Kangiqsujuaq day 3- made it !

Today we had a rebooked flight at 2pm for Kangiqsujuaq, so off to the airport we go for 12:30 check-in! Big thanks to Auberge Kuujjuaq Inn for driving us back and forth all the time! A book in the gift shop talks about growing up in Kuujjuaq by Dorothy Mesher.

It is a BUSY day in the airport due to the weather delaying flights since Friday!

We are happy to report that we get on the plane and head first to Kangirsuk - where we have to fuel up - a community famous for it's large Arctic Char! A poster in the airport depicts Elders from Dorothy’s memoir. And then we head to Quaqtaq, a community of only 400 and their specialty is fermented walrus! And then onto Kangiqsujuaq which is also called Wakeham Bay. 

Lisa learned these interesting bits of info (among many stories) from Mary Pilurtuut who works for Nunavik Parks. She gets to share Inuit culture and language as part of her job and showed Glen and Lisa incredible pictures and video of drying Arctic Char, drum dancing, throat singing, walking on ice and sharing incredible stories of her life. Her old friend Alice chimed in too as they also shared volley ball tales. They were both talented players and we learned that ‘volleyball’ in Inuktitut direct translations means keeping the ball off the ground! Mary invites us to visit her office and hoped to be in town for the screening on Saturday. She was expecting to head with a group of youth to Puvirnituq for the Winter Festival! Her job sounds exciting!

We are sad to report that Jeannie officially couldn’t join us in the end since her flight from her home town Kuujjuaraapik was still delayed and even for her flight on Tuesday she is still only on standby....PLUS she just got an exciting new job so needs to pack and move to Kuujjuaq! So sad we don’t get to meet and work together. We hope to meet you another time! CONGRATS on the new job!

When we arrive in Wakeham Bay (everyone calls it this not Kangiqsujuaq) the terminal is so full ! A whole plane is arriving and the next full plane is leaving. It is like a party! We meet Alex G and Alex P who are the animators for the precollege building that we will stay in. Animators are not like the Our World animators, they are more like social directors for the residence - helping with all things related to the staying at the residence - driving folks to the grocery store, creating social nights etc. The residence houses high school, pre-college students (CEGEP), Arctic guide students and a couple of student teachers.

Alex G drives us back to the residence with Ned (a fellow that Michelle told us about who is an incredible hunter and photographer!) We learn of the crazy blizzard that the Arctic Guides, including Alex G, was stuck in and how 26 skidoos moved VERY slowly back into town from Pingualuit National Park because they kept getting stuck! It sounds incredibly scary and many people got frost bite on their faces! 

We meet Adamie right away who is strumming a guitar when we arrive, what a nice welcome! We also meet Amy right away, who we already heard about as well as Ned because she took beautiful photographs last time when Michelle Smith visited. Amy wants to take part in the workshop! We decide to make a quick dinner in the residence kitchen (thank you for the kitchen instruction Alex G!) , there is a professional kitchen that provides food for students! The residence is lovely, with a bright place to eat and a big and welcoming living room. Every window looks out onto a gorgeous view and incredible artwork hangs on the walls. Tapestries and paintings made by a former chef at the residence! We set up in the living room - 2 animation stations. Nigel pops by on his way to a workout and has incredible creative energy! He is excited to tell a story for his family and community wanting to inspire people to live their best life, and also as a tribute for his deceased brother. Nigel will come back at 9:30 in the morning! We also talk with Amy who has an idea to make a film about her boyfriend, Micheal, who is a great hunter and since we are heading into Beluga season and are in ice fishing season, it may be a story about that. She hopes to interview him and will do that tomorrow afternoon after french class. The french class is from 9-4 every day! Alex G then has his famous QUIZ NIGHT and we chime in when we can.   We meet student teachers Amelie and Kevin as well as Arctic Guides: Leena, Judith and Tukirqu!

Anna and her sister drop by on their way to hockey and Anna thinks she may have a story to tell! Then Ned shows us his incredible images on facebook of the territory and hunting and regales us with unbelievable stories of being on the land (travelling 600 miles to Labrador on a skidoo!) and hunting ! Thanks so much for sharing . It blew our southern minds! Ned is studying to be an Arctic Guide but from what we could tell he could be a teacher! He also has french tomorrow but may come back in the afternoon. Leena also has pictures and is learning to be an Arctic Guide and Alex G has agreed to put images onto a USB key for us to see in the morning!

Thanks all for the fabulous welcome!!

We learn that Kangiqsujuaq means Big Bay!

Lisa Nielsen