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Beads of brilliance
Beaded amauti program goes over well with group in Baker Lake

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A beaded amauti program is proving itself a huge hit with its participants since getting underway in Baker Lake earlier this year.

NNSL photograph

Program facilitator Janet Nungnik and Susan Toolooktook show one of the dazzling creations being made as part of the beaded amauti program in Baker Lake on March 30, 2017. - photo courtesy of Annie Killulark

Program facilitator Janet Nungnik said the program came about due to a group of women in Baker being very interested in learning how to make a beaded amauti because many of them had never made an amauti before.

She said the group received a lot of help to launch the program from community wellness co-ordinators, and everyone was very excited when they hired elders Elizabeth Alooq and May Haqpi to start instructing the program in February.

"I have regular meetings with my two bosses, Rachael Aupaluktuk and Annie Killulark, to discuss how the program is doing," said Nungnik.

"We presently have 15 women participating in the program, with 12 attending during the day and three going to the evening program because they're also working.

"With the day program, we start at nine in the morning and go until lunch hour, and then we go again in the afternoon from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m.

"Our funding for the program was provided by the hamlet of Baker Lake and, although our final day, officially, is April 14, we're going to keep working on them during our spare time so we can all be ready for Canada Day."

Nungnik said everyone in the program got their own amauti, thanks to the efforts of their two excellent elder teachers.

She said the elders had certain expectations for the women who entered the program, and one of them was that they learn.

"Every woman in the group was a rookie when it comes to making an amauti.

"I'm older than 60, this was my very first amauti, and I just completely love it.

"We had a group of exchange students in town from Ontario this past week, so we all put our own amauti on and wore it for them, and they were just amazed by them.

"One student tried one on and then wanted to keep it, but this was our first amauti and the joy of having your first amauti is an incredible feeling, so the student didn't get to leave with it."

Nungnik said the beadwork done by the women in the group was just incredible.

She said the students are hard workers and a lot of what they did were works of art to her.

"A beaded amauti is for special occasions, like our plan to wear them on Canada Day.

"You would only wear it for something like a wedding, because they're very, very special.

"Everyone has their own colour code in the program because they've worn those colours for so long on their parka or other clothing.

"So, they decided to collect their very own coloured beads and everything just became so beautiful from there."

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