Former Commissioner of Nunavut remembers Pelagie, first Inuk Nun
July 13, 2010. Peter Irniq, former Commissioner of Nunavut:
ᑲᒥᓯᓅᕐᓚᐅᖅᑐᖅ ᓄᓇᕘᒥ ᐃᖃᐅᒪᔪᖅ ᐱᓚᔨᒥᒃ, ᓯᕗᓪᓕᖅᐹᖅ ᐃᓄᒃ ᓇᔭ
I remember, Sister Pelagie, was always there for us, whenever, we were lonely for our parents, being so far away from home, and I can talk to you a great deal about loneliness, in those days. She was always smiling, like an older sister, or a mother to us. When I was first taken away from my parents to go to Turquetil Hall in 1958, she was the only Inuit supervisor. When we needed comforting, she was always used to be there for us. She will be missed by many people in the Kivalliq Region, and will be fondly remembered.
ᓴᒡᒋᕆᒡᕕᒃ 13, 2010, ᓇᔭ ᐱᓚᔨ, ᑕᐃᑲᓂᓯᐅᖏᓐᓇᔪᓚᐅᖅᑐᖅ ᐱᖃᑎᒋᑉᓗᑕ, ᖃᖓᒥᐊᒃᑯᑦ, ᑭᐱᖑᓕᕌᖓᑉᑕ ᐊᖓᔪᖄᑉᑎᒃᓄᑦ, ᐅᖓᓯᒃᑐᓚᐅᑦᔫᒃᒪᑕ ᐅᕙᒍᒋᔭᕐᒥᑦᓂᒃ, ᐅᖃᕐᕕᒋᔫᓪᓗᐊᕆᑉᑭᓪᓗ ᐊᖏᔪᒥᒃ ᑭᐱᖑᓂᖃᖅᑕᓚᐅᕋᑉᑕ ᑕᐃᑉᓱᒪᓂ.
ᖁᖑᑐᐃᓐᓇᒥᐊᔪᓚᐅᖅᑐᖅ, ᓇᔭᑦᔪᐊᕆᔪᑐᒥᐊᖅ, ᐅᒡᕙᓘᓐᓃᑦ ᐊᓈᓇᑐᒥᐊᖅ ᐃᓚᐅᖅᑐᖅ ᐅᕙᑉᑎᒃᓄᑦ. ᓯᕗᓪᓕᕐᒥᒃ ᐊᐅᓪᓚᐅᑎᔭᐅᒐᒪ ᑎᑯᕐᑎᐅᓪ ᕼᐊᓪᒧᑦ 1958ᒥ, ᐃᓄᖕᓂ ᒥᐊᓂᖅᓯᔨᑐᐊᖑᓚᐅᖅᓯᒪᔪᖅ. ᓴᐃᒻᒪᖅᓴᖅᑕᐅᔭᕆᐊᖃᕌᖓᑉᑕ, ᑕᐃᒪᐅᖏᓐᓇᒥᐊᓱᓚᐅᖅᑐᖅ ᐅᕙᑉᑎᒃᓄᑦ. ᑭᐱᖑᒋᔭᐅᒃᑕᕐᓂᐊᖅᑐᖅ ᐊᒥᓱᓄᑦ ᐃᓄᖕᓄᑦ ᑭᕙᓪᓕᕐᒥᐅᓄᑦ, ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐃᖃᐅᒪᔭᐅᒃᑎᐊᓗᑲᐅᖅᑕᕐᓗᓂᓗ.
In July 1993, when we had our Chesterfield Inlet, Turquetil Hall/Sir Joseph Bernier Residential School Reunion, upon hearing about the abuses that were done to us at the Hostel, she said, publically in Inuktitut, which translated to: “I am sorry, I was not aware.” What she mean’t was, “I wish, I knew then, about what was happening to you.” Sister Pelagie, leaves a big legacy as someone, who was part of the Government system, at the time, when we Inuit were still completely under the control of the Canadian Government and the Churches. I often, wonder, how difficult, life must have been for her, working for both organizations, whose aim was to have all Inuit to become Whitemen and Women. At that time, as Inuit, we were not allowed to answer back to the Qablunaat, if we did, there would have been troubles for us. We would have been sent home for speaking or for disobeying God’s representatives. I believe, Sister Pelagie had a lot more to tell the world. She will now rest in peace.
ᓴᒡᒋᕆᒡᕕᒃ 1993, ᐃᒡᓗᓕᒑᕐᔪᖕᒥ, ᑎᑯᕐᑎᐅᓪ ᕼᐊᓪᒥ ᔫᓯᐱ ᐳᕐᓂᐃᕐ ᐃᓕᓐᓂᐊᕐᕕᖕᒥ ᑲᑎᓐᓂᖃᖅᑎᒃᖢᑕ, ᑐᓴᖅᑕᓚᐅᖅᑐᒍᑦ ᐱᓂᕐᓗᒐᐅᒃᑕᕐᓂᑯᓂᒃ ᐅᕙᑉᑎᒃᓄᑦ ᑕᐃᑲᓂ, ᐅᖃᓚᐅᖅᑐᖅ, ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᓈᓚᒃᑎᒃᖢᒋᑦ ᐃᓄᒃᑐᑦ, ᑐᑭᓕᐅᖅᑕᐅᔪᒥᒃ ᑐᓵᔨᑎᒍᑦ: “ᐅᒡᒍᐊᕐᕕᒋᕙᑉᓯ, ᐅᔨᕆᖏᑕᐃᓐᓇᕋᑉᑯ.” ᐅᖃᕐᓂᓗᒃᑐᖅ ᓂ’ᐊᐊ, “ᖃᐅᔨᒪᓇᔭᓚᐅᕐᓂᕋᒪ ᑕᐃᑉᓱᒪᓂ, ᖃᓄᐃᓕᐅᖅᑕᐅᓐᓂᕆᔭᑉᓯᒃᓂᒃ.” ᓇᔭ ᐱᓚᔨ, ᕿᒪᐃᕐᔪᐊᖅᓯᒪᔪᖅ ᑐᓂᕐᕈᑎᒥᓂᒃ ᑭᓇᐅᓂᖓᓂᒃ, ᒐᕙᒪᑯᑦᓂ ᐃᓚᐅᓚᐅᕋᒥ, ᑕᐃᑉᓱᒪᓂ, ᐃᓄᒃᑎᒍᑦ ᑎᒍᒥᐊᖅᑕᐅᓚᐅᖅᑎᒃᖢᑕᓱᓕ ᑲᓇᑕᑉ ᒐᕙᒪᒃᑯᖏᑎᒍᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᑐᒃᓯᐊᕐᕕᖕᓄᑦ. ᐃᓱᒪᒐᔪᒃᑐᖓ ᖃᓄᖅ ᐊᔪᖅᓇᑎᒋᓚᐅᖅᓯᒪᓐᓂᖅᒪᖔᑦ ᑕᒪᓐᓇ ᐊᑐᕐᓗᓂᐅᒃ, ᐱᓕᕆᖃᑎᖃᕐᓗᓂ ᑕᒪᐃᒃᓄᑦ ᑎᒥᐅᔪᓄᑦ, ᑐᕌᖅᑕᕆᔭᖃᖅᖢᓂ ᑕᒪᐃᒃᓄᑦ ᐃᓄᖕᓄᑦ ᖃᑉᓗᓈᖑᖅᑎᒃᑎᓂᓗᒡᓗᓂ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐊᕐᓇᖑᖅᑎᒃᑎᓂᓗᒡᓗᓂ. ᑕᐃᑉᓱᒪᓂ, ᐃᓅᓗᓂ, ᑭᐅᔭᕆᐊᖃᖅᑕᖏᓚᐅᕋᑉᑕ ᖃᑉᓗᓈᓄᑦ, ᑭᐅᒍᑉᑕᓗ, ᐱᒃᑎᐊᖏᑕᐅᓕᕐᓗᑕᓗ. ᐊᐃᑎᑕᐅᓗᑕᓗ ᐅᖃᒃᓈᖅᓯᓐᓇᕐᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᐅᒡᕙᓘᓐᓃᑦ ᓈᓚᖏᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᒎᑎᑉ ᑭᕝᒐᖅᑐᖅᑎᖏᑦᓄᑦ. ᐅᒃᐱᕈᓱᒃᐳᖓ, ᓇᔭ ᐱᓚᔨ ᐅᓂᑉᑳᒐᒃᓴᑲᓐᓂᖃᕋᔭᓚᐅᖅᑐᖅ ᓄᓇᕐᔪᐊᕐᒧᑦ. ᑕᖃᐃᖅᓯᒃᑎᐊᕐᓂᐊᓕᖅᐳᖅ ᓴᐃᒪᓂᕐᒥᑦ.’
Young Inuit Woman with Facial Tattoos (1940’s)
I’ve always been fascinated by the traditional clothing, headgear and tattoos of Inuit living in the southern Kivalliq region. This is another photo from the Marsh Collection of the National Library and Archives of Canada (NLAC). The National Archives have a project called ‘project naming’, that is trying to put names to the many faces of Inuit found in thousands of old photos in the collection of NLAC. We are going to help project naming this winter by taking around copies of these photos and trying to figure out who is shown in the pictures.
Tattoos were done with a needle and carbon. Before steel needles were introduced, bone needles were used. Designs were decided by the woman getting tattooed. Tattoos were called “kakiniq”.
The other thing to notice is the Qablunaat clothing. In this case, it may have been that the HBC trader was Scottish and the Scottish influence on Inuit culture is obvious everywhere in photos from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. As my family immigrated to Canada from Scotland, this has always interested me and the connections between Scotland and Inuit of the eastern Arctic are many, from Scottish whalers, to the origins of the famous Peterhead boat used by many Inuit for hunting seals, whales and walrus, to square dancing, oatmeal, and, as this picture shows, tartans. Scottish boys (they were sometimes in their early 20s) were often hired from the Orkney Islands, off the northern coast of Scotland.
The opportunity to be ‘the boss’ of a store in the Canadian north appears to have been too much to resist! And if you look on a map, you will find that Scotland is about the same latitude as much of Nunavut. If they were using a map and looking forward to a Scottish climate in the Canadian Arctic, they were in for a big surprise. Temperatures in Scotland rarely go much below zero. In Arviat, -30 to -40C is not uncommon during winter months.
ᒪᒃᑯᒃᑐᑦ ᐊᕐᓇᖅ ᑲᑭᓂᓕᒃ (1940ᓂ)
ᒪᐃᒃᑕᐅᒋᒃᑕᖃᒃᑖᕋᑉᑭᑦ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᐊᑦᓄᕌᖏᑦ, ᓂᐊᖁᖅᓯᐅᑎᓂ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᑲᑭᓂᖏᑦ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᑭᕙᓪᓕᕐᒥ. ᑖᒻᓇ ᐊᑦᔨᑲᓐᓂᖅ ᐊᔪᕿᖅᑐᐃᔨᑦᔪᐊᑯᑦᓂ ᑲᑎᖅᓱᖅᑕᐅᓐᓂᑯ National Library and Archives of Canada (NLAC) ᑯᑦᓂ. ᐱᑐᖃᓕᕆᒡᕕᒃ ᑕᐃᔭᓂ ᐊᒃᑎᖅᑐᐃᓂᕐᒥᒃ, ᐊᒃᑎᖅᑐᐃᓱᐊᖅᑐᓄᑦ ᐃᓄᖕᓂᒃ ᓇᓂᔭᐅᒃᑕᖅᑐᑦ ᐊᒥᓱᒃᑎᐊᒥᐊᓄᑦ ᐊᑦᔨᑐᑦᖃᓂᒃ. ᐃᑲᔪᕐᓂᐊᖅᑐᒍᑦ ᐊᒃᑎᖅᑐᐃᓂᕐᒥᒃ ᐅᑭᐅᒥ ᐊᒥᓱᓕᐅᕐᓗᑕ ᐃᓕᑕᖅᓂᐊᖅᑕᕐᓂᐊᖅᒪᑕ.
ᑲᑭᓃᑦ ᓴᕙᑕᐅᓱᓚᐅᖅᑐᑦ ᒥᖁᑎᒍᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐊᕐᔭᓕᓂᖅᑎᒍᓪᓗ. ᓴᕖᑦ ᒥᖁᑎᑕᖃᑦᖄᕋᓂ, ᓴᐅᓂᕕᓂᕐᓂᒃ ᒥᖁᑎᓂᒃ ᐊᑐᖅᑕᓚᐅᖅᑐᑦ. ᖃᓄᐃᖁᒃᒪᖔᑎᒌᑦ ᐃᓱᒪᓕᐅᖅᖢᑎᒃ ᐊᕐᓇᑦ ᓴᕙᒃᑕᔪᓚᐅᖅᑐᑦ. ᑕᐃᔭᐅᔪᑦ ᑲᑭᓂᕐᓂᒃ.
ᐊᓯᖏᑦ ᐅᔨᕆᔭᒃᓴᑦ ᖃᑉᓗᓈᑦ ᐊᑦᓄᕌᖏᑦ. ᑕᒡᕙᓂ, ᓂᐅᕕᕐᕕᒥᐅᒃᑕᓄᑦ ᓯᑲᑎᒥᐅᑦ ᓴᓇᔭᖏᑦ ᐃᓄᖕᓄᑦ ᐊᑐᖅᑕᐅᒐᔪᒃᑐᑦ ᐊᑦᔨᓂᒃ 1940ᓂ, 50ᓂ, 60ᓂᓗ. ᐃᓚᒃᑲ ᐊᐅᓪᓚᕋᒥᒃ ᑲᓇᑕᒧᑦ ᓯᑳᑦᓚᓐᒥᑦ, ᑕᒪᓐᓇ ᖁᕕᐊᒌᓐᓇᓱᖅᑕᕋ ᐊᒃᑐᐊᖃᑎᒌᖕᓂᕐᒥᒃ ᐊᑯᓐᓇᑉᑎᒃᓂᒃ, ᐊᕐᕕᕐᓂᐊᖅᑎᓪᓗ, ᐅᒥᐊᑎᒍᓪᓗ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᐊᑐᕋᔪᒃᑕᓂ ᓇᒃᑎᖅᓯᐅᕐᓂᕐᒧᑦ, ᐊᕐᕕᕐᓂᐊᓂᕐᒧᑦ, ᐊᐃᕕᖅᓯᐅᓂᕐᒧᑦ, ᒧᒥᖑᐊᕐᓂᖅ, ᐊᓗᒃᑲᑦ, ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᑖᒻᓇ ᐊᑦᔨ, ᐅᓕᑲᒃᑕᐃᑦ. ᓯᑲᑎᒥᐅᑦ ᐃᓅᓱᒃᑐᑦ (ᒪᒃᑯᒃᑐᒃᓈᑦ ᐅᑭᐅᓖᑦ 20) ᐱᓕᕆᑎᑕᐅᒐᔪᓚᐅᖅᑐᑦ ᓯᒡᔭᖅᐸᓂ.
ᐃᓱᒪᑕᐅᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᓂᐅᕕᖅᑎᓂ ᑲᓇᑕᑉ ᐅᑭᐅᖅᑕᑐᖓᓂ ᐱᓱᐊᕐᓇᖅᑐᑦᔫᓚᐅᖅᑐᖅ! ᑕᑯᒍᕕᑦ ᓄᓇᖑᐊᕐᒥᒃ, ᑕᑯᓂᐊᖅᑐᑎᑦ ᓯᑲᑎᒃᑯᑦ ᐊᑦᔨᐊ ᓄᓇᕘᑐᑦ. ᓄᓇᖑᐊᕐᒥᒃ ᐊᑐᕈᕕᑦ ᓯᓚᒋᔭᖓᓂᒃ ᓯᑲᑎᒃᑯᑦ ᑲᓇᑕᑉ ᐅᑭᐅᖅᑕᖅᑐᖓᓂᒃ, ᓇᕐᖓᒃᑎᐊᒥᐊᖅᑕᓚᐅᖅᑐᑦ. ᓯᓚᒋᔭᖓᑦ ᓯᑲᑎᒃᑯᑦ ᐃᒃᑮᕐᓇᓕᓱᐃᒃᑐᒥᐊᖅ. ᐊᕐᕕᐊᓂ -30ᒥᑦ -40ᒧᑦ ᐅᑭᐅᒥ.
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