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Building on experience

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A combination of the elder's and cultural inclusion programs produced a unique project on qamutiik building at Sakku School in Coral Harbour earlier this month.

NNSL photo/graphic

Elder Paul Pudlat works on a piece of oak during a special class on qamutiik building at Sakku School in Coral Harbour earlier this month. - photo courtesy of Paul Yanchus

Teacher Paul Yanchus said elder Paul Pudlat comes in for half of every school day as part of the elder's program, while elder Joanasie Nakoolak is part of the cultural-inclusion program.

Yanchus said funding is provided through the programs for elders to come in and demonstrate their various skills to the students. He said the programs are very popular with students.

"We also have Annie Gibbons involved with cultural inclusion and she shows a lot of sewing to the students, while Joanasie (Nakoolak) is in the shop most of the time building things with the kids," said Yanchus.

"We schedule the various activities around my shop periods."

Yanchus said the qamutiik project was a hit with the students.

He said Pudlat had the youths involved in sanding the stringers and making the cross-members.

"Paul showed them how to do one, and they cut them out for him with a router.

"He helped the kids with the knife work, and showed them how to properly tie the rope along the side of the runners."

Students in grades 1 to 3 worked on a small qamutiik, while students in grades 7 to 12 helped with the larger one.

Yanchus said an integrated approach was taken to get students in shop class involved with the qamutiik project as much as possible.

He said Pudlat supplied all the materials, including the rope, fur and white oak cross-members.

"Paul is the real deal and he worked very hard on the qamutiik project. "It was 20-feet long when completed and taken out the door."

Yanchus said the older students were impressed with the larger project, while the younger kids really enjoyed working on a smaller qamutiik. He said the kids get to take the small qamutiik and little hand sliders Pudlat makes home with them once they're completed.

"The hand sliders are, basically, one stick with a handle coming up from one runner, and the kids have an absolute blast with them.

"The little guys just love them."

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