The Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) is a public government organization that “assess[es] the potential impacts of proposed development in the Nunavut Settlement Area” before said projects are approved & authorized. The NIRB is one of four organizations created by the 1993 Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA) to monitor & manage issues concerning land, water, offshore, and wildlife. The NIRB’s main office is located in Cambridge Bay and its mandate “comes from Article 12 of the [NLCA], and the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act." Whenever a major project is proposed in Nunavut, such as, mining & infrastructure, the NIRB investigates the “potential biophysical [&] socio-economic impact proposals and will make recommendations [&] decisions about which projects may proceed.” In short, writing reports. Lots of them. I could spend more time going into detail about the inner workings of the NIRB, but their website does a much better job.
In case you’re wondering, the other three organizations are: the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board (NWMB), the Nunavut Water Board (NWB), and the Nunavut Planning Commission (NPC). I briefly teach about these four governing bodies to my Grade 10 Social Studies students when we study the NLCA.
|NIRB Representatives speak to students.|
NIRB representatives came to Inuujaq School on Friday, April 21 to give an afternoon presentation to the high school students. The presentation happened in the math & science classroom. The representatives introduced themselves and spoke about the NIRB using the 5 Ws & 1 H – (Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?). They gave several examples of projects they reviewed in the past & those currently being reviewed. All their reports are online. They were also looking for students interested in applying for the Summer Student Employee Equity Program (SSEEP). The program “is designed to provide opportunities for Nunavummiut students to gain meaningful work experience or training within the Nunavut Public Service.” The eligibility requirements & application instructions were displayed on the classroom StarBoard.
The presentation ended with a Q&A session. The students left the room with a better understanding of the NIRB & its functions.
|Grade 4 winners.|
The attendance awards assembly for the month of March was also held on April 21. The student body filed into the gym during the last period of the day to hear & see the lucky students who never missed a class for the month of March. Their names were called out and were asked to come to the front to receive a certificate. They were shy but all smiles. A brief thought came into my mind while I was watching the assembly. Maybe teachers should also get a certificate for perfect attendance?
Arctic Bay is home to many talented Nunavummiut. We have musicians, singers, dancers, carvers, and painters. Paulette has been the high school art teacher for ten years and she runs a successful afterschool art program called Art Spark. (She also teaches English Language Arts). On Sunday, April 23, Art Spark held a fundraising event for its artists called Art Attack. The aims of the event were: to showcase local art works, and raise publicity & financially support the artists who contributed their works. There was a limited amount of hand-made tickets so I made sure to buy one as soon as they became available. My ticket number was 14.
Inuujaq School’s gym was converted into an art gallery for the fundraiser. The works of art – prints & paintings – were taped along the walls of the gym. Tables were set up near the entrance to welcome guests, and sell snacks & juice. People who didn’t purchase the special tickets were still allowed to attend; they just had to pay-at-the-door. Guests were given a list of the works on display and the names of the artists who made them. Everyone was given an hour to look at all the works. Easy listening music played from a boombox in a corner.
The main event was the draw. Paulette stood in the middle of the gym and welcomed everyone to Art Attack 2017. She explained how the draw works. When your number is called, you have one minute to pick one work off the wall. However, there is the possibility that your first choice may no longer be available so you need to have a 2nd choice, 3rd choice, and so on as backup. Paulette and her Art Spark members began drawing numbers when everyone was ready.
|Everyone waits for their ticket numbers to be called.|
|The print I chose.|
My number wasn’t the first one called. It wasn’t the second one either. I made sure not to look in the direction of the print I wanted because someone else might take it. Thankfully, the print was still on the wall when my number was called. I didn’t need a minute. I immediately turned around and carefully took the print, titled, “Lauren Harris Berg” off the wall. I was shown where I could get it carefully packed. I also made plans to buy a frame from the Northern Store. The draw continued until every ticket number was called and all the art works were off the wall. Paulette thanked everyone for making Art Attack 2017 a success.
On the evening of April 24, I received a knock on my door at home. I wasn’t expecting visitors so I wondered who could it be? Upon opening the door, I was greeted by an Inuit co-worker, Susan, and her mother, Hannah. My sealskin parka & vest were ready. They wanted me to try them on and see if any alterations needed to be made. I invited them inside.
|Me standing next to Hannah wearing|
my sealskin parka.
Getting a well-made sealskin parka is an exciting experience. You’re supporting & promoting traditional Inuit clothing. You do have to budget because clothing made from sealskin or any animal is costly. My budget for this project was $2,000 CAD. You also have to sit down with the seamstress and discuss what you want the parka to look like. The last thing you need is patience. Making a parka takes time.
|Me showing the inukshuk design on the|
back of my parka while standing next
to the seamstress, Hannah.
First, I bought the materials I wanted the parka to be made of: black & white sealskins, silver fox fur, leather, inner material, and a metal zipper. The skins, fur, and leather were ordered from Billy Worb Furs Inc., and the inner material & metal zipper were purchased locally. I sat down with Susan & Hannah in my classroom one afternoon in February, showed them everything I bought and discussed my design concept. I kept my design simple. The black sealskins would cover the majority of the parka, silver fox would line the hood, pockets on the sides & one inside, and a large white inukshuk on the back. The inukshuk design is based on a large carving I bought from a local carver. The leather would be used for the pockets and linings. They asked me if I wanted anything else made because I had actually bought much more than I needed. I suggested a sealskin vest and a pair of mitts. Hannah would sow everything.
I tried the parka & the vest and they both fit. I was very impressed by the final products and Susan took a picture of me standing next to Hannah. I thanked her for her hard work and paid her the amount we agreed to. There were enough materials to make complementing mitts. I gave her the green light to go ahead and make them. They would be ready in a week or two.
I began wearing my new warm parka the very next day. People immediately noticed and complimented on how good it looks. They also asked who made it and if they could touch the sealskin. The compliments lasted the entire week and would most likely continue into the month of May. I planned to wear the parka until the snow started to melt.
And finally, National Canadian Film Day occurred on April 19th. Unfortunately, the slow internet connectivity in Nunavut prevented Ryan from checking the Reel Canada live stream. Everyone wanted to know if the students he filmed asking questions to Breakaway star Vinay Virmani actually made it into the broadcast. Reel Canada sent a DVD copy of the live stream to Ryan at the end of the month. He reviewed the footage and found that two students and the Grade 9 teacher were featured in the broadcast and Vinay Virmani did answer the questions they asked. Ryan showed the video to the two students & teacher. They were pleased and enjoyed bragging rights for the next several days.