Pauktuutit plans residential school healing workshop in Kugaaruk
“We want to show art and culture as resilient and as a healing tool”
Soon, people who are ready to talk about childhood sexual abuse and negative experiences at residential school will attend workshops in Kugaaruk, a Kitikmeot community of about 600.
The project plans to bring together elderly women and between 60 and 80 youth at the Kugaaruk Ilihakvik to talk about abuse for one week, starting Oct. 15.
The week will involve art, music and dance as part of a pilot project created by Pauktuutit, the national Inuit women’s organization, and Blue Print For Life, a “social work through hip-hop” group.
The collaboration is intended to help people deal with tough issues such as childhood sexual abuse, said Katharine Irngaut, Pauktuutit’s manager of abuse prevention.
“It’s an intensive five days,” Irngaut said, adding that the week may be “very draining emotionally and mentally.”
A community mental health worker will be there to help participants.
Working with Blue Print For Life, which launched a program in Kuujjuaq this past Sept., teaches hip-hop to First Nations and Inuit at-risk youth in the North.
Working with Blue Print For Life was “a really good fit” with Pauktuutit’s goals, Irngaut said.
The Kugaaruk workshops aim to bring different generations together for “intergenerational healing,” to help those who’ve gone through bad experiences talk about it openly, she said.
A community event showcasing the dance routine is planned for the last day of the workshop.
That’s so after the participants learn hip-hop choreography, they can show each other what they’ve learned.
Artistic expression is an important element of the workshop, Irngaut said, because it’s a way for people to express their feelings.
“We want to show art and culture as resilient and as a healing tool,” she said,
Kugaaruk was chosen for the workshop because of Pauktuutit’s community involvement there.
Once the week wraps up, Pauktuutit plans to work on a step-by–step guide to assist community groups in other hamlets to organize similar events on their own.
The Kugaaruk project received money from the federal government’s Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.