Students learn Inuit teachings during culture visit

Inuuqatigiit Centre for Inuit Children, Youth and Families visits campus every two weeks
Photo: Ethan Macleod
Trudy Metcalfe-Coe (right) helps a student with a seal skin headband.

The Inuuqatigiit Centre for Inuit Children, Youth and Families offered Inuit teachings in the Mamidosewin Centre on Feb. 7.

Inuuqatigiit comes to Algonquin College every two weeks to reach out to Inuit students and all other Algonquin students and staff. Trudy Metcalfe-Coe, postsecondary education elder, teaches anyone who has an interest and a willingness to learn about Inuit culture.

Metcalfe-Coe and her colleague, Pete Taylor, a postsecondary student support worker, brought Inuit teachings and Inuit crafts. Food, like soup and bannock, was provided by Mamidosewin Centre.

“I don’t just teach exclusively for Inuit people, it’s for everyone,” said Metcalfe-Coe.

The event is about culture, connection with everyone and themselves, and community. Indigenous students have a great culture shock in the city when travelling from the north to the south to pursue their education and Inuuqatigiit focuses on supporting Indigenous students.

Metcalfe-Coe brings her teachings to students to give them a space to grow.

“People are hard on themselves, saying I can’t do this. I tell them, don’t give up after one try,” said Metcalfe-Coe.

Jasmine Evic-Lem is 19 years old and from Pangnirutung, Nunavut. She is an Algonquin College student studying tourism.

She loved being at the event and enjoys being at the Mamidosewin Centre. The crafts and teachings that take place are hard to find elsewhere. She feels at home and comfortable when she is there.

“The environment and vibe is always great. I come here between classes to chill out,” said EvicLem.

As part of the event, they were sewing seal skin headbands with fishing line rather than thread. The students learned how to be versatile with their sewing equipment.

“It’s a good time to meet new students,” said Taylor.

The events are “super important,” said Taylor, because it allows Inuuqatigiit to reach out to students, to bring awareness of their services and to bring Indigenous students and others together.

Inuuqatigiit has more than 120 programs available to those in need, whether it be job postings, family well-being, mental health support services, or events like the Inuit Culture Visit.

“The more we know about each other, the more aware we are of each other’s history and to move forward in a positive manner,” said Metcalfe-Coe.

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