It didn’t take long for people to notice my windburn tan when I arrived at Inuujaq School on Tuesday, May 24. The tan wasn’t the extreme “raccoon face” kind, but still noticeable. Everyone wanted to know how my trip to Ikpikituarjuk turned out. I shared some stories and showed some pictures in my classroom. Some of my students shared their stories about participating in the fishing derby.
The award ceremony was at the community hall at 7pm. A feast would precede the award ceremony. The fish that were entered into the contest were displayed at the front while the middle of the hall was completely covered with pieces of various country foods. (Large tarps were placed on the floor and the country food was placed on top). The food consisted of raw seal, narwhal, and walrus. A large audience sat around the country food.
I walked up to the tables at the front to photograph the fish that were entered into the contest. Each fish was labelled with the lake they came from and the person who caught them. The arctic chars on display were really big, measuring two feet, at least. The judges probably had to measure each fish at least twice because they all looked the same length. There were 3rd, 2nd, and 1st cash prizes for the longest fish from each of the chosen lakes. I don’t think there was a prize for having the largest fish overall.
|Country food up close.|
The feast began once the majority of people were sitting down. Everyone was welcomed in Inuktitut and English. An elder said a quick prayer and then everyone “attacked” the country food with hungry hands and plastic bags. I still had some country food at home so I didn’t help myself to any.
I was hoping the award ceremony would happen first because I couldn’t stay for the whole thing. One of my classes had written their final exam today and I needed to get them corrected. Two more would follow during the week. The last full week of May was all about final exams & report cards. I had to get everything done before the next weekend because of another commitment (more on that in a future post). In the end, I didn’t stay for the winners to be announced. The cash prizes ranged from a few hundred dollars to three thousand. I was told that in other communities, the cash prizes are even higher.
Congratulations to all those who won this year. Maybe I’ll participate in next year’s fishing derby and try my luck.
End of Fishing Derby & Camping Trip mini-series.