Looking Closer to Rankin Inlet Nickel Mine (1957-1963)
by Jordan Konek
August 15, 2011
For this past week I was in Rankin Inlet to look a little closer on Rankin Inlet Nickel Mine with the Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Dr. Arn Keeling who is a geography researcher, a student Patricia Boulter and a resident film maker Pallulaaq Freisen. I enjoyed the time here in Rankin with the crew and was happy to meet all the people here that I met in Rankin Inlet, I will say that Rankin has a lot of dogs and I think that’s cool, it feels to me that I should have a dog at home in Arviat. But to get back to the research project, I learned some interesting things.
It was nice to learn that we Inuit are very adaptable like Peter Irniq said “we Inuit are very adaptable, we did not know a single word of English and now look at us”. Peter Irniq and Inuit Elders impress me a lot because they say these simple little things that we can think about and use them everyday. It’s part of their normal life, because working twenty four hours a day seven days a week was their way of survival.
I am building a shack at home and my grandmother wanted to see where I’m going to put the shack. She came and said “you should move it on the other side because during winter, the snow will be covering your steps”. Inuit think ahead and prepare for the worst to come in their traditional way and they are some impressive things.
I am now more into this Nanisiniq project more than I was in the beginning. In the beginning I joined because I wanted to travel, now it’s all about getting to know a little bit more of Inuit history, and a little more and more.
I would like to thank Dr. Arn Keeling or “Arn” (like Inuit would say it, there’s no Dr.Mr.Mrs in Inuit language) who was nice enough to get me here to film for Nanisiniq and to interview Elders who have a lot of Inuit history. Also, like to thank Trish (Patricia) who helped prepare the workshop here in Rankin and also did some interviews. Pallulaaq who is a very nice person, very welcoming and hard working person who did so much for us during the week here in Rankin Inlet. Last but almost least the two entertainment guys here at the lodge Anthony and Luke who were also nice, but they are mechanics here in Rankin for a mining project going on in Rankin. And also Phillipe from the CBC who interview me and Amy Owingayak in Arviat for the project.
Animals are not Stupid
August 10, 2011
This Morning here at the lodge in Rankin Inlet, where we are staying we were watching some videos of Inuit and the Rankin Inlet Nickel Mine. One of the videos we watched reminded me of a documentary video that we watched.
There has been a lot of scientific work in the North, scientists coming to the North to tell Inuit that the Polar Bears are becoming extinct, that caribou are way too many now. On the documentary that we watched in Arviat one of the Inuit hunter said “why are the scientists telling me that the polar bears are becoming extinct? I don’t see them when I am hunting”. That to me was a very good point.
In spring time we interviewed an elder of Arviat, Phillip Kigusiutnaq about climate change, one of the strongest things he said to us was “animals are not stupid, it’s the human that are stupid”. If scientists were to leave the animals to themselves like they leave the humans alone, I don’t think they’d become extinct. Scientists can study whatever they like, but coming to the North to say that our own animal that we always have lived with is becoming extinct is a little too much.
We leave the animals alone, although we hunt for food. We don’t go testing thier tongue to see if it’s sick or if it’s going to die. We hunt it because we need to eat it, and like we always say, we use every part of the animal we kill.
Reason that I have the title as animals are not stupid is because Inuit believe that if we kill an animal for fun even if it’s one caribou, the caribou herd will not go through the same path it went because we played with the caribou. Scientists are just ruining some part of our culture because they are leaving scents that come from a strange place for the animals and they don’t want to take the path they took, because the know what’s coming. There are now these jokes that come up and I don’t think they’re funny, kids saying “are you dumber than a tuktu (caribou)?”. Where did that come from?
I’m not against scientists and there work, but I think they’re going a little too far. We know our animals, we have respect for our animals, if we didn’t, they’d be moving to a safer place for them.
Animals are certainly not stupid, they have survived the cold, the warmth, the predators and now they’re dealing with scientists being told how to live and being transported thinking they don’t know how to survive this environment. Leave the animals to themselves and they’ll find a way to survive the world.
Rankin Inlet Research
August 9, 2011
by Jordan Konek
This week I will be in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut to do a research on Rankin Inlet Nickel Mine of the late 1950s and the early 1960s. Yesterday I made it here to Rankin and will be filming for Dr. Arn Keeling from Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), Trish from MUN and Paululaat a resident youth film maker of Rankin Inlet. So far since I’ve made it to Rankin Inlet, we have interviewed two elders who worked in the Rankin Inlet Nickel Mine. I will be reviewing the shots that I have so far and do what I can to blog about them. The elders have a rich flavour of the Nickel mine, their words do not come from a paper that was written by a Qablunaaq (White person), they come from their memories.
I am looking forward to what this project will bring to me and the crew of Dr.Keeling. This morning we did b-roll shots of the mills and the old concentrate shed. We will be doing a Rankin Inlet Nickel Mine workshop at the local community hall on Thursday, Aug 12, 2011 at 7PM.
Nanisiniq Summer 2011
July 10, 2011
by Jordan Konek
Nanisiniq, a journey of discovery. I think we’re doing what our title is supposed to be doing. We have done a lot of research and came across so many things as we are starting to get to the end. One thing I personally have been doing for the project is editing some videos and posting them on youtube. I’m doing it to kind of advertise the project to the people that view my videos. As I start to do more research on some projects I start to realize that it is important to pass our website around so that everyone can see what we’re doing. There have been quite a few videos that I have edited and still am working on.
This summer from August 08th - 15th I will be going to Rankin Inlet to do some research on the Rankin Inlet Nickel Mine during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s and I am preparing to interview and film the area of the mining project in the time. I am also editing a video for “healthy eating” with a group of people from the community who are planning to make a few short films about healthy eating.
We are also putting together what we filmed over the past year to start making a documentary film and putting together a place to start editing the videos to get an idea of what the film is going to look like. I am excited to see what will come out of it and I want to sit down and look at the final piece and say “I helped put the film together” and hope to see it all over Nunavut and maybe Canada. Our team of hard working Inuit, Elders and the people from UBC is what is making this project worth looking back and saying “yes, I helped them and they helped me”.
Interview with Floyd “Bud” Neville - former Social Worker
Today, May 11 2011, Floyd Neville came to the Library and Archives Canada to meet the Nanisiniq Arviat History Project group. I, Amy Owingayak, did an interview with Bud to find out more information about what was going on in the Eastern Arctic during his time working as a Social Worker. So, the other researchers worked on the camera’s while I was doing the interview and also had Professor Tester to write down notes about what could be asked again after I interview Bud Neville. Furthermore, after the interview, the group (Amy, Curtis, Jordan, Martha, Patrick -Arviat researchers- April, Frank and Paule -from UBC) along with Bud had lunch together at the Library and Archives Canada. In the afternoon we were looking at some old photos around Eskimo Point now known as Arviat and it was good to see our elder Martha to recognize some people. Briefly, the whole day was pretty much about interviewing. Each of us had an interview with Beth, who works at the LAC (project naming) for their podcasting. Also, some of us had an interview with the CBC and it was great, our information was hopefully good because we have been busy looking through documents, photos and interviewing elders that were in the Arctic in the early 1950’s-60’s.
So, the interview with Bud went great. There was a lot of good information about relocations, Inuit health and what his job was as a Social Worker. For instance, the youth researchers have been looking into relocations and getting more information from someone who was around during that time was really important. Us researchers have learned that Inuit were relocated because of starvation. The Social Worker helped Inuit to live by relocating them to a different area where there might be some country food available. Also, if there was no country food to hunt, the social worker would help get some food from the Hudson’s Bay Company. More over, Inuit health was bad during the time because Inuit had lived in small shack housings with quiet a few people. The conditions of the shack houses were terrible; there was not enough room for washrooms, heating (furnace), etc so it was all in one small shack house that got everyone sick. During that time, there was measles, T.B, and other illnesses so Inuit were sent to southern hospitals where they were taken care of. Bud Neville who was the Social Worker was responsible for all of the relocations and taking care of the people who are in need so during that time, I bet it was difficult. It was great to get all the information about one of our topics in regards to the project that we are working on