General News · 5th April 2010
Inuit children face huge obstacles in a land of staggering beauty and few choices. Small houses with two or three bedrooms are usually home to six or seven people, and the baby boom here is increasing the housing shortage. Most houses are 800 square feet, brothers and sisters share tiny rooms, and foam mattresses often cover living room floors.
If you are fortunate enough to have a father or grandfather who is a strong hunter, you will grow up with a lot of nourishing char, cariboo, and seal meat. If you are not so fortunate, and your mom, dad or grandparent depend on grocery store food, you will lose half of your teeth by the age of fifteen and seldom experience the good fortune and joy of regular, healthy food.
If one of your parents has a drug or alcohol problem, you will be very fortunate to leave home without enduring physical and sexual assault, and you will likely at some point in your early adult years spend time in a correctional center.
If you are one of the forty percent who eventually graduate from high school, you will probably find a permanent job in your village or move to Iqaluit, the territories' capital city, to attend school or seek an experience closer to the one you see on television. If you are one of the sixty percent who don't graduate, you will probably have three children by the age of 25 and work two or three shifts at the co-op store to help buy food for your kids.
The men and women who manifested the "dream of Nunavut" believed Inuit people would be better off in a territory of their own, but eleven years later statistics do not bear this out. Ninety percent of Nunavuts' wealth comes from Ottawa, and fifty percent of the population depends on welfare payments.
The profound Inuit cultural icons and incredible landscape are the only tangible hope for industry, but the development of tourism and a visitor infrastructure the territory so desperately needs is still out of reach.
The dream is that one of these wonderful little people will eat lots of seal meat, co-op fruits and vegetables, and become strong enough to inspire his or her people to embrace the good things southern culture has to offer. Until the culture of southern dependency is diminished, the experience of Inuit people will always reflect the value clash of subsistence living and modernity, and the children of Nunavut will never realise the dream of a prosperous future that all cultures share.
Christine and her cousin Christine.
Beautiful Pond Inlet.
The plane is coming in.
Hamming for the camera.
Comment by Peter Jackel on 9th April 2010
I am so grateful for your occasional letters. They are small nuggets of wisdom and observation. You have a good heart my friend.
Comment by Diana on 7th April 2010
Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and insights with us....
Comment by maria on 6th April 2010
thank for sharing...i find that i am too taking note of what life is like in the place i left behind before joining the cortes community. indeed children tell of the truth! Hope you are well up there! sending regards, maria