The first Inuit resource centre to open in Western Canada held a grand opening to welcome the public through its doors in Winnipeg on May 4.
The Tunngasugit Inuit Resources Centre is located on Sargeant Avenue and is operated by Tunnasugit Inc.
The organization’s original executive board is comprised of board members Steve and Jackie Massey, Gail Wallace, Maxine Angoo and Nikki Komaksiutiksaq.
The centre’s Inuit outreach co-ordinator Maxine Anguk said Tunngasugit Inc. is committed to enhancing the quality of life for Inuit who live in Winnipeg, as well as the many Inuit who come to the city on medical travel throughout the year.
She said It was amazing to see so many Inuit come to see a space they can call their own and, once inside, be surrounded by Inuit art, Inuit food and fellow Inuit.
“Tunngasugit Inc. is focused on achieving its goals at the resource centre by using culturally-relevant programs and services, working through language barriers, and orienting Inuit to southern culture and a new environment,” said Anguk.
“It’s not an easy transition when you move from a small town to a big city.
“We’re here to help with cultural access, education and programming, as well as ongoing health-and-social-services assistance, and employment-and-income assistance.
“We’re also here to help Inuit moving to Winnipeg navigate housing, as well as helping them with child-and-family services when needed and more.”
Anguk said the biggest hit among those attending the grand opening celebration on May 4 was the quaq (frozen caribou).
She said all the quaq they had on-hand was completely gone within the hour.
“Everyone spoke in Inuktitut to each other, and we were all smiling and laughing, which made us feel like we were home in our own communities, ” said Anguk.
“I would like to let people know that we’re in need of donations of meat such as caribou, beluga, fish, seal, etc., and Calm Air doesn’t charge if people send us country foods. Please get in touch with us if you’re willing to donate some to us and we can set something up.
“Also, we will be hosting a free concert at the West End Cultural Centre (586 Ellice Avenue) on May 18, with the show scheduled to get underway 7 p.m.
“We will be presenting talented Inuit female performers Nikki Komaksiutiksaq, Anita Issaluk, Aasiva and Angela Amarualik, with our headlining performer set to be Kelly Fraser.”