to capture something that somebody wouldn’t normally see in the beginning. -NATALJA WESTWOOD
with Natalja would have made my time well worth it,” he says. “She has a really good ability to see something in a scene she walks into. It’s a natural ability to see something good to photograph.” Luckily, there’s plenty in her community to capture, Natalja says, including Ulukhaktok’s well-known lookout, Three Hills. “You can go up and see the whole town,” she says. “In the summer, it’s green and I love to go up and shoot there.” She doesn’t limit herself to shooting a certain subject. Although Natalja started out shooting mostly still life, she says she’s started to really enjoy portraits and a little bit of everything. “I just like to try to capture something that somebody wouldn’t normally see in the beginning,” she says. After finishing high school this year, Natalja will be headed to Yukon College in the fall for two years of general studies. Beyond that, she says she still has to figure things out. When asked if photography will be involved in her future plans, she says, “Oh yeah, definitely. I would like to be taught some things,” she says. “There’s areas where I’m
just not comfortable taking photos yet, but it is nice to do it by myself and learn at my own pace.” This year’s national competition, Lee says, was a tough one, with the top five contenders all within a few points of each other. “We expected a pretty advanced group this time,” he says. Ahead of the competition, Natalja was excited, but also terrified. Luckily, she knows that this isn’t her only shot. “I try to look at the positive in it and try to look through the whole learning experience,” she says. “It’s not the competition, it’s what I get out of it that’s important to me.”
PAVING THE WAY TO NUNAVUT SIVUNIKSAVUT WORDS AND PHOTOS BY NATHALIE HEIBERG-HARRISON
hen it came time for Hayden Stuart to give a speech at his Nunavut Sivuniksavut graduation this past spring, he stepped up to the podium and did something that surprised both him and the crowd – he put aside his prepared speech and spoke from the heart. “It was very overwhelming, and I thought I would never have that feeling ever,” he says. “At that moment, graduating from the program made me feel very emotional because it happened so fast.”
IF YOU’RE IN A TOUGH SITUATION RIGHT NOW, NO MATTER HOW HARD IT GETS, AT LEAST YOU’RE DOING MORE THAN THE ONES WHO ARE JUST STAYING AT HOME AND NOT ASPIRING TO ANYTHING. IT’S TOUGH RIGHT NOW, BUT JUST TAKE IT STEP BY STEP.” - Hayden Stuart
Photos courtesy of Hayden Stuart
Nunavut Sivuniksavut is a post-secondary program in Ottawa that serves Inuit from across the North. The program caters mainly to students from Nunavut, but in 2013 opened its doors to youth from across the circumpolar world. In 2015, Hayden was the first ever student from the Northwest Territories to attend.
Toastmasters, a public speaking group that increases confidence and the ability to communicate your message. Out of all the courses, Hayden says his favourite was Inuit History. Learning about the differences and similarities between Inuit regions, as well as contemporary Indigenous issues, was mind opening, he says.
“It was kind of a last-minute thing,” Hayden says of the decision to sign up. “When I heard about the program, I found it to be a very interesting program in terms of opening other doors and opportunities for different things to try out. Also knowing more about our past and history from Inuit studies, I found that to be very intriguing as well.”
A highlight of his time at Nunavut Sivuniksavut was a 10-day cultural exchange trip to Oahu, Hawaii. They travelled around the island, meeting with Hawaiian people and taking part in cultural activities like weeding, chanting and cooking. They even took part in an annual luau in Oahu. “It was a really in-depth experience. You wouldn’t get that anywhere else,” he says. “It was one of the greatest trips I’ve ever been on, in terms of taking in all the knowledge. What you were learning there, you would not get anywhere else. It’s not the tourist perspective. It’s a way more in-depth perspective than you would imagine.”
Nunavut Sivuniksavut runs from September to May and includes courses on Contemporary Issues in Inuit Society, Inuit History and Inuktitut. Students also take part in
Another major part of the Nunavut Sivuniksavut experience is learning how to live life down south in an Ottawa apartment. “I caught on fairly quick, but at the start it was like, ‘Woah. Where am I going to go from here?’” When Hayden returned to Tuktoyaktuk following graduation, he said he took to the community to spread the word about the benefits of the program. He did presentations at Mangilaluk School and is trying to spread the knowledge that he learned in Ottawa. The first sign his enthusiasm is catching on: Melody Teddy of Tuktoyaktuk is currently in Ottawa, the second NWT student to take part in the Nunavut Sivuniksavut program. “One of my instructors actually said at the start of the year, ‘In the blink of an eye, the program will soon be over and you’ll be going home.’” he says. “The year went by so fast, and the feeling was really touching. It was really amazing at the graduation.”
In his final speech at graduation, Hayden spoke about how the memories he made in Ottawa will play over and over in his head, and how they will be kept in his heart forever. He plans on working in Tuktoyaktuk for the next year to save up money and then return to Ottawa, where he has been accepted into Carleton University. Hayden is passionate about advocating for Inuit youth, and now feels he has more of the tools he needs to make that a reality. His advice to youth is this: “If you’re in a tough situation right now, no matter how hard it gets, at least you’re doing more than the ones who are just staying at home and not aspiring to anything. It’s tough right now, but just take it step by step.” “I’ve always been so passionate about speaking for the ones that don’t really have a voice, or are too shy to speak up,” he says. It’s clear that he’s not giving up anytime soon.
Lessons learned on the road Words by Kate Snow Photos by Nick Westover
ou are sitting on the plane. A soft, pre-recorded voice greets you and guides the flight attendants as they act out their well-rehearsed safety demonstration. You are shown the dotted lines on the aisle that light the way in case of an emergency. By now my younger brother and I know we would have to administer our own oxygen mask before helping anyone else. Just as friends of mine learned at a young age how to cut a fish or how to start their own skidoo, I learned how to fly on airplanes. At least every second year since I can remember, my family flew “across the pond” to my dad’s home country of England. It is safe to say that my younger brother Norman and I were used to jets that were 15 seats wide. Sitting alongside hundreds of people with different ethnicities, upbringings, and beliefs was completely normal to us. This exposure to world travel taught me many life lessons that I still use today.
between Inuvik and Aklavik, Northwest Territories
My nanak Lucy Joe, uncle Archie Inglangasuk, myself and a couple of others excitedly went to my nanak and dadak’s bush camp in 2004. She tricked all of us into thinking there was a bear at the camp because she mimicked the bear growl so well! She was in her glory as she cooked, cleaned and worked on fish. I’ll never forget one night, nanak was up before 6 a.m. and she woke me up to sit with her and enjoy the early August morning. I was so cold since it was raining, so she gave me a cup of coffee, which instantly warmed me up. We spent the next few days thoroughly enjoying being out in the bush. This turned out to be the last trip my nanak would make out to her camp and so I’m glad we had a lot of fun! LIFE LESSON: Take the time to sit with your elders. You might
not realize how each minute you spend with them turns into a cherished memory until many years later.
My extraordinary uncle Wally is the type of person that you can spend a minute with and feel like you’ve known each other your whole lives. He is one of my dad’s best friends and when he decided to move from England to France in the early 2000s, we adapted from visiting him in England to visiting him in mainland Europe. Travelling to meet uncle Wally involved long hours of travel from Inuvik to southern Canada, across the Atlantic Ocean and then by rail from Paris to Coutras, France. Unbeknownst to many travellers, there are some rail stations in France that were built during the World Wars and have not since been renovated and updated. For example, we once went to a railway station that had tracks only accessible by taking stairs that led you underground, underneath the railway tracks and then stairs that led you back up to the track you needed to depart from. LIFE LESSON: Travel light unless you want to feel like a packing
donkey carrying large, heavy bags in outdated French railway stations.
Kate and her mother, Rose Ann Snow (nee Inglangasuk), prepare maktak.
the Great Northern Arts Festival
the Great Northern Arts Festival
In 2008 I travelled to Florida to attend college and get my Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Sciences. This trip was incredibly exciting because I was leaving all I knew in Inuvik and embracing the unknown. Inuvik has an incredibly dry and at times harsh climate, whereas Pensacola is tropical and can be unbearably humid. In no time, I learned that with a tropical climate you must expect tropical storms! LIFE LESSON: Get over your fear of flying because you never know when you will have to fly through a storm and catch sight of a lightning bolt connecting with the wing of your plane.
After spending two extra weeks at college taking a course that usually takes 12 weeks, I rewarded myself with a trip to Chicago to visit friends. They did an excellent job showing their “Canadian friend, Kate Snow the Eskimo” the windy city of Chicago. We went on every ride we could at Six Flags, walked the Navy Pier and ate authentic deep-dish pizza. LIFE LESSON: Make friends that have the same interests as you.
As the years separate you, be sure to reconnect and visit them regardless of where they live.
I travelled with my mom, dad and younger brother to Cairo, Egypt for two weeks at the end of 2010. We explored all of the famous tourist sites, like the Great Pyramid and the Great Sphinx of Giza, and then spent two weeks in Sharm el-Sheik, which lies between the desert of the Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea. My father, being the wise traveller that he is, pulled me aside before the trip to encourage me to respect the North African and Middle Eastern way of life by dressing modestly and being cautious about showing skin. I was so happy that he taught me this lesson, because when I arrived I was fully prepared and felt that the respect I displayed was returned. There is extreme poverty in Egypt, and as a result my gratitude for living in a country like Canada was renewed. The last two weeks of our Egyptian vacation was spent taking a scuba diving course to receive our scuba certificate. At first I did horribly, while my younger brother Norman excelled. Yasser, the scuba diving instructor, tried to subtly hint that I should not take the second part of the course. I gave in, and sadly told my dad that I did not want to do the second half. After some questioning, he sat me down and scolded me for letting someone tell me that I am not capable of doing something. He sat with me as I practiced the specific skill set of holding my breath, which would then train my lungs to hold the maximum amount of oxygen for a long period of time. Not only did I add 30 more seconds to my hold time but gained confidence, which my dad helped me find. After our final test in a dive in Shark Bay, my younger brother and I got our scuba certificates. LIFE LESSON: Understand that there will be tough obstacles to overcome so get past what others think of you. Maybe one day you too can hold a scuba diving certificate in your hands.
Each new place that you explore brings with it a lesson that you will learn and never forget. This includes places like Africa and Europe, but it can also be in your own backyard! Explore the hidden gems that are near you like hiking trails, surrounding communities and local heritage sites. For those who have the “school bug” like me and are looking to gain more education, I encourage you to find a really great program that will satisfy your “itch” and attend it - even if that means you have to leave your town, territory, country or continent. I’ll never regret travelling 7,000 km to Florida for university! Life has so much to teach you as long as you are a willing, open‑minded and patient student.
INUVIALUIT FOLK ROCKER RETURNS HOME ON HEELS OF GRAMMY NOD Words by Cody Punter Images by Amanda Smith, Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison and Light in the Attic Records
illie Thrasher had just walked in the door when he answered the phone. He was back home in Nanaimo, B.C. after playing the Winnipeg Folk Festival. Considering he is in his early 70s, I figured he might be feeling tired from the rigours of the road. But before I could ask if I should call back he was already riffing energetically about how much fun he had performing in front of thousands of people.
“We had people up on their feet in no time, and there was a standing ovation,” he says, his voice brimming with enthusiasm. “It was outrageous.” Thrasher’s lust for the life of troubadour should come as no surprise. The Aklavik-born artist has been the definition of a rambling man, ever since he left home at 16 to work as a firefighter in Whitehorse. Speaking over the phone from Nanaimo, he says his fate was sealed after a brief stint in Yellowknife where he was told he was going to be trained to work in the mines. “They were trying to make me be a heavy equipment operator, but I was just too into music,” he says, adding that he ended up crashing the truck during his final test. “I’m glad I failed. I’ve never driven since then.” Considering he has no driver’s license to this day, Thrasher has spent a lot of time on the road. He spent his 20s and 30s travelling across Canada and the USA on a Greyhound bus, living pay cheque to pay cheque by playing dive bars, festivals and pow-wows. He reckons he’s been back and forth across Canada about 14 times. By the end of the 1970s, he garnered enough notoriety that in 1980 the CBC invited him to cut a record at their studio in Montreal. The
haunting folk-rock resulted in his debut album, Spirit Child. When it was released, the 11-song LP drew rave reviews and garnered a huge cult following in the North, especially around the Beaufort Delta where he was raised. But after a few years, it faded into obscurity along with Thrasher’s career. “At the time, it was hard to get exposure,” he says. “I didn’t have the big financial support that the other big guys had.” The disappointment didn’t stop him from doing what he loved, and he continued to ply his craft anywhere that would have him, often drowning his sorrows in alcohol. It wasn’t until decades later, years after he had found love and sobered up, that he would get rediscovered by Kevin Howes, a DJ, producer and record collector who was travelling across the country digging for unique vinyl that had been forgotten by time. His goal was to put together a compilation of some of the best forgotten Indigenous performers across the USA and America. When Howes first got in touch with Thrasher asking him to be on the compilation, he thought it was a hoax. “When he told me he got a whole bunch of native performers together I didn’t believe him,” he says. “Then a few days later I went online, and I saw our faces on the Internet, and there we were.” The album ended up getting nominated for Best Historical Album at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards in early 2016. Although it didn’t win, Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966‑1998 reignited interest in Thrasher and his long-forgotten colleagues. The rise in popularity led to a repress of the album which got him started in the first place. “It was like bang a new fire - a new sunlight - this music came back stronger than ever,” Willie says. Spirit Child, which was recorded at CBC headquarters in Montreal, was the culmination of years spent tapping into the Inuvialuit culture which residential schools had tried to take from him. Thrasher was just five years old when he was picked up by the RCMP and whisked away to residential school in 1953. Like many children from his generation, Thrasher had a hard time adjusting to life under the authoritarian religious schools. He would eventually find solace in music, which he would listen to on an old radio he kept in his room. Thrasher started to teach himself music, inspired by the popular bands of the day, like the Beatles. He was particularly fixated by the drumming of Ringo Starr, which led him to take his place behind the kit.
"One day I started feeling homesick about my brothers and the wild. And Eskimo named Willie didn't work so I changed it to Eskimo named Johnny," he jokes over the phone. "At the time I missed home so much and it just came to me."
It wasn’t until he moved to Whitehorse at the age of 16 to work as a firefighter that he would find his true passion. At the time he met a group of young men who shared his love of rock and roll, and who would go on to become Thrasher’s first bandmates as The Cordells. One night an elderly white man, whose name Thrasher still doesn’t know to this day, changed the course of his life forever. “This guy talked to us as though he was an elder. He started talking about how we lived and how we sing and drum and dance. And he said, ‘Why don’t you write songs about your culture and your ways instead of doing CCR and Steppenwolf and all that?’ That was the biggest turning
Willie Thrasher's partner Linda Saddleback.
Willie Thrasher performing at the Igloo Church in Inuvik earlier this year.
point of my life,” he says. “I remember that night. I couldn’t sleep. I was wondering who the hell I was and where I came from then I started realizing that the residential schools had tried to wipe out the Inuvialuit Indian.” From that day on Thrasher became determined to use music to tap into the identity that the priests and sisters had tried to rob from him. Unfortunately, when he asked his bandmates to help teach him guitar they protested, arguing that he would steal all the girls away from them. So he went solo and taught himself to play. “Over the years I became a pretty damn good guitar player.” One of the first songs Thrasher ever wrote was “Eskimo Named Johnny,” which starts off with the words, “He didn’t like the highways, he didn’t like the cars.” “One day I started feeling homesick about my brothers and the wild. And Eskimo named Willie didn’t work, so I changed it to Eskimo Named Johnny,” he jokes over the phone. “At the time I missed home so much, and it just came to me.” After so many years on the road Thrasher was granted somewhat of a hero’s homecoming when he was invited to perform at Inuvik’s famous Igloo Church earlier this year. It was one of the few times that the Aklavik native visited the Beaufort Delta since moving away as a wildeyed boy. “It was an honour to come back there,” he says. “Instead of the priest preaching, I was preaching.”
"My dad and I didn't talk about our age, we just kept on rocking."
Although he is still the same rambling man he was all those years ago, his resurgence in popularity means he has been able to trade in his seat on the crowded Greyhound for a plane. In the last few years, he has had the opportunity to play countless music festivals and sold out arenas. Even though the renewed interest in his music means that he can travel more comfortably, Thrasher is just excited to be able to spread his passion for music to new and exciting places. He has also started writing his first new music in decades. “It’s got a good punching beat. It talks about the world and peace,” he says. “I’ve played it right across Canada, and people say this one is going to be the one.” Thrasher may be in his 70s, but you can hear the youthful sense of urgency in his voice when he talks about performing his songs in front of a crowd. He says he and his partner Linda Saddleback, who now lends back-up vocals to all his classic songs, have never been pushed so much in their lives. After years of slumming it, Thrasher relishes the challenge, confident that the best is yet to come. Indeed as soon I make any mention of his age during our interview, he coolly defers to the wisdom of his father, a fisherman who was most comfortable when he was on a boat. “My dad and I didn’t talk about our age. We just kept on rocking.”
Words by Elaine Anselmi Photos by Angela Gzowski
For the love of family, native food and the ocean breeze
hen Elsie Nuttall was born in October 1947, just east of Tuktoyaktuk in Cape Dalhousie, the nomadic lifestyle was the norm. That year her family moved in closer to the coastal community – though still living primarily off the land – and despite a few years away for schooling and work, that’s where she knew she would remain. “My dad used to go out on the trapline for three weeks in the winter months and come home with food and fur. We would live on what we got off the land, off the water and out of the air,” says Elsie from her home in Tuktoyaktuk as she sews the back panels on a pair of traditional slippers. “It was tough some days because we had completely nothing.”
Elsie was adopted the day she was born by her grandparents, who also adopted her younger brother. They had four older sisters who have all since passed away. “We had just a makeshift house – all wood, woodchip from the beach – and then a barrel cut in half for a woodstove year-round. It was a one-big-room house that everybody occupied,” she says. “And then in the summer we put a tent out because it was too hot, so we put a tent outside where it’s cooler and we did a lot of cooking outside because it gets hot.” The days were busy, Elsie says. Even after finishing school, there were always jobs to be done. Hers was to take the dog team out to gather wood for heating. “I’d travel all the way around the community. There was wood all the way along the beach, everywhere you turn,” she says. “Lots of logs floating up the river.”
“Growing up, the Tuk life, I always appreciated. Life is great when your parents brought you up the right way.”
Nowadays, she says, not everybody in town uses woodstoves for heat. “The family had four dogs at the time, they were huge and I enjoyed doing that after school. I was an outdoor person, doing a lot of work outside,” she says. “Whatever my parents were doing, we all joined in to help. We were always busy, but time goes fast.” Elsie only started going to school when she was nine years old, attending the day school in Tuktoyaktuk that offered Grade 1 to 6. She says it took her two years to learn English, and that she can barely remember those early years in school - just that the community was very different back then. “I enjoyed it. Our community at the time was not that many people, but each year that would go by, we’d get more people,” she says. Once she started school, Elsie’s parents made her education a priority. “My parents didn’t finish Grade 2. The whole family didn’t,” says Elsie. “They said I had to go to school to help my people any which way, so I wouldn’t be stuck for a job when I grew up. So, I did all that.”
This meant that after Grade 6 she moved to Inuvik for Grade 7 and 8, and then Yellowknife to complete high school. She then went to Edmonton for a year to become a certified nursing aid and has worked at various jobs both in healthcare and administration since – never turning away an opportunity to gain more skills and qualifications. “I enjoyed going to school. I enjoyed taking extra courses,” she says. “I obtained nine certificates in my lifetime. I like to read. I like to know how to do things, all kinds of office work I was doing. I enjoyed that.” When Elsie turned 62, she says she retired to stay home and read. “Now I’m just staying at home, sewing, reading, retiring and living off the land,” she says. With her family and culture’s ties to the land being such a big part of growing up, Elsie says it’s the main reason she couldn’t stay away from her home community. “Growing up, the Tuk life, I always appreciated,” she says. “Life is great when your parents brought you up the right way.” Everything she learned – how to prepare all of the goods from the water, land and air – Elsie says she learned from her
“It’s a good life, you’ve just got to learn how to live it right. I don’t have any complaints.”
parents. And they’re traditions the 69 year old continues today. “It keeps a person busy,” she says. “Not only that, we’re so lucky to have all of that food. We’re a part of Canada and the world where nobody else has that much food – you just have to go get it.” Everything you get off the land, Elsie says, you have to learn to prepare, especially to keep for the winter or turn into clothing. “We fish in the summer and put some away for the winter and then springtime we have all kinds of geese and birds coming and we load up on that and save parts for parkas and ski pants,” she says. “Everything is used. I don’t waste anything. I only get so much fish, so much geese, so much caribou, so much maktak so that you can use everything.” Since she was 24 years old, Elsie has been sewing and beading, making clothing for her family, though she’ll sell the occasional piece in order to make some money for more material. “You’ve got to be dressed warm and it costs too much to buy your own, so I’ve always made my own,” she says. “I pick it up and then I make my own patterns. I pretty well do everything myself. When my mother passed away she had quite a few patterns.
She made her own patterns, so I just carried on and figured it out and carried on for myself.” Elsie’s first attempt at sewing was a beaded frock when she was in her teens, but she didn’t carry on with the craft much while she was moving around for school and work. “I was busy travelling and I never got married until later,” she says. “I only have two kids, a son and daughter. Then I had to learn to sew and cook and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.” Although a stay with family drew her down to Yellowknife for two years, Elsie – now happy to read, sew, cook and work on playing her new guitar – says she always comes back to the North. “I got lonely for my native food and the ocean breeze, so I had to come back,” she says. “It’s a good life, you’ve just got to learn how to live it right. I don’t have any complaints.”
Photo courtesy of Hervé Bodeur Collection
Father Robert LeMeur stands with parishioners in front of Our Lady of Grace Church in Tuktoyaktuk.
Words by Charles Arnold Translation by Lillian Elias
Father Robert LeMeur travelled from France to the Northwest Territories in 1946, and never looked back. “What patience the people showed! What kindness they showed in accepting me and showing me all aspects of their life, and the ways and customs of the country!”
Photo courtesy of HervĂŠ Bodeur Collection Father Robert LeMeur in Tuktoyaktuk in the 1950s.
Photo courtesy of Hervé Bodeur Collection
Father Robert LeMeur travelling by dog team to check fishnets near Paulatuk in the late 1940s.
obert LeMeur was born on November 18, 1920 at Saint Jean du Doigt in northwestern France. In his later years he recalled that it was his ambition from an early age to become a missionary. He was ordained as a priest in the Roman Catholic religious order Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) in 1943, but as France was under German occupation at that time it wasn’t until 1946 that he had an opportunity to be assigned to a foreign mission. He was first invited by the church to go to Africa. He accepted, but in his reply he stated that his preference was to go to northern Canada. He wanted to go to the ‘Grand North’ that he had heard about from Bishop Pierre Fallaize, the bishop who had ordained him and who had served in the church’s Mackenzie Region in the northwestern part of Canada from 1931 until the outbreak of the Second World War. The Church agreed to his request, and in 1946, at age 26, Father LeMeur was sent to the Mackenzie Region. During his time in the North he served at the Roman Catholic Church missions in Paulatuk (1946-1950), Ulukhaktok (1950-1951), Tuktoyaktuk (1951-1953), Stanton (1953-1955) and again at Tuktoyaktuk (1955-1985, except for two years, 1974-1976, when he worked at Brandon College in Fort Smith). Father LeMeur had a storied career in the Arctic. From his parishioners he learned to speak Inuvialuktun and how to live off the land. “What patience the people showed! What kindness they showed in accepting me and showing me all aspects of their life, and the ways and customs of the country!” he said. When local political systems were being developed in the North he was active in establishing
the Settlement Council for Tuktoyaktuk, and for two years sat as a councillor. He met the Queen, Pope Paul VI and heads of state from countries around the world. He gave lectures across the North and at universities in Canada and France. In 1982 he was awarded the Order of Canada. His investiture document states that he had “devoted himself unstintingly to the Inuit population as educator, advisor and friend. Radio Station CFCT of Tuktoyaktuk, which he founded and for which he is the main on-air personality, is at the heart of his efforts to preserve and promote this Aboriginal culture.” CFCT, Tuktoyaktuk’s community radio station, was aired throughout the 1970s, providing local news, weather, children’s programs, programs for adults and a request show. In addition, there were four hours a day with Father LeMeur as host. His focus was on Inuvialuit history and culture, and for his show he recorded oral histories, drum songs and interviews with Inuvialuit and replayed them with commentary in Inuvialuktun and with English translations. “I became an interview hound. Many times I spent a morning or afternoon with a tape recorder on my back, interviewing people – Inuvialuit for my program on local history and legends, and visitors as well,” he said. In an interview with Radio Canada in 1972 he commented on his extensive notes, letters, taped recordings and historical and ethnological research materials from his 25 years in the North, saying “there’s a whole life in there.” After his death in 1985 his treasured archive was gathered by the church, and is currently at the Provincial Archives of Alberta.
Photo courtesy of Hervé Bodeur Collection
obert Le Meur aniȓuaq Anguniarvingmi 18,1920mi Sait Jean du Doigt kanangningani France.Inaruqami ukpirniaqtuanun ilaliutihukhuni nutaunirminin. Minihitanguqtuq Kaałinun ukpirniaqtuanun ukuat ataniriagutivlugit Mary Immaculate (OMI) 1943mi, taimani France angalatchuumatigit German isagutingitchuq aulaararuni 1946mi kihian tavȓanga ihagutivaaluktuq. Qatquqaaraat angaatjuviata hivulirivlugu Africa. Angirait, aglaan Nunakput ihumagikanga isgutqhaaqami uklaguklugu Kanganangani kanatam - Angiȓuaq nuna tuhaamavlugu Bishop Pierre Fallaize, tuhaamavlugu Bishopmin qinrautikanga minihitangngurman ukpirnianimik quliarutikangit angaajuvingni Nunaptingni Uumarmi ilangani Kanatam 1931min tugliani anguyakhaqtilaanganun. Angaatjuviiit angiraat ihumagikangannik, 1946mi ahiin, 26tun ukiunikhuni, Akuqtuȓualuk LeMeur aulaqtitkaat Nunaptingnun Ualinirmun. Tavȓangaaniin Nunaptingniiȓutimini Kaałit alagaqȓuutinginik alaraqȓuriahimaȓuq Paulatuumi (1946min-1950mun aglaan) Ulukhaqtuumi (1950min 1951mun aglaan)Tuttuȓaqtuumi 1951 min 1953mun aglaan Stantonmi (1953min 1955mun) Tutturaqtuumi huli (1955min 1985mun) malrik ukiuk avatqulugik, 1974min 1976mun aglaan) havakhuni Brandon Collegemi Fort Smithmi) qutchituami iliharvingmi. Akuqtuȓualik LeMeur tigumi huugaa piqpakutini Tariuptingnik. Ilihaarnini Inuvialuktun inuuniarnini nunamin piȓanik. ‘’Utaqhiguȓuat inuit ilitchurivlugi! Piqpakutimingniglu huginilugu tamaaniȓutigaa ilitchuripkaqłunga inuuniarnimingnik tamaani nunamingni.” Uqalaktuaq. Angalatchiȓit qaukłiit qaimata aqapiqatauȓuanga hivuniuqtuani Tuttuȓaqtu-
umi Nunaptingni ikayuqtauȓuaq qanuqtitautnginnik inimi, malrungni uikiungni. Parlahimagaa Queen qaiman taimani, Pope Paul VI ataniqpait ikaaqhaaqługu nunaaqiqpak. Ilihimaȓaminik ilitchuripkararigait Nunaptingni qutchiktuat ilihaarvingnilu kanatatami Francemilu ilitchuriȓaminik. !982tuumi nalunaingutamik aitchukangat Kanatami. Quliaqami tutqutani ‘’ iningminun qaipiaqhuni havaktuaq Inuit inugiaktuat ihumagivlugi ilihautivlugi ilihimakaminik,qanuq havangniaqtilaakȓangat hivuniurutivlugit ilanarivlugilu, Naalatuarnat CFCT Tutturaqtuumi ihagutipkakangaa, tavȓa ahiin uqaqtinguqhuni naalautitigun, una ihumagivlugu inuuniaruhiat Inuit inuuniaqtuat tamaani” CFCT, Tuttuȓaqtuumi inauȓanganni naalaktuarvik, tuhaalahigaat 1970tini isgutiȓut ilitchuripkailahivluting huȓarautinginik Inuit, hila, nutaqhatlu ilihaakȓiqługi, utuqhanaat, tuyurauȓalahivlugi uqarauȓalahivlugilu. Ukualu hihamani ikaarnini Akuqtuȓualuk LeMeur nalaktuaqtitchihuuȓuq. Inuvialuit ihumagivlugi aipaani inuuniarningi inuuniarutingilu,uaqaqamini tutquiȓaqtuq uqaqtuanik aipaarnihanik uqaqtuanik ,ariȓuanik atuqtuanik quliaqtuanik Inuvialuit inuuniarutimingnik ingilaaraan apiqȓuraqługi taniktun iniuvialuktunlu mumiktilaavlugi kangiqhinaqhivlugi.’’ Apiqȓurainagutiȓunga inuuniarningitigun. Inugiaktuani uvlaami unukȓaaqtuanmi tape recordernu ililaavlugi amaaqłunga tape recordernik, apiqȓuraikama Inuvialungnik – Inuvialuit inuuniarningitigun aipaani inuuniarningit, pulaaqtitlu uaqaqtitaruugait naalautitigun’’ uqalaktuaq. Apiqȓurarmanni naalautiliqiȓit Kanatami 1972mi ihumagikani uqautigikkangi aipaapak aglauȓaruunivluni ilitchuriȓaminik,maqpiraanun, tape recordernunlu
Photo courtesy of Bern Will Brown/NWT Archives
Father LeMeur’s fellow missionary and friend Father Max Ruyant stands in front of the mission schooner Our Lady of Lourdes in Tuktoyaktuk. Father LeMeur’s grave is inside the picket fence behind Father Ruyant.
A few years before he passed away, Father LeMeur, looking back on his life among the Inuvialuit, wrote, “I don’t have enough words to express my feelings of gratitude and joy to all of you who I’ve tried to serve to the best of my abilities and within my limitations, and for a place where I’ve encountered so much friendship among all of you, young and old. The only hope I have and dare express is that I can continue devoting myself to you, among you, for the rest of my life, and that my final resting place will be in Tuktoyaktuk.” One of his many accomplishments was bringing the
Father Robert LeMeur receiving the Order of Canada from Governor General Ed Shreyer in 1982.
retired mission ship, Our Lady of Lourdes, onto a piece of land next to the church in Tuktoyaktuk as “a souvenir of the past, a memory of the Arctic” for Canada’s 1967 centennial. At the request of the citizens of Tuktoyaktuk, Father LeMeur was buried next to the ship after he passed away. More than 30 years after his death he is still fondly remembered for his commitment and dedication to the North, for the strong leadership role he played in Tuktoyaktuk, for his lifelong experiences and his love of people.
Photo courtesy of Hervé Bodeur Collection Father Robert LeMeur upon first arriving in Tuktoyaktuk in August of 1946.
aipaaak inuuniaruhini ilitchuririniarutini 25ni ukiuni Nunaptingniiȓutini,uqalaktuaq ‘’inuuhiq tuhaagikhi taapkunani tutquqtamni, Tuquaningman 1985mi tutquqtangi tutqurait angaajuviingiha kaałit Takpavani Provincial Archives Albertami. Hivuani tuqugaluaqani qafini ukiuni ,Akuqpalik LeMeur,ihumauȓaaqhuni qanuq inuuniaqatiginingi Inuvialuit, aglaktuaq.’Uqaraluaruma kangilaitkiga qanuq iȓuhira quviahuktunga ikayuqpauȓaqhaptinnga naatchiniaqłunga pitquȓanik, quyanaarifi tukuriktilataqaptinnga ilananikłunga iluqahi nutaat, utuqhanaaniklu.Una ataȓamik piliniangit-
kiga hivuniriniariga piigurniangitkifi, inuuhimni, hulakkuma yaraiqhirvihiga Tuttuȓaqtuuq ‘’Ilangat una pihuktamni piȓara,umaiqpak, Our Lady Of Lourdes inilakaptigu angaajuvium haniraanun Tuttuȓaqtuumun ‘’piiguqhaililakȓaqput aipaarnihaq, ihumagiȓaq Tariuq Nunaptingni “kanatam 1967mi itqagiȓakrangat.Inuit ihumangitigun Tuttuȓaqtuurmiut tuquman Akuqtuȓualik LeMeur iluvikangat haniraanun umiam. #0tun tuqgaluaqtuq itqagihuugaat huli ikayuqpauȓarmating Nunaptingni ikayuutaa piigumangitkaat, Hivuniuqtuani ikayurman qanuqtitautikȓanganni Tuttuȓaqtuumi inuuhia hivihuȓuaqmik ikayuiȓuaq maani Nunaptingni piqpakutaa pigurniangitkaat inungnun.
RICHARD MCLEOD ACHIEVING BUSINESS SUCCESS ON HIS OWN TERMS
WORDS BY NATHALIE HEIBERG-HARRISON PHOTOS BY NICK WESTOVER
ichard Mcleod first tried welding in shop class at Inuvik’s Samuel Hearne Secondary School. He was in Grade 7 and says the trade came naturally to him. “I was able to burn it through the whole time. First try. I liked that I was able to do that,” he says. But it wasn’t until he was a bit older that the idea of welding as a career became a reality. “I was pumping gas when I was in my late teens, and I just happened to start a conversation with a local welder,” he says. “I told him I was taking a pre-apprenticeship course at the college in Inuvik, and he just said, ‘Well, I’ll hire you after you’re finished and the course is over.’ And that was it.”
Richard starting welding shortly after that, and later saved up enough money working in Alberta to buy a truck, a welder, a box of tools and welding cables. Eight years ago, he took the next big step and created his own company, Mcleod’s Shaman Welding. “I was looking for a good Inuvialuit name,” he says.
For the past two years Richard has worked on the InuvikTuktoyaktuk Highway, and last season was the first year he made a profit. Success hasn’t been easy, but he’s worked for every bit of it. “I had to be stubborn and not willing to quit or give up. I don’t like the idea of other people getting the best of me, so I just keep on going,” he says. “I generally go hard at whatever I do.” Richard credits his mother Martina Cardinal, his landlord and local pastor Dave DeKwant and the Western Arctic Business Development Corporation for supporting him, encouraging him and even helping him make ends meet when business has been quiet in the Delta. “Up here it’s been tough, but because of these guys here, I was able to succeed,” he says. “Richard is a local success story, even a regional success story,” says Arthur Barrows, general manager at the business development corporation. “Most people would give up, but he pushed through.” This season will likely be Richard’s last on the InuvikTuktoyaktuk Highway, and he says he’s considering putting away his welding equipment for good after that. “I like building stuff, but this will probably be my last year welding,” he says. Instead, Richard is considering heading back to school to complete an engineering degree. Whatever he decides, there’s no doubt that he’ll work hard until he achieves success.
I had to be stubborn and not willing to quit or give up. I don’t like the idea of other people getting the best of me, so I just keep on going. I generally go hard at whatever I do.” - Richard Mcleod
Words by Catherine Navaluk Cockney
PHOTO COURTESY OF NWT ARCHIVES
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ICRC, SHEPHERD PHOTO COLLECTION
CATHERINE COCKNEYâ€™S REFLECTIONS ON THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF I, NULIGAK
y name is Navaluk, although Catherine Cockney is the English name given to me. I was born in a family camp at Tununik, 100 km down river from Inuvik. I am the seventh of nine children.
In the early 1970s when my family moved to Inuvik from Tuktoyaktuk, I was just a child and remember going to the bookstore often. During one of my visits, I noticed a book in the used books section. The title was I, Nuligak! The paperback edition featured a hunter pulling up a seal from a seal hole against a blue background.
PHOTO COURTESY OF NWT ARCHIVES
PHOTO COURTESY OF NWT ARCHIVES
I remember reading the summary on the back of the book and it intrigued me. I read the first few pages of the introduction and to my surprise and amazement, Nuligak’s English name was Bob Cockney. I thought to myself, “That’s my last name!” I bought the book and ran home to see my mother, Winnie Cockney, who was sewing, as she always did. I pulled out the book and asked her, what is this? She looked at the book and smiled and said, “That is the book that your grandfather wrote.” I looked at her in disbelief.
I read the book, but never thought much of it after that. My older brother borrowed I, Nuligak and I never did get it back. I didnâ€™t realize the significance of the book until I was in university. I was studying anthropology, and as I did my studies, I realized just how much the Arctic anthropologists relied on my grandfatherâ€™s book in their research and writings. In 2006 my family helped produce a documentary based on I, Nuligak. My mother Winnie was our mentor and advisor, and my brother Turpin did an excellent job acting as our grandfather Nuligak. The documentary received a lot of good reviews, and many Inuvialuit commented that it portrayed our Inuvialuit culture and history very well. I achieved a significant milestone when I conducted some research at the Provincial Archives of Alberta (PAA). One of the collections in the PAA are the Roman Catholic records and archives. In 2004, while searching through the vast materials in this collection, I found a great deal of information on my grandfather - mainly records on the
development of the book. The most astonishing record I found was an original typewritten copy of I, Nuligak! It was a profound moment for me. The tide of emotion that I experienced at that moment is hard to explain. Another milestone was finding the final handwritten notes that Nuligak wrote in Inuvialuktun. He talked about losing his wife Margaret to illness, his travel to Edmonton for tuberculosis treatment, the loneliness he experienced there and his resignation to his ultimate death. Reading these entries had a profound impact on me. Now, having copies of I, Nuligak where I work at the Inuvialuit Cultural Resource Centre in Inuvik brings me great joy and confidence. My grandfatherâ€™s words provide proof of our strong, rich and dynamic Inuvialuit culture. It has shaped the person I have become and my work through most of my life. I transformed from a person that was not sure of why we were called native people growing up, to one who shares and lives her proud Inuvialuit culture. We are still here!
EAR PULL Words by Northern Games Society Photos by Nick Westover
Ear pull is an Inuit game of pain resistance. It is meant to mimic the feeling of frostbite to your exposed extremities such as your ears, forehead, cheeks and hands. Checking fishnets, skinning caribou, running with your dog teams and playing outside for long periods of time were common experiences in the wintertime. Our Inuvialuit ancestors had to build their own resistance to the demands of living in the Arctic, and the pain resistance games enabled them to better tolerate the ice, wind and snow conditions.
NORTHERN GAME SERIES PART 7
Underwood Day and James Day Jr. demonstrate the ear pull.
DO TRY THIS
The participants position themselves on their stomachs, facing each other, while resting their forearms in front of their bodies.
The participants wrap a loop of string around their ears, making sure they are in the same position as their partner with the string parallel to the ground.
The participants lift themselves up on their hands and toes and face each other.
Northern Games &
AT HOME 4
The participantsâ€™ hands remain in the same position, and the string remains parallel to the ground. They keep their bodies straight like a plank.
Once lifted off the floor, the participants move back on their hands and toes and can widen their stance for stability.
Participants continue to pull on the string with the goal of pulling the string off their partnerâ€™s ears, while resisting the pain in their own ears. The participant who finishes with the string on their ear is the winner.
WHO IS THIS?
There’s nothing more important to Inuvialuit than family and their relationships with the people around them. In Tusaayaksat’s latest edition of language games, see how many people you can identify in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region’s three dialects: Kangiryuarmiutun, Siglitun and Uummarmiutun.
Illustrations by Sheree Mcleod
1. Kina una?
2. Una angun.
3. Una arnaq.
4. Una inuuhuktuq.
5. Una arnaruhiq.
6. Una mirrayaalukaq.
WHO IS THIS?
Inuvialuktun language games #8
1. Kina una?
2. Una angun.
3. Una arnaq.
4. Una angugaaraaluk.
5. Una arnaaraaluk.
6. Una nutaraaraaluk.
WHO IS THIS?
Inuvialuktun language games #8
^ 4.Una angugauraq.
5. Una arnaiyaaq.
^ 6. Una nutarauraq.
3. Una arnaq.
2. Una angun.
1. Kina una?
1. Who is this? 4. This is a little boy.
2. This is a man. 5. This is a little girl.
3. This is a woman. 6. This is a baby.
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