June 12, 2024
Interview with Thomassie Mangiok on Qajaq

Tell us a little about yourself? Who are you and what are you passionate about?

I am a fulltime school administrator, a graphic designer on the side, and I also work on things related to our culture and language. I am passionate about sharing our understanding of how things work, through experience or through documentation. At this moment, I am really into being in the water on a qajaq and then sharing skills with others.

When did you start this passion/activity and how far this passion brings you up?

The first time I tried a qajaq was years ago, I loved it but couldn’t continue because we were ill-equipped, and I didn’t have much confidence in myself. But since we were given a chance to learn how to safely use a qajaq, and then also became well equipped, I’ve been looking for any occasion to be on the water when it’s not too cold.

Which kind of recommendations/advice will you give to youth who would like to learn?

Prioritize safety, so learn from those with experience. There are online videos to learn from as well. Share your interests with others so the demand for qajaq

experience can be brought to you, or else you can find a way to come to one of the trainings in Nunavik.

When you are struggling with something (related to your art or not), what helps you overcoming these difficulties and moving forward?

Accepting imperfections helps, along with focusing on the fun part of working. When I make illustrations, I stress over the deadlines and the quality of my work when I should focus on the positive impact that they will have. Or when learning a qajaq use technique is taking more time than another person, I focus on my own journey, I will do what I can and enjoy it.

Do you want to share anything else with the youth in Nunavik?

We can have a lot of fun and learn; we can do anything that any other person can do in the whole world. All it takes is work and dedication, you can make it happen.

People make things happen, make Nunavik more fun than it is for you and for others.

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What is Uvikkait Ullumi?

Uvikkait Ullumi is a newspaper that highlights youth achievements, initiatives and concerns in the region. This project also passes on relevant information and promotes plenty of opportunities in order to inspire and empower the younger generations to become more active in the region. The newspaper is offered in both Inuktitut and English.