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News Briefs: Monday, December 5, 2011

Former chief dies

Pierre Catholique, former chief of Lutsel K'e, died on Nov. 30.

Catholique served a chief from 1968 to 1971 in the North Slave community, and represented the Lutsel K'e Dene First Nation when the federal government first expressed interest in establishing a national park around the East Arm of Great Slave Lake.

After being flown to Ottawa to sign documents, he returned home and famously stated, "never again will a Dene Chief be alone in a room with a number of government officials. In the future, we must be united - when there are 16 government officials in a room, there will be 16 Dene Chiefs."

- Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison

Salt River First Nation to elect next chief

Polls will be open in Fort Smith and Edmonton. tomorrow, as members of the Salt River First Nation (SRFN) choose their next chief. The byelection is being held to fill the vacant position after Frieda Martselos resigned in early September with one year left in her term.

Band members in Fort Smith can cast a ballot in the seniors' room at the recreation centre and members in Edmonton can vote at the Ramada Inn on Kingsway Avenue. Both polls will be open from 10 a.m. until 8 pm. on Dec. 6, according to SRFN electoral officer, Lynda Martin.

Henry Beaver, Connie Benwell and David Poitras are vying for the position.

- Herb Mathisen

Councillor acclaimed for Smith's Landing

Andrew Wandering Spirit is the newest councillor for the Smith's Landing First Nation.

"We had one nomination by close and this person has been elected by acclamation," said Al Dumont, the band's electoral officer.

A byelection was held to fill one vacant councillor seat and the nomination period ended on Nov. 29.

"There were more people that had picked up kits, but there was only one turned in by the deadline," said Dumont.

Wandering Spirit's current term ends in June 2013.

- Herb Mathisen

Liquor plebiscite

On Dec. 5 residents of Norman Wells will head to the polls to decide whether liquor restrictions in the town should be removed.

Currently, residents are allowed to purchase two bottles of wine and a bottle of liquor, two bottles of wine and a case of beer, one case of beer and a bottle of liquor, or a flat of beer and a bottle of wine.

The plebiscite requires 51 per cent of the vote to pass. Restrictions in surrounding communities won't be affected by the vote.

- Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison

Councillors acclaimed

Ikaahuk/Sachs Harbour

Three Sachs Harbour residents were acclaimed to hamlet council in November.

Angela Keogak, Lucy Kudlak and Martha Kudlak will now make up half of the council's six spots, and will serve a two-year term until the next election.

Council elections are staggered in the community, with three positions becoming available each year.

- Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison

Happy birthday CBQM

Tetlit'Zheh/Fort McPherson

Fort McPherson celebrated the anniversary of CBQM, its volunteer-run radio station, last weekend. Residents of the community volunteered to run different programs, from call-in shows to live concerts, over three days.

- Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison

Four winners in derby


The 20th Annual Hannah Stewart Memorial Loche Derby wrapped up on Nov. 28 with four residents taking home prizes for the smallest, longest, lightest and heaviest fish.

Wally Tyrell won for smallest loche with a measurement of 22 inches. Bruce Stewart had the longest loche at 42.5 inches. James Arey had the lightest loche at 2.6 pounds, while Sheldon Hendrick Jr. had the heaviest loche at 26.6 pounds.

Each winner took home a trophy and $100.

The derby began on Nov. 14 and was open to all ages.

- Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison

Windy harvest


The muskox harvest for students at Helen Kalvak School was unsuccessful last Monday due to high winds and poor weather.

"We hit a bad day," said principal Chip Bryant.

The group was forced to head a different direction on their snowmobiles because of the wind, and ended up doing a loop behind the community.

Ulukhaktok's David Kuptana led the group.

- Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison

Inuit games in Tuk


Shorter days are making for a packed schedule at Tuktoyaktuk's Kitti Hall.

The Inuit games class, which runs on Sundays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., is growing every week, said Charo Lloret, recreation co-ordinator for the hamlet.

"We're having an amazing turnout with this," she said. "It has a lot of interest among the people."

Around 25 participants attended last week, and residents of all ages are welcome to join in. The program is sponsored by the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation and led by trainers Charlene Chicksi and Craig Gruben.

It is so popular that it will continue to be offered over the holidays during kids camp at Kitti Hall, Lloret said.

Family drop-in is continuing on weekends, with around 15 people attending each week. Evening sports are now running at Mangilaluk School, and a badminton clinic will be offered on Dec. 5.

In addition, on-ice programs have been running full-time since the arena opened on Nov. 25.

- Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison

Slumber party at CJBS


Chief Jimmy Bruneau School is set to host a movie all-nighter on Dec. 9.

The annual event will include prizes, draws, pizza and other yummy food, said principal Patti Turner.

All students 14 years of age and older are welcome to attend, but they must have a permission slip signed by their parent or guardian beforehand.

- Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison

Chiefs on tour

Wekweeti/Snare Lake

Tlicho chiefs stopped in Wekweeti on Nov. 28 as part of a four-day tour throughout the communities.

Between 30 and 40 people attended the meeting, which was held at the arbour and included a dinner starting at 6 p.m.

The purpose of the community tour was to give chiefs and Tlicho citizens a chance to discuss concerns and current issues.

The group also stopped in Whati, Gameti and Behchoko.

- Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison

Gym packed with activities

Thebacha/Fort Smith

The Joseph Burr Tyrrell Elementary School gymnasium will be a busy place next week.

On Dec. 15, the gym will host the school's annual Christmas concert, which is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.

The following day, the elementary school and Paul W. Kaeser High School will be putting on their fourth annual turkey dinner.

"It's a community feast," said Marie MacDonald, receptionist at the elementary school. "We really hope that parents and students will come out."

MacDonald said the meal, which is prepared and served by staff from both schools, will begin at noon on Dec. 16.

- Herb Mathisen

Making faces in class

Deninu Ku'e/Fort Resolution

Students in Fort Resolution will get a chance to learn how to sculpt papier mache into creative works of art from a master mask-maker this week.

Yellowknife-based artist Douglas Witt will be visiting the hamlet to put on mask-making workshops for the Deninu School's Grade 2 to 5 students Dec. 5-9.

"As far as I know, it's his first time coming to Fort Resolution," said teacher Fraser McTurk. "I'm pumped about it."

- Herb Mathisen

Stocking up for the holidays

Thebacha/Fort Smith

The Northern Life Museum wants Fort Smith's most creative Christmas stockings.

Residents are invited to fashion, decorate and submit their socks - made out of whatever a creative sock-maker deems necessary - into one of the competition's three categories: group or organization, youth under 12, and youth or adult over 12.

The entry deadline is Dec. 6, with prizes being handed out for the best stockings at 11 a.m. on Dec. 10, during the museum's Breakfast with Santa event.

- Herb Mathisen

Minister inducted into Order of Nunavut


The only living inductee to the Order of Nunavut was given the distinction on Nov. 29 at a ceremony at the legislature. Retired Anglican minister Rev. Mike Gardener moved to Canada from England in 1955, and spent most of his career working in what is now Nunavut.

The order is the territory's highest honour, and recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the cultural, social or economic well-being of Nunavut.

Two other men, Jose Kusugak and Mark Kalluak, were named inaugural members of the order in July, but both died before they could receive the honour. Posthumous ceremonies for the two men will be held this month in Rankin Inlet and Arviat respectively.

- Casey Lessard

Blizzard day

Uqsuqtuuq/Gjoa Haven

The school, health centre and government offices were closed in Gjoa Haven on Nov. 29, except for a few workers at the hamlet office, due to a blizzard.

Senior administrative officer Enuk Pauloosie said some hamlet staff were at work to get the payroll done. He added services, like water and sewer deliveries, also slowed down.

"We'll probably run low on a lot of things again because of these storms," he said. "We have a hard time keeping up with snow removal on driveways. The only equipment the hamlet has is not sufficient to keep up with the services we have to provide."

Pauloosie said the hamlet has to provide equipment to the airport the clear the roads, as the airport doesn't have its own.

"Every time we get hit by a blizzard, we have to clear the runways, aprons and roads, service roads. With just one equipment, it's pretty hard to keep up," he said. "And our drivers are not going on the roads because of blizzard conditions for their safety and for the public's safety. You know, it gets pretty hard sometimes."

He added they already have a lot of snow for November.

One of the councilors could not make it to Cambridge Bay for the mayor's conference as the planes were cancelled on Nov. 28 because of the blizzard.

"You know, blizzards screw up a lot of things," he said.

- Jeanne Gagnon

Municipal government training goes online


For the first time, 18 hamlet employees across Nunavut, including Qikiqtarjuaq finance officer Rikki Butt, are part of an college course on Northern government that is offered completely online.

"Introduction to Northern Government" is the first of five online courses in the non-profit Municipal Training Organization's Municipal Government Program. Students also take an additional five courses geared to their area of specialization to achieve certification.

"It's actually really good," Butt said, noting she expected problems with Internet bandwidth issues that would affect the delivery of the course.

The course covers the structure, history and operations of Nunavut's territorial and municipal governments, a college release said.

- Casey Lessard

Winds close schools in Pond Inlet

Mittimatalik/Pond Inlet

Schools in Pond Inlet had to close due to bad weather for the first time this school year, Nasivvik School principal Meeka Qamaniq said before closing the school Nov. 29. Environment Canada forecast winds gusting up to 75 km/h, prompting officials at Nasivvik and Ulaajuk School to close for the afternoon.

The problem was exacerbated by the fact the high school's only bus, which gives rides to the 30-40 students who live farthest from the school, broke down the same morning. These students were forced to walk home, and would have to do so for some time; Qamaniq was not sure when the bus would be repaired.

The high winds also prompted hamlet officials to cease all municipal operations for the afternoon. All services were expected to be back to normal by Nov. 30.

- Casey Lessard

Jewelry course offered to community


The Iglulik Youth Jewelry Co-operative has started an evening program teaching how to make jewelry about a month ago through the hamlet's recreation department.

The high school had offered the course since last year, said Daniel Guay, who teaches the course at the school. Metalsmith and carver Silas Qulaut, also a graduate of Nunavut Arctic College's silversmith program, teaches the evening course. Guay said about 10 people are currently enrolled in the class.

"Right now, what it is, we're basically youth that are coming together to learn and to make jewelry. That's been really successful," said Guay. "We should be at the point where we're ready to sell by Christmas or a little bit after. During the classes, there is a business component, so they're going to learn about budgeting, how to sell things and how to advertise. The selling will come shortly."

Students learn to make rings out of bone and ivory as well as earrings, bracelets and necklaces out of copper and brass.

- Jeanne Gagnon

Making the best of it


When the Kivalliq's your home, sometimes you simply have to make the best of a disappointing situation.

Workers and organizers in the Arviat Community Ecotourism Initiative made the best of a bad situation earlier this month when a group of 31 tourists from around the world were weathered out of their planned day-long Arviat Cultural Ecotour.

Rather than dwell on the disappointment, the ecotour group decided to have their cooking coach, chef Mike Johnson, lead them through the creation of a culinary masterpiece for a local audience.

The group put on a cultural performance and dinner for 50 lucky invited local guests.

- Darrell Greer

NAM president resigns


The president of the Nunavut Association of Municipalities announced he has resigned, effective end of the day Dec. 3.

Sakiasie Sowdlooapik, also mayor of Pangnirtung, stated in a press release he made the decision after discussions with his family.

"There is a great deal of hard work and travel required of the position of NAM president, as well as of the position as mayor of Pangnirtung," he stated in a press release. "As such, I now feel that I must focus more of my attention to my position as mayor of the Hamlet of Pangnirtung."

Sowdlooapik, who had been the association's president for the past 11 months, also stated the territorial government should not be allowed to continue interfering with the association's business and programs.

"Why is this happening and when will it stop?" he asked in the press release. "Why will the GN not allow NAM to grow and prosper into the organization that it should be but rather keep trying to tightly control NAM?"

Sowdlooapik looks forward, he stated, the be a more independent voice as mayor and not "be pushed around further by CGS staff."

- Jeanne Gagnon