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A group of skills-teaching workshops organized by Ilitaqsiniq Nunavut Literacy in Rankin Inlet have been received well by the community.

Three of the courses being offered are cooking (Piujuq program), qamutiik-making and cabin building.

The first cooking course wrapped-up Jan. 31, with a second intake on Feb. 3. Each course had eight women participants.

Instructor Simeon Dion, from left, goes over a point with participants Andy Tugak Jr., Robert Simik, Guy Nipisar, George Ipkanark and Kevin Subgut during a qamutiik-making course in Rankin Inlet in January. Photo courtesy of Kelly Lindell

Nunavut Literacy’s Kelly Lindell said because the cooking course is a Piujuq pilot program being offered for the first time, a second part in amautiit-making is also being offered this week.

Lindell handled the cooking instruction in the program and midwife Cas Connelly-Clark also helped out, providing information to the participants on prenatal, parenting and healthy eating during and following pregnancy.

“The first week went really well,” said Lindell.

“When you look at mothers and those who cook in general, we often get stuck on the same recipes or eating the same things all the time.

“So, having a place where you can get together with other ladies, try new recipes, work with different ingredients and have the support from myself, as a chef, to help you get through what you thought was so hard – I think that alone is beneficial and a lot of fun, and a lot of the ladies really enjoyed just getting out of the house and doing something different for a while.

“And, for sure, they really enjoyed all the recipes we covered throughout the week.”

The majority of the women in the cooking course elected to take the second week, and Lindell said it was about 50-50 between those with good sewing skills and those just really learning.

She said learning to further your sewing skills with an elder seamstress is always beneficial to anyone who takes the instruction.

“We were also fortunate to receive funding from the Government of Nunavut’s Family Services for the cabin-building course we have coming up (Feb. 10-16),” said Lindell.

“We did a partnership with the Niksik Shop again for this course and they take the participants through each-and-every step of building a cabin.

“Once the program is done, the cabin that is made will be used for all future Nunavut Literacy programming that we run out on the land.

“We actually hope to be able run more land programs in the future now that we’ll have our own cabin.”

Lindell said the Niksik Shop is also handling the qamutiik-making program with six participants in the first course.

She said the same program is scheduled to be held in March, but this time it will be high school students on their March break.

“We had so much interest from high school students in the first course that we sought-out funding to hold a second course specifically for them and the Kivalliq Inuit Association is funding us for that,” said Lindell.

“So, all the programming has being going really well, with the qamutiik-making course being simply amazing.

“I got so many thankful texts from the guys who took it, who all said it was extremely well-delivered and they learned a lot.

“Now you see six guys leaving that program who now have a sled to take their family out or go hunting, so these are real-life skills being taught that will have a positive ripple effect not only for the families involved, but for our community, as well.

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Darrell Greer

Darrell Greer is Editor of Kivalliq News

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