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Stitching together traditional skills
More than 35 apply for eight spots in Naujaat program, organized by local cultural-support worker Trina Yank of Kivalliq Counseling

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A parka-making program funded by the Kivalliq Inuit Association (KIA) put warm smiles on a number of children and adults in Naujaat recently.

NNSL photo/graphic

High fives all around for Abraham Inuksak, left, and Aiden Kopak while celebrating new parkas made for them during a month-long program in Naujaat recently. - photo courtesy of Lloyd Francis

The sewing program was organized by local cultural-support worker Trina Yank of Kivalliq Counseling and Support Services, and run through the Nunavut Arctic College building in Naujaat.

Yank is continually on the lookout for available funding to be able to host various projects for the community.

She applied for funding to the KIA in Rankin Inlet for the a caribou skin parka-making program and was approved for $5,000.

Yank said she hired two instructors for the program, Therese Tegumiar and Elizabeth Kidlapik, and accepted eight students, Pasqualina Putulik, Matilda Putulik, Johnny Tagornak, Dorothy Inuksak, Cindy Kopak, Julia Netseck, Vicky Angotingoar and Louisa Uttak, to work with them.

She said the students were given a choice of what they'd like to make, with seven selecting parkas and one a caribou-skin amauti.

"I purchased the caribou skins locally, and the students were shown how to clean, stretch, prepare, cut and sew the skins into the parkas and amauti," said Yank.

"They made beautiful parkas for either themselves or a family member."

Yank received the names of more than 35 would-be students seeking entry into the program.

She said the only fair way to select which students were accepted into the program was to hold a draw.

"I don't just pick the names of people accepted into one of our programs by myself.

"To make the process more fair for the people in the community who signed up for the program, I drew the names in front of a witness.

"The four-week program ran from the end of January until the end of February, with the group getting together four, sometimes five, times a week."

Yank said the program went quite well.

She said most of the students did a wonderful job in completing their projects.

"This was the first time most of them actually made a caribou-skin parka, so they really learned a lot in the program and the instructors were really proud of their efforts.

"I'll keep submitting funding proposals to various organizations in hopes of holding different projects in the community.

"There's a real need for these types of programs in Naujaat, so we'd like to see more sewing projects held so more people can develop their traditional skills and, at the same time, be able to provide themselves or their family members with nice warm parkas, which are always in need in our community.

"We just submitted another proposal for making parkas to Culture and Heritage, this time using material and sewing machines, and we're waiting to hear if it's been approved so we can get it going as quickly as we can."

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