Michael grew up living in igloos, sod huts, and tents. He travelled by dog team following the caribou, or living on the sea ice so that his family could hunt seals, whales, walrus, and catch fish to eat. Michael uses his experiences growing up listening to stories told by his grandmother in his storytelling sessions. He weaves these traditional stories with his life stories. Michael has seen tremendous change in the past 60 years. Michael’s sessions are usually 1 hour in length. He can do up to 4 sessions in a school day.
Michael spent many years in several residential schools. The worst of these was at the Catholic Mission in Chesterfield Inlet. It was run by nuns, priests and brothers. Michael talks about some of his experiences in these schools when requested in age/grade appropriate sessions. School had both negative and positive effects on his life, and he talks about both sides but likes to focus on the strength he gained and the learning that brought him to who he is today. Michael’s mother always told him, “No matter what you experience in life take the good and leave the bad behind.” This advice has guided him in his life.
Geraldine Kusugak’s Presentation: Hands on Learning
Michael’s wife Geraldine brings a variety of items that the people can touch, try on, try out and experience. Items such as an Inuit drum, try on an amauti, (a coat for carrying babies) look at and touch tools and implements, crocheted hats, and other items. What’s a Qulliq (stone seal oil lamp)? Look at a scale model of a kayak to see how it is constructed and much more. Geraldine also shows a power point presentation of life in the arctic.