Celebrating the sea
Community hosts Oceans Day 2000 festivities

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (Jun 19/00) - Rankin Inlet was awash with activity earlier this month as the community celebrated Oceans Day 2000 on June 8.

A number of activities were held between June 6 and 10, sponsored by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Churchill (Manitoba) Northern Studies Centre.

The events during the five-day period involved extensive youth and community participation and featured something of interest for everyone.

Winnipeg's Michele Laslik helped co-ordinate the events.

She said planning started about three weeks prior to the Rankin gathering and intensified as Oceans Day 2000 neared.

"We flew in to Rankin about a week before the events and started talking to people in the community," said Laslik.

"Many of the ideas for the events came from our four person co-ordinating staff, and I picked up a lot of ideas while I was doing some marine awareness teaching in Churchill last year."

The Canadian Coast Guard and Office of Boating Safety also had representatives in Rankin providing hands-on educational activities for the kids and different activities were aimed at showing how climate change affects Hudson Bay.

Laslik said event co-ordinators also looked at the various community interests in Rankin and designed a number of activities to meet those interests.

"That's where the community feast and square dance came in," said Laslik.

"Helen Fast had the idea of putting the poster contest together and we hung the posters along the walls of the arena after announcing the winners so people in the community could enjoy the efforts of the kids."

Laslik said Oceans Day 2000 organizers were impressed with the level of participation by local youth during the event and the willingness of the community to help out.

"Participation in the different interactive events is a great way to get the Oceans Day 2000 awareness message across.

"The community has been wonderful in helping me out, telling me the right people to talk to, that sort of thing.

"We had a drum dance and storytelling, and also went for an ice walk.

"It was good for us coming up from the south to get an idea of Inuit culture and get out on the land for a bit and see the territory."