The opening of the Symposium after many months of preparation; Martha Michaels, an Elder from Iqaluit demonstrated the lighting of the qulliq with her daugther, Ann Henson, her grand daughter and her great grand daughter at her side. She talked about traditionnal education and how Inuit used to learn by watching their mother and their elder. Now she said, in the school system, children are learning by being told what to do.
To me, the most inspiring presentation was the one Edna Elias, the Commissioner of Nunavut did. She asked serious questions: what is a leader? Someone who encourage people, pass their knowledge, has creative ideas for making things better in the communities. She talked about her role models and ask us to think about ours. "Women have a big role in society;they are teachers and leaders, caretakers. Those are hard roles for a person." She told that her leadership skills came from her experience in the residential school in Inuvik where she had to take care of younger girls, making sure they were well dressed and that they were doing well in this strange environment. Leadership can be demanding, discouraging and frustrating but by trying and trying you finally succeed. "Look in your community and you will see the women being the driving force, let's take credit for it." She then ask the women in the audience to look at their neighbor and congratulate them. And finally she said: "Don't forget to take care of yourself in your leadership."