Sunday, January 07, 2007

Kangiqsujuaq Culture

Hello Everyone,
I think the biggest change we're experiencing in this leg of our journey is the difference in the culture from Repulse Bay to here. Going from Baker Lake to Repulse Bay was a good intermediate step into the different priorities and focuses of the local population. The step here has been a step back from a intensive Inuit community such as Repulse Bay. In Kangiqsujuaq the people have been exposed to different cultures and have embraced alot more aspects of the southern world.
Its strange for us as we thoroughly enjoyed the community of Repulse, I felt welcomed there almost immediately (Melissa did take a couple of months to warm up to the people however as soon as she started in the store, she understood my affection for the people). Here the people are just as friendly and outgoing, but something is different. The community focus seems to have been diverted from survival to living. While this may seem a change for the better, it also bring with it a much more southern feel, which isn't exactly what we came here for, or what we're used to. We've found here that the talk "around the water cooler", is about TV, movies, etc. In Repulse Bay the conversation started with the weather, progressed to the community then went to who got what out on the land and where they got it. The southern amenities were also discussed but what affected the community was always the first topic. In Repulse, there was always someone out hunting, pretty much 24/7. While we've been here I've never seen someone on a ATV with their rifle, I've only seen one skin hanging (and it looks like its been there a couple of years), I'm not saying it isn't happening, but the focus is definitely elsewhere.
That being said, there are other traditional skills that are alot more prevalent here. The predominate language here is Inuktitut, followed by English followed by French. Many of the children can only speak their native tongue in contrast to Repulse where many of the young spoke English as well as their Inuktitut. In Repulse we found people whose primary language was English whereas here I don't think that number would be nearly as high. There are more pieces of local clothing in use that you would find in Repulse, people seem to make alot more of their outerwear. The carving here is more focused towards southern tastes as the rocks are polished and detailed in ways that we haven't found in other communities, small feature's such as eye's and coloration spots are included in the carving. We haven't experienced that before.
We have never been in a community where the people feel a higher level of personal responsibility to their commitments. Most movies are returned on time, personal accounts are paid, bills are paid with regularity and the community seems not to live from cheque to cheque they way others have. In other communities we would have 2 great sales day after a cheque came out, then a week of silence until another arrived. I realize these are gross generalizations about a large community that have regular exceptions however we are attempting to describe deference's between our experiences.
Oh yes, one silly thing. People here don't go to "the land" they go to "Camp". But as is said "God is in the details".
I've missed many things in this brief discussion of our brief experiences here, but thats what new posts are for.
Take Care


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Thank you for today it was a nice surprise.I just read your blog and youalmost sound disappointed by the difference in culture.I am sure you will encounter many changes in your life with all the travelling you seem to be doing.The is a whole woeld out there ready for you to entertain us with. This is the best geography class I ever had.
Take care and Happy New Year to you all

Curtis Groom said...

I'm not dissapointed. We just adapt to things and I know I enjoyed the hunting and physical aspect to the more northern reaches. Now that we're through Christmas we'll have to work our way into the community and find those aspects that we enjoy.

Take Care