Monday, May 30, 2011

The Revolution Will... You Know... Not Have... Legs On Dinner Tables

You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag
and Skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.
- Gil Scott-Heron - first line of the poem "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised."

- the last line of the poem:

The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, will not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live.

I'll give you a scary thought, well, it is scary to me:

Imagine people actually follow this blog and actually look forward to a new post. A person, maybe from Russia, Korea, Iraq, France, Germany or even from Nunavut it self, which this blog have received views from, actually read and save a copy of what I've written.

I know.. I know... its ridiculous to think such a thing.... but if you are that such person, i have news for you. I have a place to call my own. A place i pay money for, which houses my body and soul and consumes all my excretions and supplies H20 for myself. And Heat. Electricity. And End tables.

Since Thursday May 26, 2011, my favourite number has been changed to: Eight Hundred and Thirty Two. Also my new favourite letter is: B. Which combined to mathematical precision create my house number. 832B. There has to be a biblical, or Egyptian or maybe even philosophical importance to the number. I have absolutely nothing to complain about the place. Nothing. Even if it were not furnished and bare. I'd still be thankful. And never in the history of my 29 years on this planet, I have never been this thankful to a government... until now. Thank You. Umm, Nu...Naa...Vut... (sighs) got that over with, now back to the good news.

Because I am not very good at picking out curtains, I have unmatched coloured curtains, which i decided upon after 20 minutes of consideration, which was mostly to being traumatized by the prices of simple and flimsy curtains. I bet its not very hard to use the sewing machine and make curtains, but these were probably made by an honest Ontarian, who works at a friendly factory that pays just above minimum wage instead of a Filipino child in a sweatshop, which i think explains, the cost of the curtains. And that Nutrition North, unfortunately, doesn't cover black and brown curtains.

(I hope you have a great sense of humour)

The cable was installed in record time. If there is a super cable man, this guy was it. almost the very same hour. As if a silhouette of a TV was projected above 832B and the cable man sprang to his uniform and tadaa... I came home to cable TV.

If you are from the south and are reading this from the south, your jaw is going to drop in 1 second, soon after you read this: I pay over a hundred dollars for a 5Gb bandwidth limit per month. But also, I am very thankful for this, and so should you, that I get to write and post on this blog.

I also have a great view. If this community were greatly developed and we had millionnaires and had luxurious hotels, the view I have would be a million dollar view. But currently, it is a thousand dollar view because that is what I pay for this privilege.

Which brings me to the end. The place that I rent has furniture part of the package. I had to assemble a few things and one of them was a dining table, complete with chairs. You can also adjust the size of the table to a round one, which would be great for a poker night, I thought. I opened it and lo and behold, no legs. It is one big leg, right in the middle. It looks beautiful in the picture and I was looking forward to eating on it. But I am not even upset. I'll gladly wait for it.

If Mr Scott-Heron's first line of his poem is true, I hope they hold it off for at least six months, the revolution that is. I want to settle a little bit, get my couch groove on and maybe pay and help reduce the 200 million dollars housing corporations deficit. I'll gladly pay for that right now, in exchange for this place.

I'll be part of the revolution but let me revolutionize this house to my comfort first. And before television goes, let's think of the efficient super hero cable man, who will televise anything except the revolution. He has a job to do.

Let this be written in the annals of history.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

NS Alumni Association of Pangnirtung

I've been having this idea since June of last year, during or right after the Nunavut Sivuniksavut's 25th anniversary, held in Iqaluit. There were many messages talked about and ideas passed around. From the start, i never thought of this on my own, i talked to friends who went to NS.

I don't really want to talk about NS too much, the programs speaks for itself but of the students, i want to bring up. Not to glorify the alumni of the program, i would like to point out that, you as a graduate, has resources that not many people have in Nunavut: each other, with the same understanding and knowledge and also passion to learn and teach many aspects of Nunavut's history and future possibilities, however wild and glamorous they might be. It is this kind of passion and enjoyment that will, in the long run, assist Inuit and others, in hopefully creating peaceful lives.

With that stated, lets try to look at the number of alumni in our community. I know that Pang has many alumni, from the first ever class to new graduates, that fit the paragraph above. I think many of us even have great jobs and pretty good careers coming up in the future.

What can we as alumni do to help our communities and NS, the program itself? How much benefit can we bring to each other and others around the community, especially younger children who will need a future to look forward to. How can we maximize our understanding of community building and implement such knowledge?

Well, maybe we can meet sometime? Maybe one day, we can sit down and talk about possibilities and realities? Maybe we can come up with any kind of idea that will make our communities more peaceful and attractive to live and learn from? What can we do, as individuals and as a group, to mobilize ourselves to help our communities? these possibilities can be countless if we think of them up.

Let me know what you think.

you can email me at to express ideas and possibilities.

i think it is due time we do something, anything.
*radio adresses regarding community issues in conjunction with community organizations or governments
*Hold trade fairs, career fairs, cultural fairs and so on
*Help people with any administrative work that will help them create jobs or gain knowledge

these are small points that i have made up. imagine all of us pooled together. imagine what we can come up with.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Culture of Illiteracy and Fear of Reading

well, i actually hope people of all kinds read this post, especially if you are Inuk and/or a northerner of some many years.

here it goes.

I have been in Pang for the past four months now and i would like to offer an explanation as to why i hardly write on my blog anymore. It is pure and simple. There just isn't a culture for reading in this town and i imagine other Inuit communities as well, where you develop a love for books or magazines that broaden your view on anything.

And then there is the other side of the story. Not all people are like this but one of the comments i have received, when he saw me reading a book was, "do you really think books really make you learn? Don't you think you would rather do something than sitting around and reading? Is it not such a qallunaaq thing to do, to read." There is fear that you, as a reader, are losing your culture if you keep on reading english books and that you are more interested in the qalunaaq world than i am at my own culture. Which is far from the truth.

This fear, that many Inuit have about losing culture and language, is and has paralyzed my zeal and passion for books and writing. You just don't see people here reading and if they are, they are reading Jim Bell's opinionated editorial pieces or the bible. You never see books on bookshelves, except they're filled with porcelain polar bears and angels, or knick knacks.

I'm no longer going to say what is good and acceptable anymore. This is not acceptable is it? Should we be afraid of books and if we are afraid of them, under what grounds? Is it because they're in english and have western ideas? Is the snowmobile not a western idea? are we afraid of it and how practical is it? Don't you think books are like snowmobiles for your mind, useful for something, like hunting for that definition or that idea?

I mean, people here are willing to pay 120.00 for a 26 ounces of alcohol, but not willing to spend 5.00 on "Bambi" or "Cinderella" or "where the wild things are". People here are willing to spend there child tax benefits on a gram of weed for 50.00 but cannot fathom to spend 20.00 on Bill Bryson, Faulkner, National Geographic magazine, or even any sort of novel or non fiction.

And what of the library? I have been there a couple times and in one instance where i opened a book, the last take out of the said book was in 1997. I'm not criticizing the library, i love those places, but if not utilized, what is the use?

I am not trying to lecture anyone about this, i am just merely writing down my observations.

And i think i have to admit this fault: that many of us do not try to get kids to read. we fail at this from the onset of children's love for new knowledge. Also, we have to admit the relatively new notion of knowledge coming from books, rather than our elders or parents. Our history tells us that Inuit never had a writing system and that knowledge has been passed down through oral teachings and lessons. There is also the fear of losing out language to english and most of the books are in english, so i can see the apprehension people have and i don't blame them.

But, honestly, we cannot stop that from making us read and becoming an avid literary culture. We can definitely produce books and that can be easy enough. What we have to overcome is the fear that we are losing our culture. you cannot lose culture, it merely changes, unless we all die, thats is when our culture dies. As of right now, we are in the midst of some changes, they may seem enormous right now, but in the long run, i think, we will realize that we never did lose anything, we merely changed our opinions on various matters and how we react to them.

Just so that you understand why i am hardly writing now, this is a big reason. The other reason is that, I have been going out hunting whenever possible, when the weather allows and if nothing happens. Seals, fish, ptarmigans and geese are available right now. Its spring and the weather is mild enough to be outside for hours on end, where computers don't necessarily work in. We also get a free tan, courtesy of mother nature and mr. sun.

All i am really hoping for is that I'll get over the issues as to why i am not writing as much as i used to. I hope to get over this cultural mishap that we think anything new coming to our part of the world is all bad influence and is breaking down our culture to smithereens. We have to stop fearing literacy and become literacy ourselves.

Soon, in five years I hope, to say that we are the story and the story was made by us. One day we will embrace books on our shelves. One day, i hope that we are the Hemingway of literacy. That we produce not just opinions, but scientific history, not only relating to our world, but to the whole earth and beyond.

there is an article in Nunatsiaq News about Greenlandic scientist, who happen to be Inuit, where they urge inuit to become scientist and that knowledge is knowledge, regardless of who holds it. I think this is very apt to what i was talking about except he is talking about science and not books. But he says:

"Last July, Rosing told delegates at the ICC general assembly in Nuuk that Inuit should change their attitude about there being “two kinds of knowledge” in the world, traditional environmental knowledge and western scientific knowledge — because there is only one kind of knowledge.

“Knowledge is knowledge — whoever has it,” Rosing said.

Rejecting what science has to say can be “an impediment for the Arctic to be heard in the world,” he said.

Inuit should play by “the same rules” as everyone else when it comes to understanding the world, Rosing said.

“it’s putting you in a corner if you go on and say you’re really, really special,” Rosing told Nunatsiaq News during the recent Arctic climate change and pollution conference in Copenhagen."

by rejecting the world, we are rejecting our possibilities.

i hope you understand.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

sorry, this is an apology

As in almost every apology, you have to think it through correctly to make sure you don't have to apologize again for the same thing the next time. So i have tried to think this through and how am i going to apologize appropriately for the lack of written subject in the last two months.

I am sorry for not informing you that i am an employee of the government of nunavut now. i have been under their payroll for a month now. I go to a pretty big blue office, where the majority of the employees are Inuit women with big trucks.

i am sorry for not informing you that i have tried to go out hunting as much as possible for a man that has to ask to borrow a snowmobile. I have borrowed my brothers snowmachine a couple times. so i have caught a seal pup, a fish with a kakivak and a few ptarmigans.

on another note, that does not require an apology, i have not read a new book in over two months. you should really pity for that. books are really not part of the culture up here, which is a shame really. Books are new friends that you can share and keep for a long time. actually, they never talk back and never insult you.

this is tommy, hopefully next time i will not wait for a long time until i write again.