Leader of the pack
Qikiqtarjuaq starts the first wolf cub pack after a 20-year drought

Maria Canton
Northern News Services

NNSL (Oct 11/99) - A pack of 20 wolf cubs has been congregating in Qikiqtarjuaq since Sept. 15.

Rumour has it that the community hasn't seen wolf cubs like these for some 20 years.

Each Wednesday night they meet in the school gymnasium and begin their assemblies with the Grand Howl.

Pack leader Akela, which means Old Wolf, stands in the middle of the pack as the wolf cubs perform their traditional opening rituals.

Although the cubs aren't vicious, Akela, who also assumes the name of Rodney Corkum while teaching at the local school, says they sometimes mob him and try to bring him down.

"The kids are so gung-ho, the interest level is really surprising," he said.

"We have a great team of leaders and people wanting to help, everyone is giving 110 per cent."

An even mixture of girls and boys, between the ages of eight and 10, the group is as much educational as it is fun and games.

An eight-year-old cub, Chad Kuniliusi, says playing games is his favourite part of being a wolf cub.

"Playing octopus is my favourite game," said Kuniliusi.

"Everybody runs around and tries to tag you."

Earning badges is another component that is both challenging and fun. Badges range from first aid to computers to space exploration or international trade -- there seems to be something for every up-and-coming wolf cub.

The pack will also have group opportunities in which everybody can fulfil the requirement for a particular badge.

"I think one Saturday we could spend the entire day working on the first aid badge and then everybody will have it," said Akela.

"Badge work is something we work at continuously."

The pack is still without uniforms, but Akela is expecting the shipment to arrive any day now.

"I'm going to wear my uniform to school and cubs," said wolf cub Kuniliusi.

Once a wolf cub learns the cub promise and law, they are granted the uniform tie through what is called an investment ceremony.

Akela is hoping to have all of the wolf cubs in uniform for the Remembrance Day assembly.