Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tommy Tsunami & Newfies & the mistaken Innu boy

"you know, i have complete respect for your people and the respect you guys have for the land. your Innu right?" asked René, the St. Johns man, who minutes before said that he loves the weather and the fog and how you can get wet just from walking two block in the fog. He wiped his face and said he is going to the hotel bar in Sheraton.

Mr. Tsunami had travelled to the republic of newfoundland and labrador before during the fall and of course it was as foggy back then as the night he met René, the St. Johns man. Mr Tsunami was a film maker and was in the republic to promote his latest documentary about Inuit land claims and Nuntsiavut had signed their claim back in 2005 and he hoped that the film could be used to teach the younger generation about how important their land claim was. He was on a mission.

Of course people thought his last name was weird and asked him if he picked it on his own. But no, he didn't pick his name. His name was from a great tsunami caused by a great wave of lemmings that jumped off the cliff in his hometown of Cumberland sound. Yes i know, that's impossible, but the impossible always happened around Mr. Tsunami and those wave of lemmings were millions upon millions that sacrificed their lives for the balance of nature. Those lemmings now preside in heaven beside St. Peter's right foot, eating the lice and dead skin of St. Peter. His parents saw the whole thing and Tommy was just two at the time and that is how he got his name Mr Tsunami.

He had travelled with a co-worker who made the film with him and they were revered in the land of documentary film making for their innovative thoughts and pictures. this time it was to the Inuit town of Nain. Nain is an Inuit community with a population of approximately 1300. On their way to Nain, they stayed at the Sheraton hotel in St. johns and were immediately welcomed like they were lost old aunts from the republic who were away for residential school. His co-worker had remarked that the people of the republic were known for their extreme kindness and he realized it too. they were kind to the point that he was called boy by everyone he saw.
"Haw's de foo' dere ma by?"
"haw's da foo' dere ma by?"
ahh, it's good.

In the Inuit community he showed the film and people liked it and they clapped and yes, they did want to use the film to teach the younger people of Nunatsiavut. so there they were, almost done and on there last night in Nain and decided to go out for a drink at the local bar. And what a show it was. People bought them drinks and were treated like they were celebrities and its as if people were fighting to sit with them. One old man kept saying, go away, I'm talking to my new friends. They both blushed with their new found glory of being celebrities.

The next day, they left the Inuit community and started heading back to St. Johns and they expected to be home to Ottawa in a couple days. Of course that is the night he met René in the fog drenched street of St. Johns and the story just kept getting weirder. So off to dinner with his co-worker, who kept getting hit on by old men and they liked her a lot. She laughed with Mr. Tsunami about the old men and their infatuations about her. Those newfies can get pretty weird sometimes and they were about to find out even further how weirder they can get.


After dinner they stuck around the bar and of course there was René, who loves the fog. He asked the question if Mr. Tsunami was Innu, at first he tried saying he is not but the fog lover must've thought that Inuit and Innu were the same people and he kept persisting that he is Innu and that they have a great tradition and culture. He wouldn't have it that inuit and Innu were different.

As the night wore on, René got drunker and drunker and kept saying how much he respects "his" culture. He got so animated and told Mr. Tsunami that he is a geologist and he said he likes maps and would one day like to map all the hunting grounds of the Innu, Mr. Tsunami's supposed land. He started saying that people have one common ancestors and Africa is the birthplace and that the people of north america, meaning the innu and Inuit came from mongolia. So Mr. Tsunami now was mongolian and he wondered if he can do the mongolian throat singing. René kept saying that the world separated in many different continents and Mr. Tsunami's people were once living in mongolia until the world split into many big islands.

It was as if René knew more about Mr. Tsunami that he knew about himself. In a matter of an hour, he had become the anthropologist and a historian. Beer was a great genius maker. the more beer one has, the more the genius comes out of people and René was no different.

At the end of the night René gave Mr. Tsunami a book about Mongolia and said that it will change his life.

It's been a day or two now since St. Johns and he wasn't sure if he had come from Mongolia still and his life was no different as of yet, even though he had looked through the mongolia book twice so far now. He still didn't know throat singing and he still didn't feel mongolian.

maybe time will tell

and he realized that he had changed identities at least three times that night in St. johns - from an Inuk to an innu and now he was mongolian.


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