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Have you ever wondered what incredible things could happen when you least expected it? If not, then I have a story for you! I have always loved sewing and as a newer resident of Gameti, Northwest Territories, I learned there was a need for some updating of the sewing skills of local residents. Sewing technology and practices have changed dramatically from the days of our grandmothers with all kinds of new and amazing sewing machines, notions, gorgeous fabric and sewing techniques. So, with the support of the Gameti Community Government, I set out to share this knowledge. In a community of almost 300, I expected about three to four people to register, but it turned out that 12 registered, ranging in age from 19 to late 50’s. As word spread, a waiting list of over 15 more students has been collected (and counting)!

Cindy Gon with her northern lights pillowcase.
Cindy Gon with her northern lights pillowcase.

From a meagre beginning of learning to thread a sewing machine, the knowledge gained allowed our project list to grow. Over the course of two months, the students completed 24 pillowcases, 20 bingo bags, 35 hand bags, 10 knife cases for hunting, 12 table runners, 8 wall hangings and four large quilts. Many students happily shared their projects with family and friends.

An important part of the program was community service. We sewed projects for elders over 70 years old. We made handbags, hunting knife bags and pillowcases. The creations were very well received and appreciated by all. It was very fulfilling to all of us to take part in this service project and to give back.

The students quickly discovered what I’ve always known: that sewing can help us so much in life. It allows us to be creative, lovingly make special gifts for others, bond with other people having the same interest, occupy us when things aren’t always going well in our lives, and, most importantly, gives us a sense of accomplishment and raises self-esteem.

Each student felt so proud of what they were able to achieve and they blossomed before my eyes. The confidence they gained throughout is truly priceless! The continuous laughter and stories also brought joy and happiness to us all.

Lynn Turcotte

For more information contact: Lynn Turcotte, Instructor and Friend, Gameti Sewing Program, 705-477-3941 (cell and text) westley@efni.com

The 2015 program was made possible through the generous financial support of Dominion Diamond Ekati Corporation, Tlicho Government, MACA Youth Program and through the Government of the NWT (Education, Culture and Employment). Without them, this program would not have happened. Thank you to each of them.