Tuesday, November 30, 2010

are these the times?

The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them.
-Mark Twain's Notebook (1935)

I have a question for you, the reader.

When the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement or any other Inuit Land Claims in Canada, was created, is it done by radicals? Are these claims radical ideas and were they once?

And if these were radical views or if they still are, are they or about to wore out now?

and If they are worn out, have Inuit become conservatives and accepted the provisions and articles as dogma or as unquestionable rights and stagnant human right?

Have we put ourselves in our own cells and have given the key away to institutions?

Can you still get out?

Are these the times?

Friday, November 26, 2010

How to become a caribou

my father says to become a caribou a person has to pray every day for twenty years. he says praying is the answer to people's aspirations and that to attain some answers for your prayers, you have to kneel down and clasp your hands together.

my mother doesn't like to disagree with my father because they have been in love for the past four years. when they met, my father was praying to become a seal and my mother was praying to be an arctic tern because she knew that they fly from one end of the earth to the other end. My father never became a seal and my mother was so close to becoming a tern that she whistles beautifully. My father says he never really clasped his hands hard enough that his prayers weren't answered.

so, whenever i think of becoming a caribou, i pray really hard and clasp my hands like i am losing my heart. i pray so hard that it hurts my head and my father is really proud of me when i tell him of the pain. He says that someone in my big family has to become a caribou one day and he has faith in my prayers. i want to make proud my father, and i try and try to become a caribou.

i envision myself running on the tundra and i imagine myself eating those luscious herbs and imagine myself making fat from the nutrients of the land. I pray so hard about eating that sometimes i get the taste of the shrub in my mouth. i sometimes feel hollow furs growing in place of my human hairs but i never tell my father because i only want to show in progress only when small antlers are protruding from my head.

my mother gives me advice on how i can handle being an animal because she has a little bit of experience. She says no one believes her but for one day she was a tern and went as far south as Michigan until she started missing her parents. her parents, my grandparents were both lemmings. my grandpa and grandma were a pair matched in the realm of the still born babies. they were paired by the great Decider of spirits. the Decider is basically a progress report on your being and is being written as we speak. your being is your making and how you want to progress in becoming an animal is your responsibility.

I am now fourteen and have been praying since i was ten years old. i still have another ten years until i grow antlers but i am growing hairs, hollow caribou hairs because a young caribou still needs to be warm.

i clasp my hands and kneel down again and pray to the Decider. My head hurts and my father is smiling like the day he first saw me. He never says he is proud, but i can tell by the small smile in him that he believes that I'll have great antlers that are six feet tall and that i'll have great fat in me.

Mr Speaker

Mr Speaker,

i am standing up in the chambers of this illustrious and sad group of people who claim to represent people, and mr speaker, i am here to denounce the very actions that this chamber has worked on.

mr speaker, i am but one person and as but one person from one community, i have grave concerns regarding the rearing of our children and our elders in what you call a great land when in all honesty, it is just land.

first off, i want to talk about the children and the elders. the children do not give a crap about anything anymore and the respect they used to have is nothing but past memories now. the meaning of respect has been lost in the vocabulary of the children and this great idea of the past, the respect for people, is no longer practiced and all i see is laughter and ridicule towards the elders from this generation. You, this young generation of children's children, you are a child of a child, we don't blame you but blame ourselves.

Secondly, the elders are put into homes. Not just any homes but small and passionless houses where the next closest example is a prison to explain the living situations of our beloved elders. these, mr speaker, are the very people you claim to listen to and represent and everyone has, according to me, have become nothing but abusers of ancient knowledge by imprisoning our elders.

Mr. speaker, we have to create super heroes to replace these past elders. The heroes i am proposing are not children, are not people at all, but are ideas. Our heroes have to be ideas and ideas are more dangerous than you are mr speaker. you the speaker are six feet and five inches tall and have a huge beard, your cowboy boots are caked with mud, your hat is filled with information. Ideas are to replace you an me, we have to start producing ideas that are concrete and superfluous at the same time.

The land is just land, nothing more. sure there are thing in the ground that we want but we don't need those, other than what is on top which is food and animals. the land is attached to ideas and the ideas of this land are all gained towards profit and greed, to torture the very land that produced you.

Mr speaker, i abruptly end this great speech for i have to go to the bathroom and write on bathroom walls this:

Why i would taste like chicken:

i would taste like chicken if
you ate me right now
for i have been cooped up
been forced fed
bred for the sake of appearance
and for the consumption of others
tastes like chicken because
i've been eating generic food
just the same white chicken
in front of other thousand
white chickens white chicken meat
but still i make good broth
but still i make good broth

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Cup O' Noodle Traditional Soup

Shot and killed
skinned and prepared
dried and frozen
or raw
unpackaged and unlabeled

just add soup
turn on the stove
heat it up, boil
taste to desire

sit and enjoy
talk to father
laugh with mother
"its good right"
ask the sister

you have just
played a role
in a long
tradition of
consuming food

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Quinn The Eskimo and Tommy The Inuk

I was listening to Bob Dylan
about this Eskimo called Quinn
but i am pretty sure he was no
indigenous Eskimo
i have a feeling he might have
been an American-Mexicano
that Anthony Quinn
And He plays Inuk
The not-so-magnificent.

so i write this as an ode to him
for playing a character
that is close to kin
and i wonder if he was cold or if he was hot
in those costumes of sin
wife sharing in those clothes of skin

and how dare they chase that Eskimo
for killing that zealous missionary
just because the Eskimo wanted what was
normal to him, the kissing of another man's wife
and of course the Eskimo was offended
for not sharing what is rightly his,
that's right, another man's wife

and those Chinese are the closest
to becoming the real thing
of actually eating raw meat
and his name is Undik
What kind of an Eskimo name is that?
And do they know what Anarvik means?
do you know Andy Ho?
Don't worry, i am pretty hard to offend
even with names such as these:
and i find it funny, really funny!

And The Savage Innocents?
Is that not contradictory?
Because a savage cannot rightly be innocent

Life So Primitive It Will Make You Gasp!
- which is the tag line
and i actually gasped!

Oh Bob Dylan
And Anthony Quinn
We have made something of us
one a folksy singer nasally voiced
one a movie star, may you rest in peace and
one who is actually a surviving Eskimo
and i always wanted to write this poem

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Stop Pretending

I know it is a long hill to climb
slippery and wet, hail thrown down
wind sweeping the roads
snow clinging onto ice particles
the hill is full of obstacles
but still we have to try, i think, to conquer

i know, it is a lot of pessimism
that i write, i know first hand, right?
been labeled as a nihilist,
asked if i don't have an ounce of optimism in me

But i am challenging the world
to stop pretending that things will be okay
because admit it, they're not.

We have no utopia and no dystopia
it is rather a cornucopia of confusion
because we are trying too hard
to make something out of it
and putting too much labels on it's life

This place that we live in is a place
that is weird and frightful
but still we try to be grateful
because it is our bread and honey
or rather our meat and water
life-giving piece of land

Let's stop pretending it will be perfect
and treat it like a child rather than a
a great mother or father.
have you seen Nunavut lately, looks
like a 50 year old prostitute
when it is only a 10 year old boy.
Stop pretending and let's make a toy
for this 11 year old little boy.

After all, we are not in a Canadian beauty contest
we are in the Canadian Confederation to be honest
and let's be modest
about the what we have, even though it's not much
but i have a hunch
in many years from now
That it just might be okay.

Speak and You'll be Set for Life

I was reminded of the time when i had to present at the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. No, they sit, they don't stand. And I think there was one half-aboriginal person in the committee.

But during that meeting, I had said this: "how can Inuit parents support us so much, trying to make us go through high school like that, and then when we go home they're saying, “You don't speak enough Inuktitut when you get home.” I always question my parents about why they support us so much in learning English and learning science, while at the very same time as we're learning that, I'm forgetting how to speak my language like my father does."

I was referring that my parents always told me to learn English so that jobs will be easier for me to obtain. I know, I believed them too. I am not saying that you shouldn't learn the language, I'm just saying maybe what we've been told is a lie or was a lie told to our parents.

Now I'll say this with all due sarcasm: In this great land and territory of ours. hahaha, did you laugh too? Anyways, in this part of the world, in this corner of the globe called Nunavut, language is an issue that is not taken lightly, which is a shame sometimes, because we take things seriously way too often. Anyways, two new language laws have been passed in the last year.

Official Language Act is this: The Official Languages Act (OLA) recognizes three official languages: Inuit language, English and French. Under this act the following rights are guaranteed:

Use of any official language in the Legislative Assembly debates or other proceedings;

Use of any official language in Nunavut Court of Justice and appeal court proceedings;

Anyone can communicate with or receive services in an official language from the head or central office of any territorial institution, and

If there is a significant demand, other territorial institutions that are not head or central offices also have a duty to provide a service in an official language.

Inuit Language Protection Act: "This is the only Act in Canada that aims to protect and revitalize a first peoples’ language. The aim is to increase the population of Inuit who can speak and read their language fluently. To help Nunavummiut achieve this goal, a new cabinet position of Minister of Languages was created under the act."

Remember that part about my parents and jobs? Well, I have been told and unfortunately many parents are still saying that. Even young parents are opting for Enlgish and is very evident in Kivalliq, Iqaluit and Kitikmeot. Yes there i said it. What is the shame of an Inuk to say that language in other regions is very weak? I know, I've met people from all three places and some don't even give a crap.

This will no longer be the case very soon, if the above laws are successfully and passionately carried out. Soon it will be the chic thing to be speaking and organizing in Inuktitut. Soon you will not be the favoured one if your only language is English. Soon government services shall be in Inuktitut, but don't trust the government on that because it is run by people who don't speak Inuktitut. Soon uni-lingual English speaking Inuit will be saying "son, i hope you learn Inuktitut because it will increase your pay-grade by 10 percent." or "daughter, Inuktitut is the language of the gods, it is so beautiful that poetry is the everyday language in Nunavut." or "there was a time when people in Nunavut only English now it is all Inuktitut and is so hard" I hope so.

You know its cool to speak Inuktitut. If you are young, listen to me please, at least this part:

it is you that is changing the face of Nunavut and it is your responsibility to speak your language. and believe me it needs changing. a little make-up can be good sometimes and have you seen Nunavut lately, looks like a 50 year old prostitute when it is only a 11 year old boy.

to speak Inuktitut is probably one of the most attractive traits that a person can have. I am utterly attracted to people that can speak Inuktitut. So you should be too. Forget that blue eyed qalunaaq and go for that Inuktitut speaking brown-eyed beauty.

we have the accents and dialects that are so pretty when spoken and should be practiced more readily and often, and that goes for proficient speakers as well.

If you cannot speak Inuktitut, you'll have a much harder time to get jobs (lets hope so)

Read and write in Inuktitut, because this culture really needs a revolution when it comes to literature. A culture that doesn't take advantage of its literature, orally or literally, has gone stagnant and should be resurrected.

I mean, when did it become cool to throat sing?

When will it become cool to speak Inuktitut? Pretty soon, if you don't - make sure you learn quickly because one day people like me (how scary is that) will eventually start making decisions. And when we make decisions, let's hope we are not angry and hope we don't have iron fists. With the amount of pride in some youth, I would not be surprised if they are ultra-nationalistic about being Inuk and speaking Inuktitut in 50 years. It is not going to happen, don't pee in your pants yet.

Speak Inuktitut and you'll be fucken cool.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Last Canadians-Canadians Last ?

One Score and eight years ago, on a bright sunny June afternoon of the tenth, nineteen eighty two, a Eskimo mother was in great pain. People have been betting if she cried or not on that unfaithful day, but in all actuality, she did cry. The author is pretty sure of it.

On the tenth of that month, a Canadian was born without ever wanting to be any nationality, he just wanted to be a person and not be associated with any territory, culture, and country. He wanted to be part of family and he was, a fairly big one too, with 3 brothers and four sisters, two of whom are adopted and younger than the author.

He never dreamed of a land claim, because he thought that land was un-own-able, after all he was just a child, with no knowledge of racism, bigotry and government. He didn't even have an identity, he was part of a family. He liked that best!

In school, he was taught many things, but reading is one he is most appreciative of.

History is the product of the people and as part of the people, responsibility for history has fallen upon the above Canadian to state that nationality and association to any people and culture is a very dangerous thing.

When it comes to aboriginal people, were the Eskimos not part of the last wave of people to cross the land bridge? Last Eskimoids to cross the bridge. The Last "Canadians", we might as call ourselves the Last Nations and accept our fate in North America. Stop making ourselves special. After all, these Last Canadians, have, and is probably their best trait, a modesty matched by none. They are so humble that some people have even started saying that it is a fault of theirs.

Now imagine these Eskimos surprise when people of not so modest means, came to their part of the world and started imposing their own sense of modesty - which there is practically none, unless your a religious leaders and those are so few in numbers. So these newcomers were to be Canadians, and their founding father was going to be part of their people, and call him John A Macdonald and say, welcome to Canada only 100 years after Canada. Is there shame in that?

These new lawmakers started imposing hunting restrictions and boundaries and rules as to when you can kill animals, which the Last Nations depended upon, the animals to be clear. These new lawmakers also had a dubious notion of rights, because unlike the Last Nations, (who followed the golden rule without ever learning about it), their parents were so abused by authorities in the past, that they wanted to avoid those atrocities and in their naive view, rights were going to get rid of the abuses. But using those rights, they ended up abusing the very people that welcomed them into their world.

So, considering the the past, should Eskimos not be Canadians Last? should they be so supportive of Canada? The Last Nations didn't really have a concept of country and nation not until well into the twentieth century. And These Last Nations had to fight for the right just to be recognized and they had to fight for their own land. Does that not seem fair to you?

June ten nineteen eighty two, the Eskimo became Canadian by proxy. He never did want to be one. People who are nationalistic were thought to be dangerous by the greatest minds of the past, such as Einstein, Orwell, Bertrand Russell and many great thinkers.

People can be proud without espousing nation, territory, culture, language and heritage. Those are hard to be concretely proud of, but one thing people should be most proud of is family, no matter how dysfunctional it might be. Also, parents are to be revered and honoured, they are the ones that brought you to be Canadian.

Last Canadians Canadians Last

Monday, November 15, 2010

How to make your In-you-it Character

when writing characters that have Inuit in 'em
always make sure you include the followin'
as they will make your writing richer
and will instill some realism into your story

A Typical Inuk character
don't need to be a victor
because he is always a quitter
make sure: his environment is winter

He is always drunk
of course mention the words:
staggeringly walks

He fights anyone
especially other Inuit
he is a racist
he has been defeated
by another race
black eyes are his trademarks

of course
he had to sniff
gasoline and naphtha
and had a near-death
experience with
exploding propane tanks
when a cousin ignited a lighter
while he huffed

Your Inuit
has no job, lives on welfare
has never heard of Voltaire
but make sure you proclaim
that his language is rare
he doesn't look for a job
but he has done shit like rob

Make sure he has
a mental discrepancy
because the mother sure had
alcohol and drugs
when she was pregnant
she gambles
and always rambles
on about those Anglican bibles

He didn't do very well in school
he was never cool
people always called him a fool
he wore wool
because the weather is always cool
oh, make sure he is good with mechanical tools
compare his face and his family to

Asia, make sure you mention because
the current educational institution teaches
that is where he came from
in schools that is the dogma
and he loves cola
everyday he has to experience trauma
he asks:
who the hell is the Dalai Lama?

If your Inuit is an adult
make sure that he loves having kids
because no kids would just be an insult
he is susceptible to cults

an Inuit has to be a smoker of cigarettes
and dope has to play a part in your story
and he has to be poor
and he has to pay exorbitant prices for pumpkins
he is the northern, arctic, hillbilly

If your Inuit has a house or rents a house
and is not homeless (though that would be perfect)
make sure that he pays 65 dollars a month
and the house walls all have holes from
the Inuit's teenage son's anger
the daughter is promiscuous

Of course he has to like drinking tea
and his pee is always yellow
when he is calm, he is mellow
and he has to think that all
qalunaat are all shallow
tea and bannock, tea and bannock
to be more precise

he lives with 12 other people
in a house of three bedrooms
and sleeps on the couch
with a eleven ear old pillow

Make sure your Inuk is a hopeless
romantic to have a "normal" family
he dreams of a father
a sober mother
a caring brother
and a much nicer sister
and he wants to fall in
love with a caring and compassionate
big-breasted-double-PhD-white woman
who will eventually
create a international best-seller
by recounting his
In-You-It husband's life trials
and tribulations
and she will make an artist
out of him
an Inuk who can't
do art is unknown

when he turns old
he has to be wise
and young Inuit have to go up to him
and ask him questions about his past
because he has turned out to be
a holder of knowledge
of the yesteryear's past
because he know words from the past
make sure he talks about
how the good ol' them days
used to be better.

to be a successful Inuit
he has to die of suicide
and people should be asking at the funeral
why why why why why

Friday, November 12, 2010

Loves His Mommy

Tommy loves his mommy
because he came out of her -
cold - and if he could have spoke
he would have said "Burrrr."

Because in an instant he got the shivers
when he came out of hers.

Tommy's mommy:
And she loves him the same
even though the first words he spoke were
nothing but

Are we not lucky
to have such mommies?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Home to Nowhere

Do you get homesick for a place that does not exist?
Can there be a home in your heart, your mind or your soul?
Do you imagine a place where things are ideal?

I have been looking for a place to call home
a place where someone loves me and expects me
a place where i can sit and relax and rewind from my day

home is a tough place to make?
home is something that is in our minds?
home is a fragment of our imaginations?

what makes a home?
is it the furniture?
when you plug in your TV?

Is home where you cook?
is home where you eat?
is home where you sleep?
is home where you wake up?

is home a community
a family
a friend
is home four walls and a bed?

I thought i went home
because that is what they called it
and it had four walls and a bed
family was there
friends were just phone calls away
community where i grew up
inside the four walls were
where i used to sleep
and wake up
where i cooked and ate

it never felt like home anymore
there was love
and friendship
and family
but missing the main ingredients
to make whatever a home is

and i went home to nowhere
because they expect you to be home
even if you are homeless

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Take Your Culture Calmly

I am not much to be giving advice, but I'll try.

Do you ever get the feeling that what you do in life is a result of culture?

School is culture. Reading, writing, eating, speaking, dancing, singing, clothes and many more are all part of your culture. Prisons are part of culture. Shunning and ridicule are a big part of culture. Some cultures are pretty good at creating and adding new bits of life into their ways of life. Smoking weed is culture. Drinking alcohol is culture. Rubber boots are part of some cultures. Culture is everyone's. We fight on behalf of it, cry for it, and laugh at its expense.

My culture is proud, sometimes too much. My culture is of the colder temperatures and eater of raw meat foods. My culture is a hunter, a seamstress, an ingenious machine when it comes to fixing anything. My culture wears kamiks, mitts and homemade parkas.

I have talked to many of Inuit ancestry who are so proud they get offended when you say you are tired of "we are environmentally-friendly-sustainable people that burns garbage" or "throatsinging and ajajajaas are so outdated" or "Susan Aglukark is out-rated" or "English can be easier" or "thank god the English brought tea huh!" and so on...

culture is just an extension of life, and everyone of us, has life (or so we like to think). What i am trying to say is, culture is not stagnant, nor is it dead. Culture is like a little child at the age of two and four, acquiring every form of information at an increase rate. He learns so quickly its astonishing, speaks and imitates language and is always improving his physical ability. Culture is like that, cannot keep it in one place because its already off somewhere doing and re doing something to make it its own.

At the state that we are now, in Canada, as Inuit, we are forgetting the fact that culture is alive and we have control and no control over it. Just like a kid, we can control but we can't always stop them from putting something into their mouths. We cannot always stop a child from saying fuck you or shit or even "i'm from the government and i am here to help." Impossible.

We are trying to treat our lifestyles as if we are trying to resuscitate Sedna to help us out. Sedna has long been dead, and you wouldn't want to do a mouth to mouth procedure with her (imagine the stink of her breath after so many years.) Our lives are moving objects. All we can do is respect the past and hopefully learn from it. We don't have to do all the things they used to do, we can just respect it.

Which brings me to: We can practice culture, any culture, be it Inuit, Japanese, Greek or Italian and keep it alive by being let it be. There are people all over the world dying in the cause of culture. what a waste.

I suggest that Inuit take it easy on the cultural front. Let's not get militant and take it easy. If we are going to use culture as a political scapegoat, we might as well think about it as hard as we can. If any of the candidates for NTI presidency mentions culture, don't vote for them. They are using your lifestyle as a way to get people to like them. If a person says culture this and that, don't trust them because they are insecure about their own.

That was my advice, do with it what you will!

-Radio #5

Monday, November 1, 2010

From My Bowels To Yours

They say, you are what you eat!

Therefore i am a seal, walrus, polar bear, caribou and add little bits of chicken, cows, grains and coffee. I guess i am of that.

I have been thinking about how people pass on knowledge and i was wondering if they pass on the taste or food. Can people actually keep talking about food you've never tasted and have a craving for it?

Have you smelled igunaq before? (igunaq is fermented anything, seal, walrus, etc...) cheese and yogurt are qalunaat igunaqs. Some taste pretty good. My parents love igunaq, they eat it like they're going to put a quota on it. As for me and some of my generation, we don't really like the smell of fermented meat. It's too strong for some of us.

I think my generation is too quick to complaining (and that goes with me). We have been spoiled by modern conveniences and smells and taste. We can press buttons and food will be ready in two minutes. We can pre-heat an oven and shove in a pizza and wait twenty minutes - tadaa - a whole meal. We can just add water to some flour paste and we have pancakes. No longer do we patiently wait for the seal to cook, no longer have the taste for that igunaq. No longer craving meat that has been traditionally prepared.

This morning, i had some uujuq. Uujuq is a word for cooked meat of any kind. The uujuq i had this morning was seal. I was reminded of the time when breakfast must have been what i ate, leftovers from the night before, made for anyone who was going to have a full day. I admit, when i burp all i taste is seal. This was the breakfast of champions.

Food is one part of culture that goes along with language and tradition. You cannot separate food from culture, it defines who and what we are. In this case, Inuit is who we are and human is what we are. I have to admit that i never eat everything that is offered to me. i am at fault too.

I am not saying that food will make you an Inuk. Food will not turn you into anything. But the way it is consumed will decide what preference you have and that preference can tell us how much you respect and how much you enjoy being who you are.