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News Briefs: Monday, May 7, 2012
Get prepared

Emergency Preparedness Week is being observed in the NWT from May 6 to 12.

The RCMP G Division is advising residents of the NWT to become prepared as the best way to protect their families in times of emergency.

The police are directing people to the Public Safety Canada website for information on how to plan and implement an emergency plan.

- Paul Bickford

Dakota House returning

Motivational speaker Dakota House, known for the role of Teevee Tenia on the television show North of 60, will be returning for another visit to Fort Resolution on May 8.

House will be accompanied by hypnotist Scott Ward in an appearance at the community hall.

The two previously visited Fort Resolution in late 2010 and again in February of last year when they helped create a music video at Deninu School. The video focused on the hazards of alcohol and illegal drugs.

- Paul Bickford

Public service association enters NWT

An NWT chapter of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) will officially open with a luncheon on May 11 at the legislative assembly in Yellowknife.

"All public servants, whether new recruits or experienced senior managers, can benefit from and contribute to IPAC," states Tim Mercer, clerk of the legislative assembly. "IPAC is our national professional association and establishing an NWT chapter will provide a home and a network for Northern public servants, no matter where they work."

The inaugural luncheon will take place in the Great Hall of the legislative assembly and any interested public servants may call the Office of the Clerk to confirm attendance. Admission will be by donation with all proceeds going to the United Way.

- Lyndsay Herman

Funding boostfor co-op training

Arctic Co-operatives Limited will receive almost $3.7 million from the federal government to fund its Strategy for Training Arctic Technicians project, the government announced late last month.

Arctic Co-op, which has 31 member co-ops across the NWT and Nunavut, received the funding through the Government of Canada's Skills and Partnership Fund and will use it to train and develop 306 aboriginal employees over the next three years.

- Lyndsay Herman

Mother's Day tea in Fort Smith

Thebacha/Fort Smith

A Mother's Day tea will be held on Friday at Northern Life Museum in Fort Smith.

The event, which will be held from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., will include the launch of a photography exhibit called Honouring Our Grandmothers. It will feature photos of grandmothers submitted by Fort Smith residents.

The Mother's Day tea is being presented by Northern Life Museum, Sutherland House, and the Fort Smith Health and Social Services Authority.

- Paul Bickford

Chike Carnival approaches

Deline/Fort Franklin

The recreation department of Deline is busily planning the Chike Carnival. The week-long event begins May 18 and this year will mark its seventh year of operation.

Christina Gaudet, senior administrative officer for the Deline municipal government, said the carnival will host entertainment for all ages.

"There will be a fishing derby, bingo for kids, children and adult games on the ice," she said. "We have events for toddlers right up to adults."

The municipal government is also planning fundraising activities over the next few weeks to raise money for the highly popular carnival. One proposed idea is a Casino Night where attendees pay an admission fee to participate in a multitude of games.

- Lyndsay Herman

Famine fundraising

Lli Goline/Norman Wells

Students from Mackenzie Mountain School raised $3,290 on April 27 for the protection and rehabilitation of child soldiers as part of the World Vision 30 Hour Famine.

The 17 students from grades seven to 12 who participated had two weeks to collect pledges from family, friends and community members after committing to go without food for 30 hours.

Students consumed nothing but water as of 1 p.m. on Friday, April 27, until 7 p.m. the next day, save for a cup of rice.

"I was super proud," said Kathy Tollenaar, teacher at Mackenzie Mountain School and organizer of the event. "It was nice to see them rise to the occasion and they did it with minimal complaining, just generic comments about being hungry. They really felt how little energy they had by the end of the day on Saturday and it was good for them to experience that."

During the 30 hours, students participated in sports, school-wide hide and seek, board games, video game stations, and a Hunger Games-themed obstacle course with non-lethal bows and arrows constructed by the students.

Students learned about their cause before and during the famine through talks, videos and a community member speech about different understandings of currency around the world.

- Lyndsay Herman

Course to train fitness instructors to elders

Thebacha/Fort Smith

A four-day course to train people how to instruct group fitness programs for elders will be offered in Fort Smith this month.

The course, which will be held from May 10 to 13 at the Fort Smith Rec Centre, is being presented by the NWT Recreation and Parks Association.

So far, people from Fort Smith and Fort Liard have registered to attend the training course, which is part of the association's initiative called Elders in Motion.

About six people are expected to attend the course.

- Paul Bickford

Donated chopper time

Tulita/Fort Norman

The Land and Financial Organization and the Metis Association have sponsored helicopter usage for students at Chief Albert Wright School in conjunction with the school's Out on the Land Program.

"We just had a number of students and teachers participate in Out on the Land for the spring hunt," said Lorraine Kuer, principal of Chief Albert Wright School. "In our area, helicopters are coming in to take elders and community members out onto the land and two organizations donated some of that helicopter time to the school."

Kuer said the school plans to have sent 20 students to Willow Lake via helicopter by the end of May for one or two week durations, which is more than they have before. While the group is there, they will stay in cabins with elders and community members who are also in the area for the hunt.

"It's a fantastic opportunity," said Kuer. "It's an opportunity to be out there learning a combination of land skills and contemporary skills."

Students will be hunting mostly duck, but may include other game as well. The first group of students left April 2 at 10 a.m. accompanied by three teachers and a teaching assistant.

- Lyndsay Herman

Town of Fort Smith nominations sought

Thebacha/Fort Smith

The Town of Fort Smith is looking for nominations for its annual recognition of two community residents - a citizen and an elder of the year.

Nomination forms are available at town hall and on the town's website. The town will accept nominations until noon on June 1. The two awards will be presented during Canada Day celebrations on July 1.

- Paul Bickford

Mary Simon won't seek re-election


Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) president Mary Simon will not seek re-election when the organization selects a president next month.

The organization will hold an election to select a new president on June 6 in Kuujjuaq, Que., coinciding with the organization's annual general meeting.

Simon was elected ITK president on July 7, 2006. Simon said she decided to step down for a number of reasons, including a desire to spend more time with her three children and nine grandchildren.

"I've been the president for six years and I would like to do different things," she said. "I also want to give an opportunity for others to lead this organization because I think it's always good to bring new blood and new thinking behind these types of positions. I feel it's the right time to do that because the election is coming up."

She added she would like to continue to champion two issues - education and mental health - but she does not have specific plans at the moment.

- Jeanne Gagnon

Filmmaker elected to QIA board


Iglulik filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk was elected to the board of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association following a by-election on April 30.

Kunuk will fill the community's seat on the QIA board of directors after winning with 52 votes, the association announced in a press release. Solomon Allurut received 39 votes, Lucasi Ivvalu got 38 votes, Gordon Qaunaq got 37 votes, Joe Immaroitok got 24 votes and Dominic Angutimarik received 17 votes. He will represent Iglulik on the board until Dec. 31, 2014. The association's next board meeting is scheduled from May 14 to 17 in Iqaluit.

- Jeanne Gagnon

Mining royalties start flowing


Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. received its first royalty payment from mining operations on Inuit-owned lands, NTI announced May 1. Agnico-Eagle Mines forwarded $2,249,500 from its operations at the Meadowbank Gold Mine north of Baker Lake, NTI stated in a release.

"Until Meadowbank Gold Mine came into production, there was no mining in Nunavut on Inuit-owned lands," president Cathy Towtongie stated in the release.

The royalty will enter the Resource Revenue Trust, as per the Resource Revenue Policy passed by NTI last November, the release said.

The policy states the new source of revenue should be allocated equally to both the operating and endowment funds.

In turn, the money in the operating fund should be distributed 30 per cent to NTI, 10 per cent to each regional Inuit association while the remaining 40 per cent will be distributed to the regional Inuit associations on a per capita basis.

- Casey Lessard

May activities in Gjoa Haven

Uqsuqtuuq/Gjoa Haven

Gjoa Haven residents will be busy this month with a host of activities offered in the community.

The community will celebrate hamlet day on May 18 with activities and a feast, said Enuk Pauloosie, the hamlet's senior administrative officer. He added the annual fishing derby is scheduled for the Victoria Day long weekend, with people heading to a nearby lake to try their luck at catching fish.

Then the Qavvavik Frolics or spring games are scheduled from May 18 to 25, with activities such as relay races, cod fishing derby and snowmobile races.

"Everybody likes to go to these games, win some prizes, get together and (have) things to eat on the ice and country food," said Pauloosie. "They will have a little canteen down there."

- Jeanne Gagnon

Iron mine meetings

Iglulik/Hall Beach

Iglulik and Hall Beach residents will each get a chance to provide input and ask questions on the proposed Mary River Project during two public meetings later this month.

Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation is planning an open pit iron ore mine at Mary River, some 160 km south of Pond Inlet.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will visit Iglulik on May 8 and Hall Beach on May 10 to consult residents on the potential impacts of the project on fish and fish habitat before Fisheries Act authorizations are issued, explained Kevin Hill, a spokesman with the department. The department will also visit Pond Inlet on May 17.

"There is a requirement for fish habitat compensation (offsetting) measures to be undertaken by the proponent as a condition of these authorizations," stated Hill in an e-mail, referring to Fisheries Act authorizations. "We will be discussing those various measures to offset with the community as well."

- Jeanne Gagnon

Library to get another mosiac

Ikaluktutiak/Cambridge Bay

One glass tile at a time, a group of Cambridge Bay residents will create another mosaic on a wall of the May Hakongak Community Library and Cultural Centre.

Late last year, a mosaic depicting images of seals, Northern lights, Arctic char and caribou was assembled at the centre.

This time, the mosaic will feature artwork by Helen Kalvak, a Holman print artist now deceased, said Renee Krucas, the executive director of the Kitikmeot Heritage Society. Kalvak died in 1984.

The square image will be at least 1.8 metres by 1.8 metres, she added. Southern-based mosaic artist Tanya MacFarlane - who owns the Mosaic Beach studio in Toronto and had been a part of the creation of last year's mosaic - will be back to work with the approximately 150 people, including elementary and high school students, elders and residents participating in the project. The project is expected to last from May 15 to 26.

"It's just to honour her and her artwork," said Krucas. "She really showcased traditional Copper Inuit life so it (mosaic) will be really beautiful."

- Jeanne Gagnon

Snow buntings return to Arctic Bay

Ikpiarjuk/Arctic Bay

Signalling the Arctic spring, snow buntings have returned to Arctic Bay, birder Clare Kines reports.

"It's always nice to see them," Kines said. "They're the start of the southern migrants' return to the North, they're a harbinger of spring."

The white bird, which has black on its wings, is one of the earliest migrants and latest to leave, he said. Males arrive first to set up breeding grounds Kines has seen several of the birds recently.

"One of the reasons they breed up here is because of the wealth of insects for when their young are hatched, which is why a lot of birds breed in the North."

The snow bunting winters as far south as the northern United States, he said.

- Casey Lessard

Grise Fiord women prepare qiviuk

Ausuittuq/Grise Fiord

Having killed a muskox in mid-April, women in Grise Fiord are using the hide to extract qiviuk, renowned as the world's warmest and most expensive wool.

Three women spent three hours at Nunavut Arctic College April 30 to clean the hide, one of the many educational elements of the college's muskox program.

"First we clean the muskox hide, scrape it, dry it and finally pull the qiviuk from inside the hide," Geela Pijamini said. "We still have to clean the qiviuk. We usually soak it overnight and then wash it. Once it's dried up, we card it and comb it, and then spin it for wool."

Pijamini expects one hide will have a lot of qiviuk, "especially when the hide is caught in April," she said.

The wool would typically yield a high price on the market, with some websites selling one ounce of undyed wool for $35 - but this wool will stay in town, she said.

"The ladies in town are anxious to make mitts and socks for their families."

Once the wool is cleaned, the spinning course will take place about three nights a week.

- Casey Lessard

Fighting cavities with radio waves

Ikpiarjuk/Arctic Bay

With a jingle in their ears, Arctic Bay moms and dads put toothpaste to toothbrush the last week of April as part of dental health month. Dental therapist Claudette Girouard-Qamanirq, community health representative Sandra Naqitarvik and Children's Oral Health Initiative aide Michelle Paniaq-Kunuk arranged for the community radio to play songs for brushing each day.

"We play a brushing jingle over the radio for two to four minutes, and during that time the parents are brushing their toddlers' teeth, and they call in to my dental clinic to let us know whose teeth have been brushed," Girouard-Qamanirq said, noting about 20 people took part each day.

Participants were eligible to win a $50 gift card from the NorthMart and a package of toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss for the whole family. It's one of several promotions run in the community to encourage dental health. Another involved a photo wall of smiles of community members, and anyone who guessed whose smile a photo depicted was eligible for a prize.

In addition, presentations were made to students from kindergarten to Grade 9, and students took part in a door-decorating contest.

- Casey Lessard

Planning futures

Kangiqliniq/Rankin Inlet

Two groups of students at Maani Ulujuk Ilinniarvik (MUI) in Rankin Inlet had the opportunity to check out a little bit of what their futures may hold for them last month.

A total of nine potential Grade 12 graduates made the annual MUI grad trip to the south to check out a number of post-secondary institutions and have a little fun and relaxation after a hard year of hitting the books.

Making the grad trip to the nation's capital were John Bruce, Israel Aliyak, Cassandra Gordon, Jennica Pissuk, Alexandra Rudd, Katrina Pameolik, Meagan Angidlik, Annette Boucher and Denise Graham.

The second trip took the MUI students to the Meadowbank gold mine owned and operated by AgnicoEagle Mines near Baker Lake.

- Darrell Greer