Nunavut and Nunavik elders to gather in Iqaluit


Nunatsiaq News

IQALUIT — Iqaluit’s collective IQ score is set to skyrocket next week.

Next week close to 200 elders from Nunavut and Nunavik will descend on Iqaluit and send the level of Inuit qaujimajatuqangit — or traditional Inuit knowledge — through the roof.

The elders are coming to Iqaluit to take part in a gathering from Aug. 23 to 27.

The elders will meet each day at Iqaluit’s elders’ centre for coffee, tea and story-telling, said Ahme Peter, co-ordinator of the event. A boat trip and other events are also scheduled.

Elders will pass on their knowledge to other members of the community during their five-day visit, Peter said.

Elders will demonstrate traditional hunting and sewing techniques, he said. “Hopefully people come out and listen to stories and see the traditional things,” Peter said.

“We welcome anybody, not like in some meetings that are usually behind closed doors. We are open to anybody,” Iqaluit elder Celestine Erkidjuk said through an interpreter.

But Erkidjuk said the gathering isn’t just an opportunity for young people to learn from the older generation, but a chance for the elders to learn from each other. Erkidjuk expects each elder to arrive with games and skills to share with one another.

“I’m sure people will be bringing their own things and that way I’m still learning from other elders,” he said.

Erkidjuk plans to demonstrate a game made with a seal bone. The Keewatin native expects to learn new games from his counterparts from the Baffin and Kitikmeot regions.

During previous elders’ gatherings he’s enjoyed the baseball and soccer games.

Similar elders’ gatherings have taken place in Cape Dorset and Salluit in northern Quebec in previous years.

Participants had to raise money for the trip to Iqaluit through their communities, Peter said. Some elders will also have attendants accompanying them. Peter is soliciting help from Iqaluit residents to billet the visitors.

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