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Ethel Pijogge Memorial Festival honours Hopedale community member

Snow sculpting is a popular competition in the Ethel Pijogge Memorial Festival.
Snow sculpting is a popular competition in the Ethel Pijogge Memorial Festival. - Submitted

Avertok, “place of whales,” Whale Bay, was originally settled by the Inuit around the year 1500. When the Moravian missionaries returned to Avertok after a failed mission in 1752, they renamed the community Hopedale from the German, Hoffental in the “hope” that this time would be more successful.

Ethel Margaret Pijogge was born 1922 in Hopedale and then moved to the tiny community of Upatik north of Hopedale. She was, according to her granddaughter, Ethel Hunter, and daughter-in-law, Ida Pijogge, a “happy-go-lucky person” with a tremendous love of dogs. Her husband, Joshua Manasse Pijogge (1917-1978) used to have dog teams and raced them all the time.

Ethel Pijogge and her son, Herbert, arrive home in Hopedale with a seal on board their Komatik.
Ethel Pijogge and her son, Herbert, arrive home in Hopedale with a seal on board their Komatik.

Ethel was a well-loved and respected community member. She often took people and pets into her home. She was active in the Moravian Church and served as a chapel servant there. She also acted as a mid-wife for many years and even helped to bring her first granddaughter into the world.

Ethel was a tall, hazel-eyed lady who always walked, and sometime ran, wherever she had to go. One of her many loves was roaming the hills to pick berries.

A friend of hers, Martha Winters Abel, would often drop by her place for a chat and a cup of tea. Ethel told Martha that because of her ancestry and white looks, Martha should call her “KalunajuK”, which is Inuktitut for “white woman.” Martha, being young at the time, could not pronounce the name properly, so it came out sounding like “hello.” Thereafter, whenever Martha would see Ethel, she greeted her by saying hello.

Ethel passed away in 1996, and shortly thereafter a festival was named in her honour. Before her death this event involved only dog-team races and was called the Ethel Pijogge Dog-Team Races. After her passing, this annual winter event, which usually takes place in late March or early April and runs for a week, was re-named in her honour and expanded to include much more. This year’s events included, besides dog team racing, a traditional dress contest, target and skeet shooting, beauty pageant, snow sculptures, a fishing derby, and a “Labrathon.” Also included were a community feast and breakfast as well as bingo.

Hopedale’s OkâlaKatiget (“Something being said”) Society just recently held the 23rd annual Ethel Pijogge Memorial Festival. The Labrathon is a race against the clock and involves a team of four with two members being pulled along in a toboggan by two on snowshoes. Four stops involve lots of sweat as the team must first set a trap, auger a hole through the harbor ice, saw wood, and then split, start a fire, and boil a kettle before making the final mad dash to the finish line. This year’s winning team, for the second-year in a row, was captained by William Hunter. The team shared the first prize of $1,200. Ethel’s granddaughter, Janet Pijogge, was a member of this team.

2018 winners:                                                                                                                                                 

Skeet Shooting: Allan Jensen

Target Shooting: Men, Albert Tuglavina; Women, Jenna Flowers

Fishing Derby: James Frieda

Labrathon: William Hunter Team

Traditional Dress Competition: 5 and under, Miguel Rice; 6-12, Kennedy Winters; 13-25, William Tuglavina; 26-49, Tracy Dicker; 50+, Agnes Abel

Snow Sculpture Contest: Allan Vincent

Dog Team Races: Rex Voisey, Makkovik

Beauty Pageant: Under 18, Eden Gear; 19+, Male, Andreas Jararuse; Women, Dawn Winters

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