On the radio I learned that most people can remember to the time when Eskimo Point (now Arviat) only had two buildings. The first bulding was a company called the “Northern.” The other building was the Catholic Church. At this time, most of the people still lived at Maguse River.
People who lived near Eskimo Point used to pick willows for fire. The people who phoned in on the radio told us that people had to bring in lots of willows for warmth. Collecting willows was done near the old airstrip.
I was thrilled to see a photo of my mom’s parents Alariaq and Pittau during class. I first saw this photo about a year and half ago from a cousin who had received a picture of them from a photographer.
When I first saw my grandparents in this photo, I finally felt complete because I have…
Another exciting day. Frank finished the timeline history of Arviat. In the afternoon, Silas joined us and we talked about problem-solving. For the first time in my life the “knot of hands” activity completely failed…Twice. I’ve got to rethink my group skills seriously. I say goodbye to workshop participants. Some of them I’ll see again in August, but I am sad to leave Martha and Silas.
"Second Workshop: The Media" by Elizabeth Mukyungnik
“Nanisiniq Vol.2, Skills of Interviewing Interviewee’s” gave me a lot to think about. For instance: how to interview; what not to do during an interview; how to deal with difficult questions; and how to stay on topic. Tonight we are going on the radio with John Main.
Wish us luck! Yesterday we had our first media training workshop with John Main and Eric Anoee at the Arviat Media Center, and so we are ready to put our skills to the test for our first radio interview this evening (Tuesday, June 15th) at 9pm on John Main’s radio show. This is a local radio channel and will be broadcasted to 3,000 listeners in Arviat, Nunavut. The participants are looking forward to sharing the project and answering questions from the community. Check our blogsite tomorrow for the audio footage and pictures from the very first interview.
For Inuit takurngaqtaq literally means encountering something for the first time. This site is an exploration of takurngaqtaq between Inuit and First Nations, Whalers, Explorers and Traders. This journey is guided and supported by the knowledge and experiences of Inuit Elders and the exploration of history. A Historical Exploration toolkit provides context and supports for the research process as well as instructional modules for use by educators.
Many of the old photographs of Arviat, Nunavut from the 1930s and 1940s were taken by Reveron D.B Marsh. Marsh captured images of Arctic landscapes, igloos, and wildlife. However, his most interesting photographs are ones of the Inuit. When we looked at Marsh’s…
"The Significance of a Piece of Paper" by Elizabeth Mukyungnik
Here is Elizabeth’s piece on identity:
I was born in Churchill, Manitoba, but my parents are originally from Aahiangmiuut, also known as Ennadai Lake. According to my Dad’s birth certificate he was born in 1934. However, this date of birth is just an estimate that the government gave to him so that he could have a birth certificate. He does not know his real birth date. The government was assigning birth certificates to the Inuit as quickly as possible. My parents did not ask questions, they just made up the birth years. And so, it is quite possible that my Dad was born before 1934. The situation is similar for my Mom.
Both of my parents have strong memories of Ennadai Lake. They remember when they saw the first Qablunaq (white people) camped out at Aahiangmiuut. At the time, my parents said that the Qablunaq did not treat them very well. The Qablunaq especially treated the elders poorly and blamed them for many problems. My parents recall this to be a significant memory in their history.
After a presentation by David on the importance of identity, each of the participants were asked to write a short piece on their own identity:
I was born in Churchill, Manitoba and my parents are Jacob Tubloo Mukyungnik and Mary Mukyungnik. My father was born in Ennadai Lake, but I do not know where my mother was born.
What my passions are in life are not that clear yet. I feel that I need more knowledge and life experience before I can decide what it is that I want to do. But I do know that I like to exercise and work out on the land, for instance hunting and preparing dried caribou. I also like to help out my family members. When I am helping my family, I feel happy and have a lot of energy. This tells me that helping my family is something that I like doing. When I am with my family I feel like we are equal. I also feel more connected when I am with them.
I have asked my birth mother where she grew up, and how they came to this town called Arviat that we call today. My birth mother comes from Ennadai Lake and she faced many harships through her life. She told me a small story about how her parents arranged a marriage for her to a man she hadn’t…
This past weekend we decided to ‘get out of town’. I went with my friend Bobby Suluk, who worked with me in 1978-79 on the Polar Gas Pipeline enquiry, to his cabin on the road to Maguese River. I couldn’t believe that there is now a road going north from Arviat. We stopped and took Bobby’s skidoo and kamotik the rest of the way to his cabin.
So here are some pictures. The first picture shows Bobby standing next to the kamotik that has a wooden box on top of it to sit in, and also to take supplies when it is pulled behind the snowmobile. Notice that there is no cowling over the engine of the snowmoble. That is because at this time of year (mid-June) the snowmobile tends to overheat if the engine cover is in place because of the warm spring temperatures. (It was above freezing, although a cold wind was blowing off Hudson’s Bay, which is still covered in lots of ice.)
What you will think is strange is that Bobby has his dog tied next to the snowmobile. My, how times have changed! It used to be that a team of 8 - 12 dogs would pull the kamotik. Now the snowmobile is pulling the kamotik (see the second picture that I took while riding in the box) and the dog is trotting along next to the machine. Why?
Bobby was taking the dog to the cabin where it will be tied outside. There was a polar bear wandering around nearby, and Bobby didn’t want it to break into his cabin. The barking dog will be enough to keep the polar bear away. The dog ran alongside the snowmobile until we reached the cabin. And spring has arrived. As you can see from the picture, the snow is starting to melt and the tundra will soon be blooming with tiny flowers.
Thanks Bobby for getting me out of town and helping me to think about how Inuit used to live - and how much life has changed!
After a week-end full of events (attending a birthday party and food-of-the-land feast, co-babysitting 5-month old little Alexia with Vikki, watching drum dancing by Silas and great throat singing by two young women and, finally, a trip to Martha and Gordie Main’s cabin), the second week of the…
Last night I was busy at the Arctic College editing photos and working online. Unfortunately, in most Northern communities (Arviat included) the internet connection is rather slow and so I battled it out with the snail pace internet until the wee hours of the morning. When I stepped outside the…
I’m happy to be joining Arviat History Project, because I want to know how Arviat was before they had houses, and how they used to live in the old days. How they were treated when they were sick. I’m glad that I will go through all the stuff how they were living in the tent and igloo, and what they used to wear during winter and summer. I am happy that I’m willing to find out how it got bigger and more people in Arviat.
Watch Online: Kiviaq’s (the first Inuit lawyer in Canada) extraordinary life story bears testimony to the treatment indigenous people of the Canadian Arctic have endured for generations due to the government’s inhumane colonial policies.
This year of 2010, we are a group of 5 participants who are taking a 2 year program funded by UBC. We are taking a full time course with UBC-“University of British Columbia”, which is making us work and work. First we are starting off, it’s like warming up, just as we do warm up for singing. Then…
The first experience that i learn that it was horrifying days. I learned that people were being treated as other as they were wanted to be treated. But the explaining was so hard that it had them thinking in a way that would hurt your feelngs. But in the end everybody was in a great passion and moved on, when they moved on they told the people who are younger generations. We now call it now as in today.
If you spend a lot of time talking with Inuit Elders, you will quickly learn that the way Inuit and Inuit culture was portrayed by Qablunaat writing (and using photography), historically, leaves the reader or viewer with a very different impression of what was going on than what you get when…
This morning, Martha Otokala brought us a wondeful picture of herself with a book that contained the picture of her mother giving birth in Ennaida Lake. We had a great conversation on the need to ask for permission before taking and publishing pictures or testimonies.
Today, I brought a photo of myself holding a picture of my mother taken at Ennadia Lake by Richard Harrington. Everybody got excited because it’s a beautiful photo and it’s become quite famous. I told people that Richard Harrington was taking pictures whenever he wanted without asking for…
In the Akammaks’ world – the world of Inuit women living 1,200 kilometres north of Winnipeg in Arviat, Nunavut – the anticipation of birth is often tinged with premonitions of death.
Like most communities in the North, Arviat, the third-largest settlement in the territory (population 2,100) and home to Canada’s highest birth rate (roughly 35 per 1,000 people, compared to a national average of 10.3) has no permanent doctor, no hospital, no midwife, no public health nurse – no one to help the 70 or so women who get pregnant every year, save for seven overworked nurses at the health centre. That’s why most pregnant women here, like Sherrie, are flown south to cities like Winnipeg in order to give birth. But even then, there are problems.
The project is on it’s 3rd day now , so far so good . We have had to let two students go , due to their school commitments and other thing’s. But since we had two alternates thing’s worked out okay. Some of the material is interesting especially the pictures. April is a wonderful person to work with ,she put’s in so much time and effort in to this project .
The elder’s we have are Silas illangiayuk and Martha Okotak who are both member’s of the Sivulinuut Elder’s Society.
Today we learned to blog and twitter. I also created an email account. I would like to encourage people to be discrete. Do not take the opportunity to gossip and expose other people. However, I like to hear from you and disocver your ideas.
We started the day off bright and early with an activity to introduce the group (those over 30 included) to the concept of social media. Yesterday I asked everyone to bring in an item that represents their identity and describes who they are in relation to society. The items ranged from old…
I woke up to rain and was reminded of my home in Haida Gwaii. Thankfully, if there is one weather condition that I know how to dress for it is rain. So, I left my Inuit “home away from home” prepared in my best rain gear for the first day of workshops for the Nanisiniq: Arviat History Project. Nanisiniq, an Inuktitut word loosely means discovery in English. Discovery is a fitting name for the project, as the project aims to take five Inuit youth on a journey of discovery while uncovering their very own version of Arctic history. The history of the Arctic tells a complex, intricate and complicated story; a story that must be told. However, the majority of Canadians know nothing about the history of the Arctic, and even more shocking, there is an equal lack of knowledge amongst Inuit youth on this subject. With this, I challenge you to pause and answer the question,
Today was my first day in the Nanisiviq workshop. April a was great social media instructor. I created a tumblr site and linked it to my facebook. A great achievement for me. I also helped M. O., an elder, and we created a great tumblr site for her. Now, if only we can find a way for her to write in Inuktitut. Tonight, I will make copies of the photos of the huge polar bear that visited Arviat last week. Stay connected and visit tomorrow. These pictures are incredible.
The history of the Canadian Arctic, Inuit and Qablunaat (us folk from the South) is a colonial history. Yup, that’s right. Canada has a colonial history that parallels the colonial history of what we like to call ‘third world countries’. Getting my students to understand this and take…