An afternoon of food, fun and fellowship took place in Cartwright on Dec. 1 when the NunatuKavut Community Council hosted a family cultural camp in the community.
The event was one of three similar initiatives held in the Big Land this year as a means to share and celebrate Southern Inuit knowledge and culture.
The initiatives were made possible thanks to funding from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada’s Family Violence Initiative.
“This is about bringing families together and looking at impacting health and wellbeing on a holistic level,” said NunatuKavut Community Council Health and Social Sector manager Darlene Wall. “We really strongly believe that, when you bring people together in knowledge sharing and cultural awareness, and capacity development of transferring cultural skills, you are offering a safe space for people to come together through the various activities.”
The event was held in the 50+ Club (Marion Centre). A Labrador tent was also erected on the grounds.
There was music, craft making and capelin roasting. Participants made everything from toutons to jam.
Such events increase self-esteem and help families connect with each other, Wall said, which, in turn, helps with violence prevention.
“There were different things happening throughout the day. It was an opportunity to really celebrate the Southern Inuit culture,” she said.
Cartwright resident Lindsey Lethbridge attended the camp with her three young children. It was a fun day, she said, and great to see so many people out celebrating their culture and way of life.
“I enjoy going to these events and learning from people, watching them be proud of who they are as they share stories. There was young and old, yummy toutons with traditional jams, music that makes the soul happy and some seal skin crafting,” she said.
Lethbridge noted everyone was welcome to join in the fun.
“It was awesome to see the young children making their crafts. My kids have them brought home and placed on the Christmas tree with pride,” she said.
Wall said the first family cultural camp took place in August in St. Lewis and marked the 253rd anniversary of the British-Inuit Treaty (of 1765).
That event was also well-attended, she said.
“We did all kind of things from storytelling to traditional craft making... a whole realm of things.”
A similar camp held in September in Labrador West was also a success. Participants learned everything from putting up a Labrador tent to hauling water.
“There was a nature walk, berry picking, food making, children’s activities. It was a time to be together and to celebrate our heritage and culture,” Wall said.
A camp planned for Nov. 23 in L’Anse au Clair was cancelled due to bad weather. It will be rescheduled and similar events will be offered in other communities in the future.
Wall said it’s important to note that, while the NunatuKavut Community Council hosts the camps, they are successful because of the various community partnerships that make the events possible.
“(The partnerships) were instrumental in playing a big part in the camps,” she said.