Sewing to stay warm and healthy

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HALUUQAFFI IKALUKTUUTIMIT. QAUMALIQTUK NUNAKPUT. HIQINIQ PINIKHIJUQ. PIQHIQMIJUQ. INUIN HUMANGNITTUT. HANAVAKTUTLU MIQHUJAQTUTLU ILIHAIJIT QUANAQHIVAKTUT TAPKUNNUNGNA UUKTUGUMAJUT. ALIANAK ILLA ILIHAKTUT. UPAINAGIALIK HANAUJAQTUT. KUNGNIAKVIK INIKMAN TUUKMIAT AUDLAMIJUT. QUANA QABLUNAATLU INUINLU PULAAKHIMAVAKTUT IKALUKTUUTIAMUT. IKAJUQTUT QUANAQPIAQ. UQAKHAINAMA. INUIN QALAKPAKTUT NAAMAKHILUHI. NUTAKKATLU ILLA.

Welcome to the beautiful white snow covered land of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. The sun has returned and gets very bright early mornings and sets mid afternoon. We have had couple of blizzards already and whenever there are snow storms most of the community shuts down but the stores stay open. All the offices, bank, schools, airport, daycare, pre-school all shut down until it is calmed down, usually the next morning or afternoon.

Naomi Hikoalok of Cambridge Bay making a pair of sealskin kamiks for her son Keith Allen. The sewing program was put on by Aaliak Consulting partnered with Department of Healthy Living, Municipality of Cambridge Bay Hamlet Council as part of a program to talk about quitting tobacco and nicotine addiction.
Navalik Tologanak/NNSL photo

Usually walking in the snow storm is very warmer winds and is very refreshing to walk in and stay nearby your homes. After a snow storm we have lots of fresh snow which is hard snow that has built up snowpiles and snowdrifts. The nice fresh hard snow is ideal and just right to make iglu. The snow blocks are nice and firm to cut blocks from snow using a snow knife.

Kids love going sliding and playing in snow and building snow houses or a fort, not sure what they call them.

Cambridge Bay is full of talent. So far in February 2020 there has been three different sewing classes, workshops and also tool making. Sewing is a way of also earning extra income to help support families and loved ones to buy food, which is very expensive up in Nunavut.

We are so fortunate today to be able to teach and learn from our elders and that the traditions that are carried on such as the Kihimajuq Kammak making at the Heritage Centre, mitt and kamik making at Elders Palace.

Now tool making workshops also being held at the Elder Palace, a couple months sewing class called Ilisiqnig put on by the Nunavut Literacy Council being held upstairs at the Kitikmeot Corporation building. A lot of participants taking part and learning to sew and make tools is such a good way of learning Inuit craftsmanship.

Now we can see all the lovely coats made last year, kihimajuq kammak made by ladies in previous courses and now the latest group will get to see what they made in success with the love and patience and guidance of our talented instructors. You can also see many sealskin mitts made for children and families made by tose who participated in the sealskin mitt making program along with making sealskin kamiks.

It is so rewarding to see people wearing homemade clothing made by their mothers, grandmothers. It was like this in the old days where everyone wore parkas, mitts and kamiks, instead of always wearing store bought clothes and boots. Many are worn for special occasions or to feel comfortable at work wearing kamiks, slippers. It is the latest fashion to wear Inuit made clothes and kamiks now days. It makes you know where you come from and those who sew and produce such beautifully designed products.

It is all part of healing and carrying on the tradition. Congratulations to all who have participated in taking back your heritage, keep up the good ways of learning and to keep up what our ancestors started before we were ever born. Inuit are so strong and proud. I am and I always will. I want to also say all during sewing with our Elders Inuinnaqtut is spoken and taught by our Elder Instructors and so peaceful and rewarding.

Keep warm, we have a few polar bear hunters out at Gateshead hunting so we pray they are all safe and warm and successful. And for all those who got the flu, please rest and get well. There has been lots of both young and old who got the flu bug. Get well and stay home till you are better.