Pillajutit Week to bring some light to Kugluktuk

Events run Jan. 23 to 27

The Kugluktuk Recreation Complex will be the site of a week of activities and events for the hamlet’s first ever Pillajutit Week from January 23 to 27, ending with a country feast and drum circle. (Photo by Dustin Patar)

By Andrea Sakiyama Kennedy

Updated Tuesday, January 17 at 4:45 p.m.

Across the North the month of January is characterized by extreme cold temperatures and darkness, waiting for brighter days ahead. But one Nunavut hamlet has something to look forward to this month.

Planning is well underway in Kugluktuk for the hamlet’s first ever Pillajutit Week, running from Jan. 23 to 27. 

Pillajutit, which means “You can do it” in Inuinnaqtun, is both the name and the theme of the week that will offer events and activities targeting all age groups within the community.

Dance classes, a photography workshop, even free haircuts are just a few examples of what will be offered at the Kugluktuk’s recreation centre, locally known as The Complex. The week will be capped off with a country food feast and drum dancing.

Kugluktuk’s senior administrative officer, Kimberley Young, said Pillajutit Week is intended to offer the community something to look forward to.

“There can be a real let down after Christmas,” said Young. “January is a hard time after the wild gift card giving, food baskets and draws of the holiday season.”

Young said that she wanted to bring Pillajutit Week to Kugluktuk after witnessing the positive response to this kind of programming when she worked in other Nunavut communities, but COVID-19 had kept them from launching it until now.

Young said that she hopes that this will become an annual event, and that it will be delivered in partnership with the RCMP, Department of Health and the schools to ensure that every member of the community can get involved.

The hamlet’s recreation committee is leading the event this year and was able to secure enough funding to bring in a guest speaker as well.

Shawna J. Serniak, an international Indigenous speaker from Edmonton, will deliver messages of inspiration, wisdom and guidance to residents.

“Hopefully by shedding light, in the way of words and tools and camaraderie and as a community … we can bring that light in a time of darkness,” she said.

Serniak will be delivering three sessions tailored to each audience: a session for women, one for the entire community, and a session specifically for students at the high school. 

She said that empowering youth is particularly important, and that she is grateful for every opportunity to provide resources and tools to youth to help them build positive habits and patterns.

“We want them to have hope, we want them to have possibility, we want them to be excited about their future,” Serniak said.

Posters detailing the schedule of events will be posted around the community, on the hamlet website and on Facebook.

Correction: This article has been updated to correct the origin of the word Pillajutit.

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(1) Comment:

  1. Posted by Kablunak on

    This is amazing not just for Kugluktuk, but for all of the North. Events such as this will inspire other communities to conduct similar events. Both beneficial for the body and mind. #kugluktukstrong #wethetruenorth

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