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A matter of pride
Elder's iglu becomes big hit with Repulse youths

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, April 4, 2013

An iglu built by elders became a big hit with students at Tusarvik School in Repulse Bay this past month.

NNSL photo/graphic

An iglu built by elders is a big hit with Tusarvik School Grade 4 students Tegumiar Haqpi, back row, from left, and Macleod Arnatsiaq, Kendra Kringayark, Brittany Kopak and Sarah Williams (teacher). Melanie Ulluliyarnat, front row, from left, Jamie Mapsalak and Darryl Angotingoar, in Repulse Bay this past month. - photo courtesy of Danielle Stabenow

Teacher Jennifer Perry said the elders built the iglu behind their homes, close to the bay.

She said the elders put a stove in the iglu and had tea and cookies inside for anyone who came to visit.

"It was a nice gesture by the elders and it's become quite popular," said Perry.

"One of our teachers, Sarah Williams, went for a walk and noticed the iglu.

"She mentioned it to the teachers and they began taking their classes to see it."

Perry said southerners get excited when they see an iglu because they've heard about Inuit living in them since they were kids.

She said the same can be said for Inuit youth today, because they just don't see them much anymore.

"They stay in a tent when they go camping, not an iglu.

"So, even the kids here, we may think they've spent a lot of time in an iglu like their parents or grandparents, but they haven't.

"They really enjoy it because although they hear about it all the time, they rarely get to see an iglu so it becomes something exciting for them.

"And, of course, they always enjoy getting out of the classroom for awhile, too."

Perry said the theme the Grade 10 class is currently doing at Tusarvik is identity.

She said the students have been learning about traditional Inuit ways as part of the identity module.

"They learned about how the iglu was set up years ago with the sleeping and cooking areas inside.

"When we went to sit in the iglu, the kids actually showed another teacher and I all of those things.

"That was a great visual for us and the students."

Perry said traditional activities always tend to elevate school spirit at Tusarvik.

She said the activities make school more relevant for the students in both content and how they learn.

"When we're doing traditional activities relevant to their lives, it makes school a better fit for the students.

"A lot of kids who may not excel academically, but who know about an iglu or work with their grandparents, can bring something to class in that area.

"We have our Heritage Fair coming up in about two weeks, and we're having a Heritage Day with all traditional activities.

"An iglu is something the kids look upon as being Inuit and theirs, so there's pride evident and their identity really comes out."

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