Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit Workshops

The Elders organize many Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) workshops throughout the year to teach youth and younger adults about their culture and traditions and to create opportunities for intergenerational mentorship.  Some of the regular workshops offer include:

Spring Camping – Every spring, Ilisaqsivik organizes a week-long camping trip with elders and youth, held at a traditional campsite about 30 kilometers from Clyde River where several elders used to live.   The camp offers an opportunity for youth and elders to form strong mentoring relationships, as elders can describe how they used to live and demonstrate a range of traditional skills.  Elders are accompanied by hunters, who also help with instruction in harvesting seal, geese, rabbits and ptarmigan, scraping, drying, and stretching skins, storing meat, wayfinding, and sea ice safety.  Other skills and activities include how to set up a camp, traditional games and stories, tool and doll making, and knitting, sewing and string games.

Inuktitut Literacy – Elders support the transmission of Inuktitut literacy and language skills by working with young children at the Preschool and the Community Day Care.  They also periodically run special programs to focus on specialized language skills for older children and youth.  For example, the “Ilaginuut Qaujigiaruti” project placed elders in grade 8 – 12 classrooms at the Quluaq School, where they spent two days teaching students about the different Inuktitut names for family relations and relatives.  After being introduced to Inuktitut terminology, students made their own family trees.  The project taught students not only about proper word use, but also about the importance of extended family networks and how to address relatives with respect in accordance with Inuit Societal Values (Funded by CLEY, 2011- 2012).

Seal and Caribou Skin Clothing – Creating skin clothing was an essential skill for survival, and skin clothing continues to be the warmest and best option for long trips on the land in the winter.  Since youth and some adults have not had the chance to learn how to prepare skin clothing, Clyde River Elders prioritize this topic for knowledge transmission to younger generations.  A recent project, the “Majjaktiit” (Ringed sealskin) project, paired elders with five youth, who learned how to  clean, scrape, dry and soften Ringed seal skins.  Finally, they learned to make traditional skin clothing, including mitts, kamiks, parkas, pants, and bags (Funded by CLEY, 2011 – 2012).

Parenting – Inuit parenting is a popular topic for IQ workshops.  Workshops emphasize a variety of skills and techniques based on Inuit values of flexibility and adaptability, cultivating independence and hard work, and working together.  Participants often discuss childrearing in the context of social and cultural change.  Parenting workshops also help develop stronger bonds between generations, as new parents receive wisdom and mentorship from Elders who have been involved with raising multiple generations of children.

Trauma and Healing – Elders-led workshops incorporate traditional Inuit counselling and focus on a range of topics, including cultural (dog-teaming), historical (the residential school experience), and healing (anger, addictions, suicide prevention) components. Ilisaqsivik hires elder counsellors to facilitate these programs, and employs a full-time Counselling Elder to oversee elder programming and work with children and youth.

Heritage and Family TreeClyde River Elders have worked hard to launch several heritage projects in support of the new Ittaq Cultural Heritage and Resource Centre.  The Family Tree project traced the history of Clyde River families through documenting family trees and developing land use maps.  Elders also coordinated a major effort to develop a cultural heritage collection to be archived and displayed at the heritage centre.