Baffin Inuit youth honoured for Inuktitut songs, poetry
Qikiqtani Inuit Association hands out $900 in prizes to contest winners
A trio of talented young Baffin Inuit are a little richer—and a lot prouder—this morning.
The Qikiqtani Inuit Association announced winners in its Inuktitut song/poem contest, which took place over the month of February for Inuktitut Language Month, on March 1.
Arctic Bay’s Leetia Kalluk, 18, won a $400 first prize for a love song she wrote. Kalluk is currently attending the Nunavut Sivuniksavut college program in Ottawa.
The rousing song, uploaded as an MP3 file and available for listening on Soundcloud here, features Kalluk’s sweet voice over a full compliment of guitar, fiddle and percussion.
“Now that it’s night time I think of you, the feeling of crying comes back to me. My love for you never dies,” she sings, in Inuktitut.
Second place, and a prize of $300, went to Pangnirtung’s Jerry Laisa, 21, who is a security guard at the Mary River iron mine in North Baffin.
“His song of heartbreak was an instant hit among our selection committee members,” said the QIA, in a news release.
“My heart has a hole, it’s yearning. It is confused, my heart, my heart, my heart,” Laisa sings.
Ben Qaqqasiq, also from Pangnirtung, took home the $200 third place prize for a poem he submitted via Twitter.
The poem includes this line, translated from Inuktitut to English: “My life is becoming brighter, I hear birds singing. My body is starting to relax when I start to hear peaceful sounds.”
Qaqqasiq, who is still in high school, “is an accomplished accordion and piano player,” according to the QIA, and proved himself so during a performance at the 2016 Alianait Arts Festival.
You can see Qaqqasiq’s poem, and a video of Laisa singing his song, on the QIA’s Facebook page here.