Thursday, March 26, 2009

Learning About Another Culture

Hi Everyone! I have not gotten buried in the snow. The frozen north is beginning to thaw and life here has been very busy. We had a week in February where the students had a break and the teachers all did professional development activities for the full week. I did more Picturing Writing and had great fun creating lots of masterpieces to frame when I go back down south.
Jacques and I joined curling and almost made it to the finals in our curling league. It was more by luck that skill if you saw how we curled...especially me. I have fallen on my butt more that enough times this past month. We went in a tournament and had some really close games but lost again. It was great fun hanging out with friends and watching others curl.
This week and next our school is really into lots of cultural activities. It is Nunavut's 10th birthday on April 1st. We have a big assembly that day and are doing lots of Inuit activities throughout the next week. We had a tent in our library and elders talked about traditions when living in a tent and the lighting of the qulliq (spelling may be wrong). That is the lamp to light their tent or igloo. It now is used in ceremonies such as the first day of school. One of our staff knows how to light and keep the qulliq going. She might try to teach me sometime.
This is the tent in our library and my class is in back learning how to do beading. It was a way to learn patience as the elder instructor told the children. It was very trying to my patience when I had to thread 21 tiny needles over and over!
Anyone want a piece of frozen raw arctic char???
The tray on the table is the frozen, raw char. The Inuit staff and the elders loved it. I had a piece. It was like eating sushi. The stuff in the packages are whale blubber -maattaq(I think that is close to the right spelling). I tried it once and that was enough for me. It is very chewy and fishy tasting. Some people like to dip it in soya sauce. The next picture shows raw caribou, raw char and the blubber. The square container behind contains bannock which the students got to help make as well. Yes! That is the leg bone right on the table and they use the knife to hack off pieces. The knife is called an ulu. They are a great knife to use in the kitchen. Yes Charlotte! It was raw meat sitting on the table in our staff room! I thought of you when I saw it there on the table.(what would David think, too??)
We also did some square dancing. The dances were big events in the communities. There are some elders and staff teaching the students how to dance. Our class is going to do a dance for the school assembly. For those that know me...yes I always get into the dancing!

I think I am getting as many learning experiences as my students. We are having lots of fun learning together.