A new Inuktitut songwriting contest is challenging Inuit in Northern Quebec to share their stories about persevering through challenging times — and it's getting support from Nunavik's popular singer-songwriter Beatrice Deer.
The contest, which coincides with the annual School Perseverance Week in Quebec, was launched with a video of Deer, showing shots of herself in a music studio. It is interspersed with interview clips and images of young people playing sports and competing in traditional Inuit games.
"In everyday life, whether we realize it or not, we persevere, just to keep up with our day-to-day lives," said Deer in an interview on Qulliq, CBC Nunavut's morning show.
"Sometimes when life is a little bit more difficult or extremely difficult, we just get up and continue. And that's perseverance."
The winning song will be happy and energetic, said Deer, with a focus on how Inuit can work through challenges that "lead us down the wrong path."
"I haven't lead an easy life," said the singer who is also a program officer with the Aumaaggiivik Nunavik Arts Secretariat.
"I went through many obstacles, but by choosing to take the support of my family, friends and community, I persevered."
To enter the contest, you must be a beneficiary of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, but non-beneficiaries can act as co-authors.
The winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize and a free trip to record the song in a professional studio.
The contest is being organized through the Aumaaggiivik Nunavik Arts Secretariat, which is part of the Avataq Cultural Institute, and through Esuma, a Kativik Regional Government program that aims to support students.