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Reaching out to others
Coral men's group makes first visit to another community

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Tuesday, March 2, 2010

ARVIAT - The first visit to another community by a Coral Harbour men's healing group is being hailed as a rousing success.

NNSL photo/graphic

Arviat's Ludovic Onerk is congratulated by Bobby Saviakjuk, Jackie Nakoolak and Noel Kaludjak of Coral Harbour, from left, for participating in a men's healing workshop in Arviat this past month. - photo courtesy of the Mikilaaq Centre

A total of eight members of Angutiit Makigiangninga (Men Rising Up) travelled to Arviat to conduct a four-day healing workshop with men in that community.

The workshop was also attended by one man from Repulse Bay and six from Whale Cove.

Angutiit Makigiangninga spokesperson and event co-ordinator Noel Kaludjak said the experience was, in a word, overwhelming.

He said the men came together at 8:30 a.m., and met from 9 a.m. until 4 or 4:30 p.m. each day of the session.

"Basically, what we were there for, was to give them a course on how to operate a men's group properly," said Kaludjak.

"We're dealing with real human beings here, so a men's group has to operate perfectly.

"You just can't make any mistakes, so it takes time to learn how to do this properly.

"Each man had the chance to say something during an introduction circle and, after that, anyone could talk openly in front of the group in Arviat if they felt they needed to say something."

Kaludjak said the Arviat visit was advertised well in advance on local radio, so the participants had a good idea of what was going on when the Coral group arrived. He said they knew it was going to be a healing process, and every man would have the opportunity to talk about his deepest, most innermost feelings if he felt the need.

"It was a very, very emotional gathering, at times.

"Men hold a lot of pain from the past inside themselves and, all too often, it comes out in the form of booze, drugs, gambling or sexual abuse.

"It's a big problem and a lot of men in Arviat got some help from our visit.

"It's only the first step, but I'm still getting thank you letters from a number of ladies in Arviat." Kaludjak said the Coral delegates appointed a small group of four Arviat men to try and keep the movement going in that community.

He said the Coral group has full confidence in their ability to oversee a successful men's group in Arviat. "They will also get solid support from a number of helpers who were at the Arviat meetings.

"So, hopefully, we'll see these men begin to help themselves, and others in the community who may need it, from now on.

"We were also given a chance to speak at evening church services during our time in Arviat, so the wives and children got an opportunity to understand what's happening and feel the support from our group.

"We were welcomed with open hearts at the Glad Tidings, Catholic and Anglican churches, which were all packed for our visit, and that really helped boost our cause, as well."

Kaludjak said the Coral men also learned a lot from their visit to Arviat.

He said they're all very confident now, and looking forward to visiting other communities in the future to hold the same type of meetings.

"We don't know what community we're going to next, so we'll just have to wait and see.

"We've even been e-mailed by people in Northern Quebec, who told us they're doing the exact same type of program there, with almost the exact same name.

"Hopefully, we'll continue to receive support in the future, especially from our Inuit organizations and elected politicians, to continue our work."

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