Eastern Arctic elders play hard in Iqaluit

Seventh-annual conference brings Nunavut and Nunavik together



Despite some rough-housing and illegal tackles during a soccer match on Tuesday afternoon, elders from Nunavik and the Baffin region shared a warm gathering in Iqaluit this week as part of the seventh-annual Eastern Arctic Elders Conference.

A rag-tag group of senior citizens took to the field in front of Nakasuk School for the annual sports event. The women wore colourful kerchiefs and reluctantly laid down their purses as the game began, while one man happily swung his cane to defend the Nunavik goal post.

During last year’s elders gathering in Puvirnituq, Team Nunavut ended a long winning streak when they lost the soccer match to Nunavik.

“We were winning a lot, but last year not,” said Lizzie Kelly of Iqaluit, the organizer of this year’s event.

Team Nunavik took the soccer match for the second year in a row, with a score of 2-1.

And the two teams tied a baseball game held a little while later during a cold drizzle. The final score was 22-22. The two teams tied last year’s baseball game as well.

The roughly 50 elders spent Monday night jigging into the wee hours, and donned their finest for a fashion show on Tuesday evening.

The week’s festivities were to draw to a close with a feast on Thursday evening and one last get-together on Friday before the elders departed for their home communities.

Though all the elders were well taken care of during the events, the group from Salluit brought along their own contingent of elder-watchers – young people wearing matching jackets and carrying walkie-talkies – to make sure none of the grannies and grandpas went astray.

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