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Kugaaruk's eldest couple celebrates anniversary

Kassina Ryder
Northern News Services
Published Friday, Monday, May 24, 2010

KUGAARUK/PELLY BAY - Asking Kugaaruk's eldest couple about the secrets to a successful marriage yields simple answers.

NNSL photo/graphic

Guy and Sophie Kakkianiun celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary on May 4. They are Kugaaruk's eldest couple. - photo courtesy of Theresa Kakkianiun

"Don't drink, don't do drugs and don't cheat," Sophie Kakkianiun said through her interpreter, daughter-in-law Blandina Kakkianiun.

Sophie and her husband Guy have been married for 55 years, ever since Sophie's uncle arranged their marriage in 1955.

Guy travelled by dogteam with his older brother, an elder and a cousin from Repulse Bay, to Kugaaruk when it came time for the marriage. He said the trip took seven days and he enjoyed the journey because he was a young man at the time.

Sophie said she and her mother were living alone in Kugaaruk when Guy arrived that April. They were married on May 4, 1955.

"They were alone so he came here to be with her," Blandina said.

In all that time, they had a son and three daughters, adopted another son and have since become grandparents to many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Guy said the ability to discuss problems helped keep the couple together over the years.

"My father-in-law said when they're alone they talk to each other; they never kept anything from each other," Blandina said. "They tell each other everything when they're alone; they talk everything over."

Speaking to their children and grandchildren about life and good-decision making is also important, Guy said.

Both Guy and Sophie said they have observed many changes since they were a young married couple.

Inuit are living a much more southern way of life, Guy said. Daily life has changed, iglus have been replaced with houses and communities have committees and councils making decisions for community members.

Sophie said she is happy about being married for over half a century.

"She said she's happy to be with him for a long time and they're both elders and have children and great-grandchildren," Blandina said.