Inuit Elder/drum dancer

David Serkoak

Last updated: June 7, 2023

David was in born on the northern part of Nueltin Lake, Nunavut southwest of Arviat, Nunavut. He lived through hardships from birth into the 1960s, as a result of his family, along with other Ahiarmiut, being moved numerous times by the Federal Government.

David received his primary education in Rankin Inlet and Whale Cove in the 1960s. In the early 70s he worked in the art industry in Arviat to promote the Inuit art from local carvers. He got interested in education when he was a halftime classroom assistant in the 1970s and shortly after he found himself in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories at the Teacher Education Program. In the summer of 1978, shortly after his graduation, he returned to Arviat to start his teaching career. Education is life-long learning for David and in 1993-1994 he received his Bachelor of Education from McGill-Arctic College.

David has worked in many levels in education as a teacher (primary/high schools), vice-principal, principal, Instructor at Nunavut Arctic College, and as a curator at the British Museum of Mankind in England. He was language and cultural instructor at Nunavut Sivuniksavut (NS) a college preparation program for young Inuit in Ottawa. David helped to develop Inuktitut (language) teaching materials at all levels local, regional and territorial.

David is much in demand at regional, national and international events. He regularly gives workshops in drum dancing and drum making across Canada and at conferences around the world. He was a member of the Winter Olympic Symposium Committee in Vancouver and took part in the opening and closing ceremonies and in launching the Aboriginal Pavilion at the games in 2010.

David spends much of his time making Inuit drums and teaching youth about the art of drum dancing. He and his wife Lesley have three grown daughters, Amanda, Meeka and Karla. David spends many hours with his six grandchildren, Briana, Makayla, Kyle, Laura Ryan and Emma.

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video David Serkoak

Talking to youth through drumming

More than 15 years after giving a workshop to young people in Happy Valley Goose Bay, Labrador, Inuit elder David Serkoak returned this past spring to give a workshop in drum making and drum dancing.

NAC media featuring David Serkoak