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Nothing better than caribou sinew

Kathleen Lippa
Northern News Services

Sanikiluaq (Feb 21/05) - Sewing is becoming one of Sarah Novalinga's favourite pastimes. Novalinga, a Grade 12 student in Sanikiluaq, always knew how important traditional skills were to the lives of her people.

Now, she is learning one of the basics at school: how to make thread from caribou sinew.

On Feb. 11 Novalinga sat on the floor of a classroom at Nuiyak school with sewing teacher Hannah Kavik and a camera capturing the lesson.

The caribou sinew had been sitting in the freezer for a few days and was ready to stretch out and start pulling into strong thread, much better than any thread you can buy at the store, Novalinga said.

"It was nice to do," she said.

Although her mom knows traditional sewing, she didn't.

"I was totally learning," she said.

Novalinga said she worries that traditional skills like making thread are being lost.

That is why the school offers the traditional courses and makes videos of the students performing demonstrations.

Novalinga admitted she was nervous being video taped making thread, but she knows the instructional value of the lesson. The video will be aired on the local television and may be distributed to other schools in Nunavut for future lessons.

She has been so inspired by her traditional courses at school offered every day that she is now very happy to report she is making her own amutiq.