The Iqaluit Qajaq Society is an initiative led by Students on Ice alumnus Robert Comeau to teach and promote the sport of Qajaq-ing (kayak) among Iqaluit youth.
Originating in the Arctic, the qajaq is a symbol of Inuit ingenuity. Although there has been a recent surge in interest (even qajaqing competitions!) in Greenland, the sport has largely disappeared from the Canadian Arctic.
Inspired by his experience on SOI’s 2015 Arctic Expedition and with generous funding from Polar Knowledge Canada through their Polar Inspiration Grant Program, Robert has partnered with Iqaluit resident and polar adventurer Sarah McNair-Landry to reintroduce traditional qajaqing within their community. This project includes the following key objectives:
- Cultivate an open and positive community that practices Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (Inuit traditional knowledge),
- Develop qajaq-ing and traditional qajaq-building skills within the community, and
- Promote healthy living among Iqaluit youth
The Iqaluit Qajaq Society launched in the summer of 2016 with a series of qajaq paddling workshops among Iqaluit community members to promote the job of paddling, help paddlers become certified and grow participants.
Future goals include competitions and qajaq excursions to help foster the joy of qajaqing.
This project is in the initial stages. Updates will be posted here throughout 2016.