Kuujjuaq kindergarten class learns to skin a caribou

“We did pretty good with the help of our students”

After skinning a caribou in the kindergarten class at Pitakallak School in Kuujjuaq on Jan. 15, the students had a lunch of the meat donated by hunters Simeonie and Simon Berthe. (Photo courtesy of Ayaana Berthe)

By Nunatsiaq News

Kindergarten students at Pitakallak School in Kuujjuaq got a lesson in preparing a caribou on Jan. 15.

Led by teachers Ayaana and Kajuula Berthe, the students helped skin the caribou on a tarp laid out in their class. The caribou was hunted by the Berthe sisters’ grandfather and uncle, Simeonie and Simon Berthe, respectively.

In a Facebook post, Ayaana wrote that it’s practically their first time skinning a caribou without someone guiding them, but “we did pretty good with the help of our students.”

  • Kindergarten students watch on as their teacher, Ayaana Berthe, demonstrates skinning a caribou in class at Pitakallak School in Kuujjuaq on Jan. 15. (Photo courtesy of Ayaana Berthe)
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(22) Comments:

  1. Posted by Jeff on

    Do u think this was an appropriate activity to do in a kindergarten class? Some of the children might have found it pretty horrifying esp. seeing the lifeless head & eyes.

    • Posted by Andre Pomerleau on

      Yes very appropriate, educational and cultural

      • Posted by Annie on

        School probably told parents first so they could have their kids take part or not. Doubt whole dead tuktu was used.

      • Posted by James on

        I grew up in north. My sister in elementary school was traumatized when her classroom skinned a fox. Don’t think any of those kiddos ever in their lifetimes since have skinned a fox. Haha.

      • Posted by Deborah Colbert on

        Absolutely valuable for those young children! It’s important to maintain cultural heritage! Here in the USA we want schools to bring back Home Ec class.

    • Posted by Pat Corbiere on

      Jeff I grew up in a hunting/ trapping family. As a child what you are surrounded with is normal. We all helped with skinning and stretching the hides . For these children it is critical that they embrace the lifestyle of their ancestors. In towns that are isolated in the winter food insecurity is a reality. Learning to live off the land could make a difference to these children’s future.

      • Posted by Jeff on

        Tell that to the child with red running shoes in the photo. His body language & facial expression says it all. Leave the teaching of hunting & skinning of animals to the children’s families’.

        • Posted by Jessy on

          Jeff, the little boy you pointed out seems to be just sitting and observing. It may be that the teacher does not want the students to run around the class while this is happening, or he is waiting for his turn to come up and help skin the caribou. Sure, there may be people who don’t like to see animals be skinned in front children, however it’s a part of culture and how else is it going to get passed down onto future generations if it’s not taught at home?

        • Posted by Mike on

          This is culture and I’m happy to see this, if one looks closely at the photo, these are girls with the teacher skinning the carabue and all the boys are sitting on benches probably waiting there turn

    • Posted by Gina on

      I am very happyy daughter got to experience this. It is very appropriate and 100% related to the environment we live in ?

    • Posted by INUK on

      I m inuk and have no problem with this , but it might be upsitting for qallunak parents.

    • Posted by Sarah on

      Bringing Inuit culture into the classroom, passing on tradition to the next generation. Thankful that these teachers are opening their minds and going beyond expectations. This is decolonization at its best. I can’t wait to see what they bring in next!

      • Posted by George on

        The only person responsible to teach my kids hunting & skinning is me. My kids are in school to study, learn & play not skin tuktus. Maybe in high school can teach teens. Not kindergarten. Maybe catching tuktus not every child’s culture. Respect that.

    • Posted by Karen Orser on

      if you love up north and will need to find food highly likely) yes, this is appropriate. They’ve also seen hunted animals at home most likely

  2. Posted by part time hunter on

    After seeing many badly cut up caribous’ sold to local HSP… i want our (so called) hunters to learn with the kindergarten how to cut up a caribou the right way…

    • Posted by Annie on

      Good point. Instead of children maybe teach the actual hunters how to skin a tuktu and other animals.

  3. Posted by Taylor James Kretschmar on

    It may seem horrific at first, to those of us who are not used to it, but children actually need to know exactly where their food comes from. Seeing and doing is understanding food is a precious commodity not to be wasted. This is a value lost in our fast food society where there is no link to where things actually come from. These kids are very lucky, they will grow up with good values.

    • Posted by Bob on

      Then u support ‘southern’ kindergarten classes taking class trips to cattle slaughterhouses so 5-6 y.o. kids can see where their McD Happy Meals come from.

  4. Posted by Learning on

    This is a good thing but learning happens by doing.
    Some of those kids will only really learn when they get their hands into it. This is food prep. as some pointed out. It is basic as cooking.

  5. Posted by Eldred on

    Great to see those little ones doing such a fine job skinning caribou. Learn while they’re young, very important.

  6. Posted by Bob on

    Only in Nunavik?

  7. Posted by Roz on

    I was just in our kindergarten class at my school in Errington, BC. They are gutting and cutting salmon, a pink salmon with eggs inside. Any children not interested are colouring and most of the class is observing and asking to touch the salmon.

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