Friday, October 29, 2010

Seal this and seal that!

Alright, for the people that are not of the Inuit race, listen carefully because i am about to bust a myth created by Inuit. And for other Inuit, listen as well because its not as serious as "leaders" make it out to be.

I have tried to mock the idea of seal skin markets and Inuit protesting a government that is thousands of kilometers away. I mean, don't you think its pointless, that we are trying to save an economy that loses more money each year than make money?

How many seal hunters do you know that make a full time living by just selling seal skins?

It was in the news again today, the news about seals and that damn group EU. We are trying to fight a government that doesn't know the value of culture and has been at constant war with either itself or with other governments for the possession of land.

here is the articles from both CBC and Nunatsiaq News:

I had said before too that we should be supporting the mothers and grandmothers that make seal skin clothing for their families. Inuit hunters will always hunt, with or without the ban. Mothers and Grandmothers sewing skills are not being passed down from generation to generation and that is a bigger deal than Inuit men making $60 per skin.

Hunting and killing seals will never be lost but what i am afraid of is that our culture is being used as a scapegoat to challenge people that don't give a crap about us.

And Ms. Simon had this to say: "We plan to appeal the ruling as we believe the original seal ban was based on colonial perceptions of our sealing practices, and this week’s ruling is a perfect illustration of this.” Boohoohoo - are you not tired of that word, colonial? It is so outdated and our "leaders" still keep on using it. She should realize right now, after reading this terrific writing, that she is colonizing Inuit into believing her, that the non-existent seal market is important.

Inuit have many more options as to how they can utilize their culture to make an economy. Tourism is one example, showing people the Inuit way of life on the land. There are people excited enough to see your cousin eat a seal rather than sell the seal. There are people willing to pay for an airline ticket just to watch whales, and some can be coming from Europe. People willing to walk hundreds of kilometers in Nunavut just to see the land. there are many more economies out there other than mining and seals!

I don't know, but maybe it feels good, for ITK, to finally be on the same side as the federal government. They've never really worked together before until now and it just must be euphoric for both parties.

There is no market. Inuit "leaders" just need something to fight on behalf of culture, while they make three figures sitting on a leather cushioned chairs and a desk made of hardwood while their "Inuit seal hunters" are freezing their butts off trying to kill that coveted seal to sell to that lovely Austrian lady who likes to wear little seal skin purses.

with or without the ban, seals are going to be hunted by Inuit, but i am not sure about the Labradorians, Newfies and those Qubecois, who kills seals for the market, they'll just lose all those seasonal jobs.

Anyways, "wear your seal skin day" is coming up soon and if you have no seal skin clothing, just wear cowboy boots, they look just as cool as seal skin.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Radio #5 on Inuit

Radio #5 was born in 1975. His first name is Radio and his middle name is # and his surname is 5. His parents were of the traditional stock of the Eskimo race before they converted to Inuit in the 1980's. Before conversion, they hunted animals and used the skins for clothing. They spoke only Eskimo and later on Inuktitut. Radio grew up in this environment, hunting and foraging, until his father was told to get a life and demanded that he start paying for other Canadians well-being. So he got a life, started paying taxes and gave up his Eskimoness in favour for Inuit.

Inuit are a recent come-along to humanity. It is a new word that people started imposing on Eskimos, because they didn't know any better to be called something else. Inuit started introducing snowmobiles and outboard motors to Eskimos. Eskimos gave up their dog teams and also started wearing traditional Inuit clothing, such as bell-bottom pants and started having their hair glossed over with a cream.

Back in the 1970's when Eskimos started converting to Inuit - the Inuit also realized that they'll need some sort of government and self government was seen the way to go towards. So they proselytized about the evils of Trudeau-ism, because they said Inuit should be like Canadians as well, looks and all. Inuit didn't like this, so they said, we want in, but let us in - in our own kamiks and boots. They said the black shoes were too uncomfortable. And they demanded and shouted, sometimes even going on TV to say a few words to Trudeau and his little monkey Chretien.

So Radio grew up around where the world was changing all the time, not just his Inuit world, but everyone Else's. People often make this mistake, thinking that Inuit went through huge changes, but that is a conspiracy because in the 60's, 70's and not so much 80's, everyone's world was changing all the time. New channels on TV, new radio shows, Montreal Canadiens were changing the game of hockey, while Toronto Maple Leafs hardly made a dent. The fax machine was making things so fast. The telephone had buttons on it rather than a dial. And so much more. the world changed, not only Inuit.

When Radio was 5 years old, he was exposed to a radio at his community and vowed that he would be the one announcing everything to everyone. He became a radio DJ. He did good.

In 1980's, these things happened, that the world has regretted ever since:

* Brian Mulroney
* The Artist Formerly Known As Prince
* Ronald Reagan
* Union Carbide
* Margaret Thatcher didn't die (same for Reagan)
* Bob Marley and John Lennon were killed (so sad)
* Bon Jovi
* Molly Ringwald
* the TV show Dallas

and so many more that my hands are getting tired!

These events are true, if you don't believe me, you can ask Jean Chretien, or Duran Duran, who were very political. They are all true! I never lie, otherwise I'll never make it to heaven!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Smoking on a windy night

do you ever get that feeling of euphoria?

maybe it's only me, knowing that i am unique, that is euphoric?!?!

I was standing outside, smoking my cigarette, in the dark and on a windy night. I had just been driven home and before i entered, needed to get my nicotine addiction in check first. so i lit one up and began to suck on the smoke.

as i was smoking, i remembered a story that one of my brothers had told me. He is six years older than i. he gave me advice on how to hide the smokes from my parents, how to get rid of tobacco smell before i went home and also how to spend your money wisely - so that your parents don't question where all that money you make goes to.

So he told me of a story when he was 16, with our cousin. he said my family was to be out hunting for three weeks. he was hiding the smoke from our parents. and he didn't have any money so he had to steal the pack from someone else. so a pack of cigarettes for two sixteen years old boys for three weeks. if you smoke, that is a tough stretch.

well, what he said was: there is a lot of risk when you are in a camp of about fifteen people in two tents, most of them are older than you and none of them want you to smoke. so we had to hide them and we needed a good hiding spot for the pack, where rain would not get to it.

so they hid the pack.

the next morning, my father decided to go somewhere where there might be some caribou and wanted to leave early. of course my brother is sixteen and stays up later than anyone in the camp. and being young that he is, he sleeps in all the time. unfortunately, him being a late sleeper, my father didn't give him enough time do what he has to do. He made him do chores and soon as they were done, they went on the boat and off they went hunting for caribou, never to come back to the camp they slept in.

along with the camp, went the cigarettes, never to be seen again as well.

that was my brothers story: story of great eskimo despair, of eskimo sadness, of an eskimo growing up in the eskimo world. how sad.

as sad as it is (hahaha) it reminded me of a time when my brother would give me advice on how to be sneaky. it brought back memories of growing up eskimo. and i remembered the time he told me the story when we were smoking, passing by the very island where he slept in and where he hid his smokes, passing it by from a boat.

unbeknown to us, my father was listening, and told my brother, "i knew you smoke all along... the only person that i didn't know who smoked was your younger brother."

and he looked at me smiling, as if a father and son relationship had just been realized.

NOT. He scolded both of us for being smokers.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Free the Polar Bears

Do you have the time to listen to me whine
About nothing and everything all at once
I am one oh those
Melodramatic fools
Neurotic to the bone no doubt about it
- "Basket Case" By Green Day

There was a time i was innocent and a virgin. There was a time when I hated cheese and never cared for hummus. There was a time when i didn't want to wear kamiks. There was a time when I said "no" to my mother and felt powerful for a few seconds and then regretted for two days. There was a time when i didn't smoke anything. There was a time when i watched MuchMusic. There was a time when i was horny all the time. There was a time i did my multiplications and divisions. There was a time when i didn't know how to spell bureaucracy.

There was time in 1999 - when i crossed the Atlantic Ocean on to the Heathrow airport and then onto Glasgow and Edinburgh and Peterhead, Scotland. It was a high school trip. That is when i had my first taste of Budweiser (don't tell my mother yet), when i saw Scottish kids play football, when it didn't rain in Scotland or more than three days (and the people really thought we were good omen - those superstitious Scots - and demanded that we stay another three days so they can go to the beach, but it rained the next day and they threw us out like we were English royalty.)

At that momentous episode in 1999, where 18 high school Inuit found out that they can be anything they want, other than a teacher of course, it was 1999 - also the year Nunavut was created and they had stars in their eyes. Those stars in their eyes were to be removed as soon as they left Scotland, not by anyone but by themselves.

They thought Scotland was hot (probably the only people to ever think so) and strutted the streets of Edinburgh in their wife-beater shirts. This one day, they took a trip to their very first zoo. They had never been to one and were eager to see exotic animals from the south.

From the south my ass!

Well, they were, but not all!

There was this one animals you see, that the Inuit were totally familiar with, and some had even hunted it. To the outsider of Inuit life, this was the representative of toughness, an image of tranquility and independence. This was the "majestic" polar bear.

This particular majestic polar bear was from Churchill, that place that is associated with all sorts of evil, namely residential schools. Once those Inuit children left Churchill and became human beings, they started capturing polar bears to civilize and send them to far off places in the world - in a sense - to make them useful. This polar bear had a name but i can't remember it.

This polar bear wanted to help Inuit - I could just tell. Or maybe it was pity that the polar bear had in his eyes. Pity that these young Inuit were going to experience something that the polar bear knew all along - mainly that the Inuit were going to be seen as endangered.

OK. Polar bears are usually in a place where they have kilometers of room, nice cold weather and nice bloody - fat sustaining - foods to eat. They are revered for their cunning-ness by Inuit. They are free in the real sense of the word.

OK. But this particular Edinburgh polar bear was in a caged enclosure, less than a kilometer big, in a island the size of a living room, in a heat that was never reserved for the polar bears comfort. I don't know if polar bears like to play with beach balls but this one had a few of them in his brown murky water. Now get this, when we saw the polar bear, it was just going back and forth on its little island - looking depressed as ever and eating food that made it look like a clown bear, with it being so skinny and the colour of its skin was light brown. It looked like a crazy demented polar bear that didn't care. It WAS crazy!

This is from a country that actually civilized us!

I came home that spring and told my father about the polar bear and we agreed that that is not a way to live. We talked about how obnoxious and hypocrites people can be. They tell us to not to shoot too many polar bears, have quotas on whales, but when it comes to taking care of animals, such as the Edinburgh polar bear, they utterly failed to realize that animals suffer from depression and are not to be left in cages.

So, i say free the polar bears. Free all the animals! Free all the living things! FREE FREE FREE!

Anyways, they are pretty tasty!

And i haven't caught one yet, because apparently, the one i was supposed to caught through the quota system, has been living in Scotland all these years.

I blame Scotland for i am not a man yet. Oh wait... i blame... umm... i blame... i don't really know who to blame! I blame myself for not having the guts to talk to the zookeeper and try to explain that animal cruelty starts when you caged life!

Radio #5 plays Red Rover

Welcome to today's show. This is Radio #5. Don't pronounce it five, but as fye. Like fye o clock. Or fye dollar-mit? Or fye-mi it closes. Well, you get the drift. So this is Radio #5. Today on our show we are playing Red Rover. The game that many of us have played when we were young. I am sure you know all the rules, so just listen in and we'll report the play of this game.

The teams are divided into two.

On the North side, the team is composed of the Nunavut government MLA's and Inuit organization's elected executives. Often enough, we never see them working as hard together as they are now. They are dressed in fine Italian suits with matching seal skin ties and for extra grip strength, they are wearing synthetic seal skin mitts.

On the south side, we have some of the federal MP's and people from the non-renewable industry who are executives in their own respects. Often enough, we see these two working together. They are dressed in traditional Inuit clothing, designed by Gucci and Tommy Hilfiger. Man, they look good. Look those kamiks Chuck Strahl is wearing and the tight seal skin pants Stephen "The Even" Harper is sporting make Freddy Mercury look queerer than he is. And Look at that, Stockwell Day is sweating his ass off with the parka he is wearing, it looks to be two sizes too big.

Okay, the captains of each team has just chosen which coin they are calling to decide who gets to call first for the Red Rover game. The North side chooses tail and the south chooses heads. The south wins the coin toss and will call out first. This is interesting, who will they call over first. Who do they trust more than others or who do they think is stronger.

Ok, here is Stephen Harper calling the first person. He clears his throat and calls over Paul K, the entertaining and stylish NTI President. He is wearing that expensive Armani and the tie is made by a modern Inuk, which is made of seal skin with a design of the Montreal Candiens logo on it. He runs and is intending to break through and he is choosing to cross Gail Shea and Bev Oda, who both seem to be the weakest link. They look rather like poor wet puppies with those ridiculously designed amautiks they are wearing. As of we speak, my mother is criticizing the seamstress that made the amautiks. She is saying that they'll never be warm in those. And Paul K. makes it through, breaking the hands of Bev Oda in the process. So, the north side chooses Gail Shea, who does not have a broken hand.

It is time for the north team to decide who to send over. They have a bit of an advantage here, with those synthetic seal skin mitts. And they are pretty strong looking with Lorne K. and Moses A. holding hands like they are long lost lovers. And the Premier of Nunavut, Eva A. calls over the big dog of the south Stephen "The Even" Harper, who is the head of the south team. He pulls up his seal skin pants (they look rather tight) and proceeds to run, full blast. Oh no, he trips and falls face first on the ground. Oh look he gets up still and runs to Daniel S. who holds his ground to stop Stephen Harper. He switches to the North team.

Well, this is Radio #5, who brought you the Red Rover game between the south and the north. We are not going to cover the whole game because that would be so boring. I mean, both teams look ridiculous in their uniforms and they're playing a children game that ceased to be popular in the 80's. Nowadays, we have kids that have iPod's and video games.

So to end the show, I will be throwing copper coins at both teams.

Here is my first throw... it hits Eva A. right on the head. She gives me a mean look.

Second throw: it lands on the federal minister of health and knocks her out. She starts sobbing and Harper has to console her - while the rest of her team - they all look dejected.

Third throw: oh look at this! Stockwell Day catches it and throws it back to me. He smiles and hits me on my forehead. Oh look at that, what a catch.

Well, i have just interrupted a historic game of Red Rover. This definitely will not go to the history books.

This is Radio #5.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Today on Radio #5

This is Radio #5, the station where nothing matters, which is precisely why it matters.

"you know what really grinds my gears?" is what Peter Griffin said.

"you know what is so unimportant that it deserves some explanation?" is what Tommy Blue says now.

Well, today on Radio #5, we have a few educational materials to talk about, one being that Americans can admit that global warming is happening but many of them don't understand the reason. Here is what CBC has to say:

According to a study by Yale University researchers, 63 per cent of U.S. citizens believe that global warming exists. However, only 57 per cent know what the greenhouse effect is and only 45 per cent recognize the impact of carbon dioxide in trapping the earth's heat.

Can you actually believe that? Well, I can. Americans are so smart they have dumb themselves down pretty good. I once had a conversation with an American about Inuit. He was from Florida, i think, walking around downtown Ottawa and he was standing by the NS building, looking at he poster that Murray had designed and wondering if the person is an Eskimo. I said sure. He asked if we go to school in Ottawa and i said yes. Then he asked me if we were still communist and he started asking questions about our livelihoods, so i answered each time and said, nope communism isn't our belief. So Americans can be ignorant but they are no less smarter than we are.

and get this again, they believed this:

The poll reveals that almost half of Americans — 49 per cent — incorrectly believe that the space program contributes to global warming, and that the hole in the ozone layer, toxic wastes, aerosol spray cans, volcanic eruptions, the sun and acid rain also play a role.

And another topic for Radio #5 is a question posed by an Inuk from Pang.: "Who is the Prime Minister of the United States of America?"

Well, all i can say is: many people in this world are ignorant, just as this Inuk is about USA. Buddy, they don't have Prime Ministers, they have a Presidents. And the President of US of A is Arnold Schwarzenegger, from Utah!

There you have it folks, this was Radio #5, giving you all the news and information you might need for the world.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I was found delirious and in need of immediate assistance

School started at the age of five. His sister held his hand on the first day and said to him, "See, your friend Jeremiah, he can go to school on his own, when are you going to go on your own?" Mind you, this is my first day of school. The world can be so full of questions that can never be sufficiently answered.

School went on for 12 more years, from the age of five until the age of seventeen, where hormones always had a party but never invited the host. School to him had always been kind of easy until he was in grade eleven and the hormones played a big part in his life and he started doing things that his parents warned him against. He stayed up late and started sleeping in. He failed a class but graduated from high school in time.

Well, school has some good parts to it but mostly bad parts. The good parts were that he learned to read and write in two languages and learned the old age tradition of dealing with numbers. those were good.

The bad were that he had to stay away from his family for half the day during the weekdays. To him, family was important than institutional learning. Of course he didn't know when he was going to school, he just thought school was school. he felt like he was in prison a lot. Except he didn't get fed like prisoners. They even taught him in his second language.

He went on to college and spent some time in the south. He lived amongst the people who prized education like it was an initiation to the world. in the south, education was prized as being civilized. He learned more about perception and how people construct and deconstruct the world they inhabit. He learned he had to gain most of his information by himself, and he started reading history and linguistics and political oriented books. He really like history because it made him feel part of the bigger world than what he left.

That is the thing about living in a different environment - the amount of information that floated in the world sometimes overwhelmed - there are so many things to think about. He thought that it was part of growing up, the amount of things he acquired felt like silk and thorns at the same time. It hurts and soothing at the same time.

One day they found him delirious and confused at a bookstore - unable to comprehend the spirituality and ecstasy of learning.

He stumbled and fell down right in front of the autobiography section of the bookshelves. And before he lost all consciousness, he reached for the book: Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut.

When he fell down and the book flopped beside him, it opened to the page with the lines:

"All time is all time. It does not change. It does not lend itself to warnings or explanations. It simply is. Take it moment by moment, and you will find that we are all, as I've said before, bugs in amber."

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

to be an Inuk in a modern world

I don't believe there is such thing as modern. tomorrow this life that i had lived will be outdated and gone, only relived through memories. and my memories are completely biased towards myself, favouring my experience over other people.

the past that i reminiscence about so often is a favour that my mind is playing on my sense of time. This sense of ownership of one person's past is just an imaginary possession that i can get angry about, gain happiness from or get utterly confused about. The reason, why i think it is, is because we are so attached to our memories that they will make us re-think about our present and future, even though they are a construct of our imaginations.

I am pretty sure i am not making sense at all here. that is the thing about being an Inuk in the modern world. It is hard to make sense of what is and what was and what will be. We have been bombarded with all sort of information - from schools, from our parents and from society. The information is contradictory too, and as if knowledge is competing with other forms of knowledge. Who do i trust when it comes to believing what is true - the western knowledge or my ancestors knowledge?

If you are an Inuk, this would seem simple. you'd choose the ancestors belief! But for me, all i have are stories, nothing to experience my ancestors beliefs, unless i get it through bits and pieces that have been passed on to me, such as knowing very little about hunting, i try to me nice most times and respect for other living things is paramount. That is all i have that is tangible about my past. most of what i know about the past is gained through schools and western teaching curriculum - such as the history of Inuit - which i learned from white teachers from Ottawa, written by white people from Ottawa, examined and categorized as something important for Inuit to know.

So, i think i am safe to say that i am just a person who happens to live in the north, who happens to have Inuit ancestors, who inadvertently believes he has history that is tangible when all along, his world is categorized and inventoried. might as well put a bar code tattooed on my arm.

and don't you get tired of hearing throat singing sometimes?

Oh how tough it is to be so modern!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I'm one of those regular weird people.

the title is attributed to Janis Joplin.

as i was walking down the street and the snow is blowing low to the ground. the sun is shining and it is windy, gusting up to 5o Km an hour. As i listened to Nirvana, remembering that Cobain committed suicide or overdosed on drugs, which ever you prefer.

i don't believe in ghost of any kind. as one of the songs played, a gust of wind blew and the blowing snow on the ground looked like a streak of white linen and the thought of ghost leaped into my mind. I was mesmerized by the fluidity of snow and how it is affected by wind, but has this instinct to trail each other little flake of snow.

then the thought of how glorious of a day it is dawned upon me. Sure it is windy and snow blowing but somehow the sun intermingling with the clouds brought a sense of peace to the world. As if the world was only going so far, as if it was reluctant to leave something like good weed smoldering on the ashtray, also it felt like it was reluctant to say goodbye to a loved one, delaying anyhow as possible.

Do you think the world is in love with something? Anything?

to bring me back to the world, a taxi honked it's horn. I was back to the monotony and duplication of stop signs and buildings made of wood and metal.