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Oqswalik Ottokie, 81, fears nothing

Jillian Dickens
Northern News Services

Cape Dorset (Dec 05/05) - She was born on Nov. 24, 81 years ago. But that didn't stop Oqswalik Ottokie of Cape Dorset from hoola-hooping for the first time only a few weeks ago.

With her grandson Jeff Ottokie translating, Oqswalik said she practised hoola-hooping in her head before trying it on her hips.

"Whenever she got a chance she would study kids hoola-hooping and then when she tried it herself, it didn't really work...it looked easier than it was," said Jeff.

Oqswalik would take jump-rope over hoola-hooping any day.

"She learned jump rope as a little girl and had a lot of fun with it," said Jeff.

There are five generations of living Ottokies, making Oqswalik a "great, great grandma."

But even so, Oqswalik takes the term young at heart seriously. Although she can no longer walk the perimeter of the island Cape Dorset is on like she used to, she still walks through town as much as possible.

And she loves to laugh and make others laugh, too.

While relaying her funniest memory, she had both herself and her grandson in stitches. This is the story she told, through Jeff's interpretation:

"One time, while my aunt was a baby, she was sleeping in the same bed as my grandma and late-grandpa.

"Before going to sleep, my grandma made a bottle for her. When my aunt started crying, my grandma picked up the bottle and, instead of giving it to the baby, in her half-sleep, she put it into my grandpa's mouth and he started drinking the bottle.

"She just started laughing and forgot about her daughter crying on the bed."

Of her favourite things to do, sewing takes the cake. Whenever she isn't busy, she is sewing. Right now she's making an amouti that's she's been working on for a few days.

Jigging comes a close second. Her claim to fame: winning the $1,500 first prize in the Coral Harbour fishing derby sometime in the 1990s for her impressive lake trout catch.

Her guilty pleasure: bacon and eggs. She'd eat it up every morning if she could.