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Youth guiding youngsters

Gabriel Zarate
Northern News Services
Published Monday, March 23, 2009

SANIKILUAQ - It's not only elders who pass on skills to the younger generation. Youth in Sanikiluaq are doing the same with younger children.

Joshua Sala is head of the Qulliq Youth Committee, which organizes teenagers to work with children as young as six years old.

"It's about doing stuff for kids," Sala said. "Running camping, playing sports."

Sala said his group of roughly 10 teens helps run activities such as hockey and volleyball for smaller kids. He's been involved in the group for two years now.

The youth committee is also pitching in with Sanikiluaq's spring camping program in late April, when elders and hunters take kids out on the land and share Inuit stories and skills.

Sala and his group are helping out with providing the food for the trip: fundraising, sealing, hunting and cooking. Two of his group will be going as well, though it hasn't yet been decided who will go.

"It's for kids who don't go to school or who don't go much," he said.

Sala is a practised hunter in his own right. He shot his first Canada goose at age six and his first seal at age eight or nine.

Sala is also instrumental in Sanikiluaq's budding hip-hop dance crew.

"I teach the moves and do routines," he said.

When asked where he learned his moves Sala laughed, "YouTube and some movies!"

He also volunteers often at the recreation centre and asks for things to do, according to recreation co-ordinator Eli Kavik.

As a result, Kavik is travelling with Sala to Victoria in late March for the seventh annual National Aboriginal Youth, Violence and Changing Times Training Conference.

The conference brings Inuit, Metis and First Nations youth from across Canada together to share elements of their culture and experiences.