A four-week cabin-building workshop in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut and hosted by the Inuit non-profit Ilitaqsiniq, is teaching youth and young men in the community valuable trade skills while getting them out onto the land amid the summer months.
The community is situated along the west coast of Hudson’s Bay.
During summertime in the territory, many Inuit families spend days or weeks out on the land, enjoying the weather, harvesting traditional foods and spending time with family and loved ones, often in a camp or at a cabin.
Basic carpentry and learning how to build a cabin ranging from the floor plan to cutting among other related lessons were all a part of the workshop.
“A lot of summer vacations are just people staying extended periods of time at the cabin with their families, and enjoying the land,” said Qamaniq Siksik, the Rankin Inlet program coordinator for Ilitaqsiniq.
“It’s a way to reconnect with their culture, being out on the land at the cabin, and not everybody knows how to make a cabin. So I think this program is going to encourage people to reconnect with the land.”
During the workshop itself, the participants dove right into the work.
“Everyone’s having a good time, at the beginning, we all become one when we start,” said Simeon Dion, a contract instructor for the cabin building program.
“A couple of guys are already talking about building their own cabin. They feel comfortable measuring and cutting.”
Dion added that one older participant said he plans to make a tent frame and drying rack for his mom.
For the last three weeks the program has been finishing at 3 p.m. every weekday, but according to Siksik, the participants when they reach that point, want to keep going on with the current project.
“I think they’re really enjoying this program and are passionate about what they’re doing,” said Siksik.
“They just can’t believe this is a program that’s available to them. I think it’s super amazing.”
They both agreed that they could see with their own eyes how much they learned just from this one year.
“You can just see from the one program, they learn a little bit but they can also extend further, for other projects or for themselves,” said Dion.