Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Culture

One of the things that I wanted to write about when I started out this little blogging enterprise was the culture of this land. For a variety of reasons, however, I haven't been able to discuss it as much as I had hoped. Rather shortly, though, I have the opportunity to make up for this. Teachers in Nunavut, as in other Canadian jurisdictions are required to do a certain number of hours of professional development in order to maintain their teaching certificates. In an addition to the professional development days spread throughout the school calendar, we also get an entire week where school is closed and teachers complete a professional development activity. In the past I've done soapstone carving, Inuktitut language lessons and literacy strategies for ESL students. This year I've decided to take my professional improvement week at the end of the month and interview a local elder and record some stories (hopefully by using my Mac).

The first elder I had chosen will be now be unavailable due to a medical appointment. I was able, however, to contact a second elder, who was more than willing to sit down with me. Mucktar is unilingual but I will have access to an interpreter and the fact that he's the father of our school secretary is an added bonus since I could have her explain to him what I had in mind. Mucktar was born on the land and is a gold mine of traditional stories. In addition to recording some of these stories, I'm also interesting in exploring the impact that the move into the community had on Inuit in the area as well as the impact the now-defunct mine out at Nanisivik had on the social fabric. Our secretary mentioned that her father was involved with the operation out at Nanisivik and doesn't think too kindly of one of our former Prime Ministers. All in all it looks like a very interesting week away from teaching and I very much look forward to meeting with my Elder and hearing what he has to tell me.

6 comments:

fireweedroots said...

I really hope you will share the result with us!
It can never be stressed enough how important it is to record the experiences and memories of the elders(in all cultures), but especially so where the culture in itself is threatened.

Anonymous said...

That sounds like an amazing opportunity! I had the chance to go out on the land for a week and learn some of the traditional ways of life at an outpost camp. It was an amazing experience that taught me a lot and I'll never forget it! Keep us posted on the results of the interview.

Way Way Up said...

I am very much looking forward to sharing my experiences with my readers.

Matt, Kara and Hunter said...

Well I am jealous!! I am really missing my sewing time with the elders.

Heather (aka Mum) said...

I can't wait to read all about it!! I dream of seeing this area with my own eyes! To spend that kind of time with an Elder would be golden!
I'm passing on your blog to my folks so that they can follow along too! They've travelled the Baffin region twice now & have crossed the Davis Straight (?) to Greenland! I'm sure they'll love reading your stories :)

Heather (aka Mum) said...

Bye the bye, is Eric Donkers still living in Arctic Bay? My Hubby met him at the AWG's in 2004 where Eric was the Dog Mushing coach for Team Nunavut! Hubby is Sean FitzGerald (Coach for Team Yukon)