The Canadian Inuit Dog
Qimmivut means "Our Dogs" in Inuktitut, the language of Inuit. Qimmivut is a land-based mentoring program of the Ilisaqsivik Society - a community-based Inuit organization and Canadian charity in Clyde River, Nunavut, dedicated to the promotion of mental, physical, and spiritual healing and wellness.
Below is a description of the Qimmivut workshop as copied from the Ilisaqsivik website with their kind permission:
"The Qimmivut (Our Dogs) workshop introduces Clyde River youth and young adults to Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) through dog teaming and land-based hunting and camping trips facilitated by experienced mushers, hunters, and elders. Musher instructors are paired with youth apprentices for several expeditions to traditional camps of historical and cultural importance. Traveling by dog team provides an excellent opportunity to transfer IQ, including practical navigation, travel, camping, tool making and harvesting skills. Participants learn specific skills such as caring for and working with dogs, commands, how to make dog harnesses, leads, whips, and backpacks, safe winter travel and camping, and hunting and fishing. In the evening, the group stays in cabins, where lessons taught on the land during the day are reinforced through discussion, Inuktitut vocabulary review, and storytelling. Instructors also talk about the history of dogs in the community, and the historical significance of dogs for Inuit culture and traditional livelihoods. Through a combination of hands-on learning and informal social time, Inuit societal values including building a strong relationship with the land, the value of hard work and teamwork, and having respect for oneself and others, are reinforced. Overall, the workshop helps reaffirm and teach IQ, as well as promote the development of mentoring relationships between Elders, adults and youth."
Why donate to Qimmivut?
Qimmivut is a program for Inuit youth and young adults who are referred to the Ilisaqsivik Society, a community-initiated and community-based Inuit organization and Canadian charity located in Clyde River, Nunavut. Ilisaqsivik is dedicated to promoting community wellness by providing space, resources, and programming that help families and individuals find healing and develop their strengths.
Clyde River or Kangiqtugaapik which means "Nice Little Inlet" is a small hamlet on the east coast of Baffin Island, in Canada's eastern Arctic. It has a population of less than 1,000. The median age of its inhabitants is 21. Nearly 50% of its inhabitants are under the age of 20.
Adolescence is a challenging time for many teenagers. These young people must deal with a lack of recreational activities, few public places to hang out in together, and a shortage of work opportunities. Many struggle with the problem of suicide. According to Ilisaqsivik's website, every teen in Clyde River has friends and relatives who have committed suicide, and many teens and young adults worry about how to counsel peers with suicidal thoughts or feelings. Offering meaningful programs and activities for youth is thus critically important, and Ilisaqsivik strives to meet this need in a variety of ways.
How you can help
I am donating the proceeds of my book to Qimmivut. Please, help by making a donation to Qimmivut by clicking the link https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/ilisaqsivik-society/
Photograph from Vincent Jacobsen collection.
Courtesy Library and Archives Canada
Photos of Qimmivut courtesy of the Ilisaqsivik Society