Wednesday, April 28, 2010

inukjuak...oh inukjuak

Ok - here I am!! We've managed to get internet in our room in the school, and we've just had a mightily successful Day Two of the training week/skills share, and I'm tired but I want to get some word out that awesome stuff is happening, and maybe even get some photos on here! The internet connection is REALLY SLOW, tho - so it might not be many!

Nunavik is an amazing part of the world. We're in Inukjuak, and it's pretty amazing. There are about 1 200 people who live here, and the majority of those folks are Inuit. Inukjuak is above the treeline - so we're here on tundra, and it's mostly frozen at the moment. The village has a handful of roads, and people get around mostly on foot, by four-wheel ATV, or snow-mobile. There are two department stores, the Co-Op and the Northern, and they sell everything from clothes to produce to appliances. It's pretty quiet, and the house that I'm staying in is right smack dab in the middle of everything.

Our hosts - the school and some key teachers - have given me my own house to live in, which has pros and cons. While it's right around the corner from the school, and I can go home and have quiet and peace very easily, it's also a little lonely and by not billeting with someone I'm missing out on some important social connecting. I'm working hard on trying to make those connections, and it'll happen, but at the beginning it feels like just a little too much peace and quiet. That could change once the program gets underway, though.

We're doing a training week, and the folks who'll be working with Natasha in Kangirsuk have come to Inukjuak so that we can all bond. We're playing a lot of games, and all sharing how to do all kinds of theatre-related art activities. It's going pretty well, except for the fact that no one can find the 15 rubbermaid bins that were left up here from the previous 6 years of this program that contain all the accumulated supplies, puppets and materials we were sort of banking on using. I'm rolling with that punch - it's pretty typical of community arts, especially when done remotely like this - and we're making do. If anyone wants to spend a lot of money and donate some random art supplies to us, however - please feel free!! Just email me and we'll work it out. We'll take anything! hahahahhahha!

I feel pretty honoured to be up here, and for the most part everyone is really welcoming. It's pretty wild to see the collision of several cultures trying to work it out - and that's exactly what's going on here. Inuit culture and the dominant western culture of Canada and North America are - newsflash - REALLY DIFFERENT. Different expectations, understandings of time, priorities, is really complex. So - we just roll with how things come, and try to become friends. That's what I'm focusing. As I mentioned in my last post, there are THREE languages being spoken constantly here - Inuttitut, English and French. It's a lot to wrap my head around, and I feel lucky that I can at least speak the last two.

My team is pretty amazing too - Pamela Epoo, who is a primary gym teacher here at the Innalik School, and Isa, a young man from the community will be my primary folks - Isa and I will be side-by-side full-time, and Pam will join us after school and when she can during her spares. The kids'll be with us for a couple of hours after school, and that's when we'll be doing most of our work with them, so as not to disrupt their school days.

It's a big thing I'm involved in up here...but so far so good! More later!

Here are some photos though - to wet your whistles...

Nunavik from the air!

this was my first view of the village - coming in from the airport.

a closer view of Inukjuak.

The school and some houses at night - it's light here from 5.30am til about 9.30pm - loooooooong days and getting longer.

Some random things found on the window-sill of the kitchen where I'm staying - rocks and...teeth? Probably dog teeth - there are a lot of beautiful husky-type dogs here.

The Nunavik Theatre Arts Program Facilitator team at training week - or at least some of us - that's Lisa Ross, the artist-organizer who got us all into this, Isa from Inukjuak (my right-hand, right-on dude!), and Maggie, Sarah and Misty from Kangirsuk.

Here we are working our art-vibes to the max - working on different pieces to quilt together into a tapestry that expresses our ideas of an ideal learning creative experience.

More to come for sure, but I've got to go eat supper and rest up - big day of movement and more puppet building tomorrow ---- wow wow wow!

northy nerd out.


  1. I'm excited for you Noah. This looks like it's going to be a great, big adventure!

  2. What an incredible landscape Noah, it looks so ... white! It's good to see your tapestry with be full of all the colours the outside landscape is lacking.

    Donna :)

  3. Hi Noah.
    My name is Bénédicte and I am interested in living in Nunavik. I have a job interview in a week for a job in Inukjuak.
    i was wondering if you could give me some insights from inside, like an occidental point of view, just to have an idea of what to expect... and to not expect, and therefore limiting any desillusion. If not, maybe you can refer me to a friend of yours there.
    Maybe it would be easier to communicate via email, in this case, here is my address .
    Thank you in advance. Take care
    PS: sorry if I had to mark as "anonymous", they ask me a URL link for other options (and I have no idea what a URL is!).