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Iqaluit woman reconnects with late father through stitching

An Iqaluit woman is reconnecting with her past by hand stitching traditional clothing.

'[He] left a legacy for generations to come,' says Annie Petaulassie

Annie Petaulassie is a retired school teacher of 33 years. She says now she's got more time for her intricate sewing which emulates her father Peter Pitseolak's work. (Michael Salomonie/CBC)

An Iqaluit woman is reconnecting with her late father by recreating some of his beadwork captured in old photos.

Annie Petaulassie is a retired school teacher of 33 years. She says retirement has given her more time for her intricate sewing which emulates her father Peter Pitseolak's work. Pitseolak was well known for his photography, but he also beaded. He died in the 1970s, when Petaulassie was a young woman.

Petaulassie is using old photos of her father's work, taken by her family members, to recreate the pieces. (Michael Salomonie/CBC)

"My father began making these chest-beaded plates on amautis [traditional parkas]. This is making this customary practice popular again," said Petaulassi in Inuktitut.

Petaulassie is using old photos, taken by her family members, to recreate the pieces. Some date back to 1945.

Petaulassie says she hopes her work will leave a lasting legacy for her own family. (Michael Salomonie/CBC)

But she said the process hasn't always been easy. 

"These historical pieces designed by my father ... it was all before my time. I've lost that formal and traditional knowledge," said Petaulassie.

She said she gets help stitching from the elders in her community. (Michael Salomonie/CBC)

Petaulassie and her family are originally from Cape Dorset. Her mother didn't get the chance to teach Petaulassie how to properly sew, as she died when Petaulassie was only 15 years old. After her mother's death, Petaulassie was sent to attend school in Iqaluit. 

"All I can do now is imitate what they've done based on the pictures that my father left behind," she said, adding she can still get help from the elders in her community. 

Petaulassie says it's difficult to bead the pieces designed by her father, because she's lost the formal traditional knowledge. (Michael Salomonie/CBC)

Petaulassie said she's encouraged to continue her stitching by the artwork done today in Cape Dorset.

"My father ... left a legacy for generations to come," said Petaulassie.

She said she also hopes her work will leave a lasting legacy for her own family.

With files from Michael Salomonie

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