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A group of students and two elders in Taloyoak work together on sewing parkas out of caribou skins during a Netsilik School course from Jan. 21 to 25. In the background are student Alishia Aleekee, left, school community counsellor Laura Panigayak, as well as students Andrea Aiyout, Miranda Karoo and Wendy Alookee. Kublu Tucktoo, front left, and Angmalluq Uttaq also work on the projects. - photo courtesy of Gina Pizzo
From caribou to parka
Netsilik School students hunt animals to make clothing as part of course in Taloyoak

Jeanne Gagnon
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, February 7, 2013

Students made parkas using caribou skins from animals they personally hunted late last month in a career and technology course in Taloyoak.

A group of junior and senior high students at Netsilik School completed the second of a series of three CTS courses from Jan. 21 to 25. They cut their animal hides into the shapes and sizes needed and used them make a parka, said principal Gina Pizzo.

The students hunted their caribou in the fall. They skinned them, cleaned the skins, stretched them and softened them during the introductory course. This school term, they will cut patterns for parkas out of those skins and finish the clothing.

"They have to do everything from killing the animal to skinning it, cleaning it, preparing the meat for food and preparing the skin for clothing," she said.

The particular program is one of nine CTS programs the school is offering to junior and senior high students this school year, and is very popular, said Pizzo.

"There are many of the students who like to learn all the steps involved, not just the hunting part but the preparation of the meat and the proper way to do skins and everything," she said. "So there is a lot of interest in that."

George Hill, the school's vice-principal, supervises the course with the help of elders Kublu Tucktoo and Angmalluq Uttaq.

"It's important all the students have a very good balance between their academic courses and their cultural and language courses," said Pizzo. "It helps them to connect with their elders and pick up the language involved in this whole process as well."

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