North

Check out some of the N.W.T.'s best and brightest at the territorial heritage fair

Over 20 students from across the Northwest Territories brought their passions to life this week in Yellowknife, taking part in the territorial heritage fair competition. Take a look at some of the projects, focused on northern history, icons, and culture.

Annual territorial competition took place Thursday and Friday in Yellowknife

Students display their projects for the territorial heritage fair at Yellowknife's Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre. (Emily Blake/CBC)

Students from across the Northwest Territories showed off their own pieces of Canadiana this week in Yellowknife, participating in the annual N.W.T. territorial heritage fair. 

The 23 projects — judged to be the best from school and regional fairs in several communities in the territory — were displayed at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre on Thursday and Friday, where they competed for the territorial crown.

Students were encouraged to take on a project that they had a personal connection to, according to Monique Marinier, the fair's organizer.

"There are so many interesting things here," she said. "You learn things about northern culture, about other cultures... but we also learn something new about any kind of historical facts. You will not only feel their passion, but you're going to learn a lot."

CBC North took in the fair on Friday, speaking with students about their projects, and their inspiration. Here are a few standout entries, with the participants describing them in their own words.

The following quotes have been edited and condensed.

Garra Dryneck, Whati: 'Do Nàke Lanì Nàts'etso'

Garra Dryneck and her project, 'Do Nàke Lanì Nàts'etso.' (Emily Blake/CBC)

My board's called "Do Nàke Lanì Nàts'etso," which translates to "Strong like two people." It's a famous quote said by one of my famous chiefs, Chief Jimmy Bruneau.

It's kind of famous for us, because it just means a person that's able to live in the modern world, but still hold on to their culture. Each of our communities have their own schools, with people working in there as teachers. Then we have where we still get to learn about our culture, and still hold onto it.

Last year, I did a project called "Our Tlicho History." I learned a bit about Chief Jimmy Bruneau, Chief Monfwi, and Elizabeth McKenzie for just a little bit. And then after that, I wanted to learn more about what "strong like two people" really meant... I wanted to learn their background stories, and why he said it, and why Chief Jimmy Bruneau really fought for us. 

"Strong like two people" is really an amazing thing for anyone to be. Not only Tlicho people can be strong like two people. Anyone can do it. Because anyone has two parts to them.

Chizuko Robson-Hamilton, Yellowknife, 'Les Jeux Paralympiques'

Chizuko Robson-Hamilton and her project, 'Les Jeux Paralympiques.' (Emily Blake/CBC)

My project is about the Paralympics [Games]. My connection is that my grandma went to the Paralympics more than once. I talk about her accident, and about how it's important for people to know that people with disabilities can be athletes.

[My grandma] Linda Hamilton did wheelchair racing. She did different distances, but later she just specialized in 100 metres and 200 metre sprints. I interviewed her, and she gave me a whole text about her accident, and I translated it into French.

She was biking on a country road, and a car crossed both lanes and hit her. She was thrown in the air... she broke both femurs and her hip.... and she had to amputate her left leg. 

She had to go through a whole bunch of physiotherapy. The doctors weren't sure she was going to be able to walk, but she did.

I knew a little bit about my grandma, but I didn't know how big of a deal it was to go to the Paralympics. I wanted more details on the accident, and I thought, well, I should just do a project on this and I'll learn a whole bunch of stuff. And I did.

Treyson Smith-Gentleman, Edzo, 'The Tlicho Lost & Found'

Treyson Smith-Gentleman and his project, 'The Tlicho Lost & Found.' (Emily Blake/CBC)

My project is about the Tlicho lost and found. We interviewed young adults, middle aged people, and senior citizens. It's talking about what we're losing, and what we've found over the years.

They lost their language, culture, and traditions, in my eyes, anyways. They found a lot of stuff. Instead of living in teepees, they live in neighbourhoods. Instead of eating traditional food, they eat at fast food restaurants, and things from different provinces, countries, continents.

When I was younger, I used to believe that our culture and traditions aren't being lost. And when I got older, I started realizing that kids my age and older don't speak it at all. It's just for people who are, like, my mother's age. They speak it a lot. Not many people are interested, and if they're not interested, you can't teach it to them.

I really hope that this project can make a difference in our culture. Because if more people do stuff like this, practise the language, then it will be more appealing to people who don't know the language. 

The research was all surveys. Technically, the researchers were the people who wrote the surveys. So it's kind of like the web, but in real life.

Written by Garrett Hinchey, with files from Emily Blake