Friday, February 11, 2011

the niceness of inuit

i was listening to the radio, or rather my parents were listening to the radio, which is on every single day, when an announcement went on about food. if you are from pang, you'll understand this, but one of the hunters announced that anyone can pick up seal meat from their place, as long as they bring a bag.

this is not amazing to Inuit. i lived in ottawa for a number of years and i lived in iqaluit for the summer and no one ever put out a notice that anyone can pick up any food for free. actually in iqaluit, they sold food, country food. in ottawa they have shelters that offer food but they consider it for poor people. but in pang, and maybe smaller communities as well, they give out food all the time.

this got me thinking. i have heard on the news that inuit have the lowest number of volunteers in canada, or i should say nunavut, which is mostly made up of inuit anyways. and people probably thought nunavummiut were such bad people or were lazy. but what these statisticians forgot that inuit will not, let me point that out, will never brag about volunteering or giving out food. it is degrading to do so. and these information collectors forgot a lot of essential details about the lives of people up here, which is niceness is a given.

people will not point out the number of hours they did, visiting elders, which usually means helping one of them one way or another, will never point out that they gave caribou, seal, fish or any country food to anyone. they will never point out that after someone, anyone in the community has passed away, people visit the grieving family for a number of days afterwards, will never point out that they fund raise for family members to go to the funeral which can go up to thousands of dollars.

volunteering is for people, i think, and especially in the south, that are to me, trying to win compassion points, if you will. and i might be making a generalization, but i'll take the risk, they are usually rich people that feel they need to "help" the community. i am not saying they should stop, but i think they help for the wrong reasons.

as for living up here, they just do it. it amazes me to hear it on the radio for people to say "pick up food from my place" and the do it for anyone because they have been told by their parents or grandparents to do so. people don't consider this volunteering but it is. it is helping people and people don't need organizations to be nice up here.

each family is its own salvation army. each family is a sally annes. each family is a humane society, giving out pets and so on. each family is a philanthropic family. each family is christianity, buddhism or islam, they all want to help in one way or another.

i have wrote in the past that maybe inuit are too nice for their own good, but i am glad we are. in this world where there is greed everywhere and there is war and famine everywhere, inuit are nice to other people, in general. don't let me paint a utopia here, because there is a lot of shit that goes on around here, but inuit don't just let go of these people that do these shit, they try to help them. and that is a whole lot of volunteerism there. in many ways are just so helpful.

next time before the north is put into a light of non-helpful society, they should hear and learn from the generosity of people here, it makes you proud. they should go to a house and ask for food, they'll get it, i guarantee it.


Geometrics said...

You must be hanging out the wrong kind of volunteers! The brownie-points thing only applies to a small segment of volunteers. Most people volunteer for fun, or because they have skills and time they know others could use for a good cause, and very, very few track hours to compare with other "volunteers," probably when they meet at their next $350/plate political fundraiser.

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