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Going once, going twice...

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, June 16, 2010

RANKIN INLET - A small crowd of big bidders came out for a chance to own their very own personal valet for an hour this past week in Rankin Inlet.

NNSL photo/graphic

Auctioneer Pujjuut Kusugak trys to push the bidding higher as mock slave Lori Tagoona has a chuckle at the proceedings while Jordin Tootoo, bottom, waits his turn for sale during a mock slave auction in Rankin Inlet in June of 2010. - Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

The mock slave auction was a fundraiser to help Nunavut Sivuniksavut (NS) graduates attend a NS Alumni Conference in Iqaluit from June 18 to 21.

The good sports who volunteered to be sold for an hour's worth of legal and ethical activities were Esther Powell, Barb Stevens, Mary Ann Maningas, Jonathon Kaludjak, Arnie Brown, Karen and Samantha Tutanuak, Victoria Kakuktinniq, Charlene Panigoniak, Veronica Tattuinee and Jordin Tootoo.

Hamlet Coun. Pujjuut Kusugak volunteered to act as auctioneer at the event.

The Alumni Conference coincides with the 25th anniversary of the NS program, which has graduated more than 300 Inuit students since it began in 1985.

The alumni who attend the conference will engage in discussions about a range of important issues, such as the future direction of the NS program, how to promote and support post-secondary education in Nunavut, youth and leadership, and youth and community development in Nunavut, among others.

Lori Tagoona, who helped organize the event and also put an hour of her time up for bidding, said the auction raised more than $900 towards the conference.

She said her group also held a penny sale and a 50/50 draw to raise funds for the trip.

"We're really not sure how many NS graduates in Rankin will be attending the conference," said Tagoona.

"Some people will be going with the Kivalliq Inuit Association (KIA) and others with the Atuqtuarvik Corp.

"The funds we raised will help them with their registration costs and, for us, it will help with our travel and registration costs."

Tagoona said she and her group of five got together at the KIA office earlier this month to discuss fundraising ideas.

She said a few other suggestions didn't pan out, so they went ahead with the mock slave auction.

"We were also going to have a car wash, but that was cancelled on us at the last minute.

"The auction went better than I thought it would, and we were surprised to raise more than $900.

"We really appreciate everyone who took part in our events to help us out with the trip to Iqaluit."

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