Tulugak: Inuit Raven Stories




Are you my Mommy?

Social Sciences (family relationships)

Ask students to make a list of the words they use for their parents and grandparents (Mom, Mommy, Dad, Papa, Nana, Grandma). List other family terms on the board (aunt, uncle, cousin, first cousin, niece, nephew, brother-in-law, half-sister). Then ask students to guess what the Inuktitut words for family might be. After you get a few guesses, watch the following video together, and look at the worksheet (link beneath video) that accompanies it: http://icor.ottawainuitchildrens.com/node/81

Teacher prompt: What words do you use to talk about your family? What do you call your mother, father, or grandparents? 


There's no such thing as a free lunch

Social Sciences (culture comparison, geographic distribution of food)

Healthy Living (components of a healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner)

Math (budgeting to purchase food)

Ask students to use the following web site to compare food costs in the North and South for the following basic food items. You can also ask students to calculate how much they would need to spend if they bought enough of each item for a week for a family of four. What would they need to buy to supplement these items for a healthy diet?

Compare: milk, oranges, apples, sugar, cereal, bread, bananas, pasta.


Teacher prompt: What do you need to eat for a healthy breakfast?


Nuuk York, Nuuk York

Social Sciences (geography, culture, environment)

Ask students to create a drawing or collage comparing Iqaluit and Nuuk. Include buildings, landscape, arts and crafts, photos of people, a map, and wildlife.



Teacher prompt: Would you rather live in Iqaluit or Nuuk? Why?



Will you play with me?

Children everywhere play games. Watch this video that presents some Inuit games: http://icor.ottawainuitchildrens.com/node/21. Ask groups of students to invent a game of their own and teach it to the class.

Teacher prompt: Games are fun, but they teach us important skills too. What skills might Inuit children learn from the games they play?


I'd rather play with the box

Arts (making a game)

Have students learn to make a Bone and Stick game with ordinary classroom objects. You will need scissors, a pencil, a cardboard tube, string, and a hole punch or tape. The instructions are found here: http://icor.ottawainuitchildrens.com/node/23.

Teacher prompt: Do you remember your favourite toys from when you were little? Were they from a store, or did you make them yourself from objects around the house?



Why is the sky blue?

English (writing and reading myths and stories)

We often make up stories to help explain things we don't understand. It can be as simple as "my friend didn't talk to me today because she doesn't like me any more" to "the sky is blue because the man who lives in the moon painted it with a giant paintbrush". Inuit culture includes many stories about Raven and his interaction with the world. Think of something that is hard to explain – it could be a cultural tradition or a scientific fact. Write a mythological story to explain it. You can read your story aloud to the class or even choose a few stories to act out as a class.

Here is a link to an animated version of an Inuit creation story (click on the fish on the right to go forward; there is a link to download the story as a Word doc): http://mythicjourneys.org/bigmyth/myths/english/2_inuit_full.htm

Teacher prompt: What is your favourite story? What makes it a good story?


Play it again, Simeonie

Music (appreciation, critical listening skills, composition/performance)

The Qaggiavuut Award is given for outstanding achievement in the Nunavut performing arts. In 2010, it was given to Simeonie Keenainak, who plays the Inuit button accordion: http://www.qaggiavuut.com/apps/authoring/dspPage.aspx?page=awards

He plays a unique style of Celtic music that was adapted from music played by the whalers who first came to the Arctic. Ask students if they can think of any popular songs that incorporate aspects of traditional music (country music is one example, often incorporating ballads from Europe; another musical category that does this is called "contemporary world music"). Ask students to choose two different songs (perhaps a classical piece and a pop song) and combine them in some way. You could also ask students to compose a new piece, based on the two songs.

Inuit music: http://www.inuitartalive.ca/index_e.php?p=126

Nuuk Posse (Greenland Inuit rap group): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2xdYseLoRE

Teacher prompt: Do you like mash-ups? Do you think they add something new to the music scene, or do they just "ruin" the original songs? What elements of traditional or modern music did you hear in Tulugak: Inuit Raven Stories?


All the world's a stage

Social Studies (human systems – construction process, regulations)

Math (budgeting, accounting, fundraising)

Arts (the elements of a good Performing Arts Centre)

Fundraising is underway to build a Nunavut Performing Arts Centre (http://www.qaggiavuut.com). What is involved in the planning and construction of a good arts centre? Ask students to brainstorm the steps involved in this project, from inspiration to ribbon-cutting. Then ask them to pick one particular aspect of the process (construction on permafrost, permission from authorities, raising funds, acoustic design, parking and accessibility…) and write up a report on some of the considerations. They can share the report with the class in order to understand everything involved in this type of project. Perhaps your class or school could consider organizing a bake sale or other fundraiser to help with this project.

Teacher prompt: Why is it important for Nunavut to have a Performing Arts Centre?


Diamonds are Forever

Arts (music)

French immersion (writing or reading)

Listen to the cover of Rihanna's Diamonds in Inuktitut (the lyrics are below the video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQzk1b0lKAQ.

Compare the cover to the original: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUD26iTq2p8.

Ask students to work together to write a verse and the chorus of an English song in French, or vice versa. Discuss some of the challenges involved in making lyrics in another language fit the original music. For English-only classes, ask students to compare the lyrics in Inuktitut and English and discuss what problems the person who did the cover version might have faced. Which parts might have been hardest to translate?

Teacher prompt: Were there songs that you recognized in Tulugak: Inuit Raven Stories that had been translated into Inuktitut?


How it all began

English (writing)

Creation stories are a part of almost every culture. Common elements in creation stories include a supreme being, division of the world into "above" and "below", and involvement of animals in the act of creation (http://www.cs.williams.edu/~lindsey/myths/myths.html). Discuss the creation story presented in Tulugak: Inuit Raven Stories as a class. Then ask students to write a creation story – about their own birth, the birth of a country, or the birth of their pet, for example. (Note: students could choose to work in groups and do a video presentation or create a play instead.)

Teacher prompt (after the play): How did Raven help create the Earth?


It's a small world

English (writing – comparative essay)

Social Sciences (culture)

Ask students to read the latest issue of Nipiit, the Inuit youth magazine online (http://niyc.ca/nipiit/nipiit-magazine-6). Write an essay or make a table comparing what you find in Nipiit to what you might find in your favourite magazine. Look for things that are similar as well as different.

Teacher prompt: What things do you have in common with Inuit youth?


One planet to share

Environmental Science (conservation, climate change)

In Tulugak: Inuit Raven Stories, Raven plays in garbage left lying around by humans. Litter is one of many ways in which humans damage the Earth. Human activity is also having an impact on our climate, and weather patterns around the world are changing. One area where this is becoming increasingly obvious is in the Arctic. The sea is warming, and this is affecting polar bears, other Arctic animals and Inuit. How can you convince people to care about this issue? Explore some of the ways in which climate change is affecting the North in particular: http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/where_we_work/arctic/what_we_do/climate/

Then choose one of the issues (habitat loss, melting sea ice, changing ecosystems, human activity, loss of traditional way of life, etc.) and create a poster or video, write a song or poem, or come up with a persuasive speech to help people realize that there is a problem. It is also important to propose solutions, so that people can feel a sense of hope, and know that they can make a difference in bringing about change.

Teacher prompt (after the play): What environmental messages did you hear in Tulugak: Inuit Raven Stories?