Photo: Kelly Kamo McHugh

It Makes a Village: Okpik airs Aug 5 & 6

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Okpik: Little Village in the Arctic , a new documentary film produced by Caroline Cox follows the forging of a new kind of place in the Beaufort Delta.

Okpik: Little Village in the Arctic airs tonight (August 5) in Inuvialuktun on CBC Gem and August 6 in English on CBC Manitoba. With other air dates likely to be determined later.

When Director, Kylik Kisoun Taylor’s tourism business was an early victim of the COVID-19 pandemic and he was forced to sell most of its assets, he and his family managed to turn this seemingly crippling loss into a clean slate for a new adventure.

Tiffany Ayalik and Ben McGregor. Photo: Kelly Kamo McHugh

The intergenerational traumas inflicted on the people of the high arctic led to disconnection from homeland, culture, technology, language and so much more. It is a kind of irony that Kisoun Taylor’s COVID-19 losses led him to a reconnection with all of these things.

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Forging relationships over time and across cultures, and true to his diverse heritage, Kisoun Taylor brought techniques nearly lost a century ago into the modern age. Fusing traditional and modern materials and technology and sharing the experience between Indigenous and non-Indigenous builders, cultural memory-holders and filmmakers he created an inspired camp that can shine light on a better way to ensure housing and food security for the people of the Beaufort Delta Region.

With support from the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment’s NWT Film Commission, Producer CarolineCox , Directors Tiffany Ayalik and Kylik Kisoun Taylor, members of his family and Inuvialuit Elders worked together to document the building of this historic cultural crossroads.

The resulting film is “Using local materials and traditional knowledge Inuit/Gwich’in Hunter, Kylik Kisoun will re-establish and re-imagine the lost practice of building an Inuvialuit sod-house with the intention of creating housing security in his traditional territory of the Beaufort Delta.

Kylik builds his future at his off-grid camp and creates an opportunity for language and cultural revitalization.”