Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sunday Musings

Hello Everyone,
Its another Sunday and I have to figure out another bunch of things to talk about. Well I've been meaning to discuss the Inuit Lifestyle and white mans perceptions of it. When I've visited other blogs discussing this area I'm amazed at how eurocentric the interpitations are. I know I have made these same generalizations but we have to stop and look at where the people have come from and when.
40 years ago the inuit of this area lived on the land. The hamlet consisted of a store and a RCMP detachment. They came into town and got thier supplies and went back to the land. There is currently a class action lawsuit on the behalf of the local inuit groups against the RCMP. If you read histories of the area they will discuss how there was a outbreak of distemper in this area in the 60's caused the locals into town because they could no longer navagate the land on thier own. The lawsuit discusses how their was a detailed plan by the RCMP to force the Inuit into towns so they could have better access to a modern lifestyle. This plan was alleged to involve the RCMP shooting sled dogs under the guise of a disease.
That being niether here nor there, we have a group of people who were 100% self sufficient, providing themselves food, transportation and shelter as they had for a couple of thousand years. They had very limited exposure to white man, politics, ethics, religion, social expectations, alcohol, and commerce system. Now they are forced into a town, where they can no longer be self sufficient, they don't really have a skill set that matches white culture. They do not have a lifestlye of 9-5, they get up when the sun rises (very late in the day in the winter and they stay awake until thier needs are met. So we have a group of people who don't really fit into our job system niether in hours, expecations or skills. The government offers them social assistance to help meet thier needs. They are still not given exposure to a educational system that would provide them with a future however they are maintained in these communities with limited emplyment opportunities and very limited room for growth, no means of leaving or improving thier standing. Then we provide alcohol. this further impede's their growth into a acceptable european culture system.
Still the system was working Ok as everyone was in the same boat and they didn't know of anything different. The in the 70's we add TV to the mixture and we show them the way others live, we show them the products, lifestyles and alternatives they have never seen before. Now we have a group of people who want things, and yet still have no means of achieving them, even today the average education up here is grade 9, this town graduated 1 student from grade 12 last year. The college in town features coarses of a very vocational nature (hairdressing). Which I think we all know will still limit thier ability to go south and succeed. What we are left with is a culture that has never seen the American dream come true and doubt it can for a inuk in the south. That is why there is so much pride and interest in Jordin Tootoo (local Inuit who was drafted into the NHL), He is being watched closely as maybe he found the way out of the lifestlye and fits into white mans culture.
Anyways, these are my thought on the subject which may all be 100% wrong, lets remember we've only been here 3 months, these people came out of the stone age 40 years ago and this has to create trouble coming into a new world.
Take Care

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