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Bringing culture to life

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Baker Lake (Nov 30/05) - A Community Memories exhibit by the Inuit Heritage Centre (Itsarnittakarvik) in Baker Lake will be part of Canadian Heritage's Virtual Museum of Canada display.

Tuhaalruuqtut, Ancestral Sounds is a virtual exhibit which showcases a way of life through songs, legends and photos of inland Inuit.

The display is expected to launch this coming month.

Ancestral Sounds is the latest project produced by the centre, which opened in Baker Lake in June of 1998.

Arts co-ordinator Tania Marsh says the centre was established at the request of elders to preserve and promote the unique inland culture of the different groups of Inuit who reside in Baker.

She says the elders wanted to pass on their knowledge to the younger generation in a way they could understand through exhibits and hands-on displays.

"The Inuit Heritage Centre is more than a museum," says Marsh.

"It's a living centre that plays an educational role both within and outside the community."

The centre made improvements to its exhibits and added new equipment recently through Northern Affairs Canada's Cultural Education Centres program.

Three audio recorders were replaced by digital recorders to sample songs, legends and stories of inland Inuit.

A damaged heritage display at the Baker airport was also replaced with new historic-and-contemporary photographs.

"The photos represent elders, community, culture and heritage, landscape and wildlife.

"The display is protected by framed Plexiglass which, hopefully, will keep future damage minimal."

The centre also now houses a donated framed kayak; one of two built by Nunavut curriculum studies students at Jonah Amitnaaq secondary school, with help from Chad Clifford.

The other hangs in the foyer of the new school.

Inuit Heritage Centre manager Winnie Owingayak and Qilautitmiut Elders Committee chair Norman Attungala accepted the donation from the students.

"Winnie and Norman presented a certificate of appreciation to Clifford and the students during the ceremony, and we also heard from DEA chair Simeon Mikkungwak and vice-principal Bill Cooper.

"The Inuit Broadcasting Corporation filmed the ceremony for a spot on APTN, which had us pretty excited."