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Project country's birthday
Arviat students part of Canada 150, Voices of Nunavut

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A group of students at John Arnalukjuak High School (JAHS) in Arviat are preparing for an unique experience.

NNSL photo/graphic

Elena Akammak looks on as Ethan Tassiuk of John Arnalukjuak High School gives a special iPad and microphone a test run for a contribution to the upcoming Canada 150, Voices of Nunavut, project in Arviat this past week. - photo courtesy of Gord Billard

The students are part of a team that will put together a series of videos to be used in the Voices of Nunavut segment of the national Canada 150 project.

JAHS drama teacher Gord Billard was selected to oversee the Arviat effort.

Billard said participating schools are given special iPads and microphones, along with instructions to obtain video footage on what community means to them and what makes their community unique.

He said the videos will be sent to Iqaluit to be professionally edited.

"The plan is to have these shown across Canada as the Nunavut contribution to the project when we celebrate Canada's 150th birthday," said Billard.

"From what I understand, we're one of five or six Nunavut communities involved in the project.

"I was, kind of, volunteered into this by our principal, but I'm pretty excited about the possibilities.

"I've received the iPad and the fancy microphone that hooks up to it, and some of my students who are in the Arviat Film Society have videotaped a couple of small things, so far."

Billard said the Arviat team is meeting this week to come up with an organized plan to collect specific videos.

He said they have a few things in mind to illustrate what Arviat means to them.

"The use of Inuktitut is very strong in Arviat, which is one of the things that makes the community so unique.

"So, I'm going to task somebody with going out and getting some elders talking on film about language and tradition here.

"All the work we do with our drama club also makes our community a little bit different.

"No other Nunavut community is doing theatre like we are, so we're also unique for that reason."

Billard said it still remains to be seen where all their ideas are going to go.

He said there's no set limit to how many videos they can produce.

"The idea is to produce a whole bunch of separate videos, and we can do a little bit of editing if we want, but it's not necessary.

"I may do a little bit in terms of translating the Inuktitut.

"If that segment goes smoothly for us, I'll get someone in to translate it or put it into subtitles.

"Being a national program, it's quite exciting to have our students involved with it."

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