Representatives from the Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) came to Inuujaq School on Friday, October 20, to talk to the high school students about offshore oil & gas exploration. The QIA doesn’t do the exploration but it does pay attention to the oil & gas companies interested in seeking and extracting the fossil fuels from beneath Arctic waters. For the last several years, the Arctic has been viewed as a large area of undiscovered resources. Many mining & oil companies believe there is a lot of money to be made in the Arctic extracting these resources and this worries the QIA. Extraction means disrupting animal habitats, changing the landscape of certain areas, pollution, and leaving contaminants behind.
The representatives explained the many uses of oil, how it’s discovered & extracted from the land, and how the QIA works with other Inuit organizations on making sure the land & animals are not damaged by mining operations. They also made the students aware that climate change is causing the polar ice caps to melt at a much faster rate than before, opening up many waterways in the Northwest Passage. More open waters mean more ships and more people. The Inuit need to be prepared to control & regulate this increase in activity, otherwise they, the land, and its animals will suffer. The representatives hope some of the students will consider joining the QIA after completing high school.
The territorial election was just around the corner. The vote was set for October 30. Nine candidates were competing for the Quttiktuq seat that covers Arctic Bay, Grise Fiord, and Resolute Bay. The nine candidates were: Rachel A. Qitsualik-Tinsley, Leo Eecherk, Mishak Allurut, Andrew Taqtu, David Akeeagok, Kataisee Attagutsiak, Isaac Shooyook, Gary Kalluk, and Mavis Manik. Several of my students joked that I should have run for office but I said that I wasn’t ready to enter Nunavut politics.
Kataisee came to Inuujaq School on October 26 to talk to the high school students about the upcoming election and her platform. She is the same Kataisee that took me ice chiseling in 2015 and is the head of the local District Education Authority. She spoke in Inuktitut & English, explaining what she will do if she is elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA). She also answered questions posed by students & teachers.
Student Council staged a mock vote on Election Day so that high school students can experience what it’s like to cast a vote. The mock election was held in the math & science classroom. There was a registration table and several voting booths. The students lined up, signed in, were given a piece of paper with the listed candidates, and instructed to walk behind a privacy board, and mark X on their candidate of choice. They then placed their folded ballots in a sealed box. The high school teachers reminded them that in some countries, you’re not allowed to choose your leaders, so it’s important to exercise your democratic rights.
I cast my vote at the local community hall.
|Student Council President casting her vote.|
The newly elected MLAs were announced on October 31. David Akeeagok won the Quttiktuq seat.
3045 Army Cadet Corps staged a Fall Biathlon competition on October 28. The event is designed to train cadets on what to expect when they compete at regional & national biathlon competitions. The school’s gym was converted into an air rifle range with three shooting lanes and three plinker target boxes. Participants would be running & shooting, but not at the same time. The junior cadets had to run twice and shoot three times. The senior cadets had to run three times & shoot three times. All the participants would be timed.
A week before the competition, I walked with the cadets the one-kilometre course they had to run.
The cadets were formed up and I explained the rules of the competition. I also made the cadets aware of the penalties they could incur. Once everyone understood what was expected of them, the cadets were dismissed and three cadets were selected to begin the competition. There were 10 competitors in total. I was timing and recording the penalties. I had the cadets who were waiting around help me replenish the pellet bowls.
The competition lasted about 90 minutes. There was running, shooting, more running, and more shooting. I was glad that I had enough stop watches to have all the competitors start at 00:00. I wouldn’t have to do some crazy math to figure out their total times. Once everything was cleaned up, the cadets were allowed to play some sports. The winners would be announced on Wednesday.
The following day, I walked into my classroom to get ready for the upcoming school week. When I flicked on the lights I saw my desk, a guitar, and many office supplies covered with green & orange gift wrapping paper. “Well, that’s a wrap,” I commented to myself. Apparently, someone decided to make my birthday memorable. Thank you! I took pictures of the spectacle before unwrapping everything. I was glad I came in on the weekend. I didn’t want to spend Monday morning unwrapping everything.
Speaking of birthdays, JF made me a delicious marble cake. Thanks!