Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Smokes of Pang.

i wouldn't call them majestic
but for the sake of it

imagine the mountains of pangnirtung fiord
climbing into the sky
jagged steep
dark nothing but rock

inviting god himself
for a weekend holiday to pang
just to enjoy the view
lets call them majestic
for the sake of it

carved by ice
say the scientist
some by god
say others

whoever made it
was a pure genius
to carve such beauty
very impressive

and if you weren't impressed enough
you have never felt pang winds
until you experience it
and its unique
a one of kind weather
for the sake of it
they're majestic

lately its been
this fiord
killing slowly
a small child's lungs
to the elder
losing her breath

thank you very much hamlet of
for contributing to the
continuing early causes of
lung related diseases

and for destroying the natural beautiful view we once used to see

Smokes of Pang keep hovering over us
and FUCK i can smell it inside my house

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

You, Eskimo. You, Qalunaaq.

You, Eskimo, once mighty hunter
wearing your denim jeans
and Oakley sunglasses
shooting that .223 rifle
with your black rubber boots
and that cigarette hanging
from your mouth

You, Qallunaaq, once mighty farmer
wearing your seal skin pants
and snow goggles
tending your 12X15 acres of farmland
with your Guatemalan sandals
and that straw hanging
from your mouth

oh, the both of you - the two of you
Major differences and Small similarities
both a product of this world
indebted to Earth
Children of tomorrow
both so morally corrupt
just as everyone else

You, Eskimo, reading is not a sin
will not erode your sweet culture
will only help you in the long run
and what is wrong with acquiring
so much knowledge in other languages?

You, Qallunaaq, are not the master
of education and literacy
you should not force your supposed
superiority on us, we are more than
capable of fucking up our own lives!

You, Eskimo and Qallunaaq,
I thank you very much
for this opportunity I have
to work both worlds.

Elvis has yet to leave the building
the fat lady has not written lyrics yet to her song

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pangnirtung Youth Council Book Club

Or whatever it has to be called.

Hmmm... I'm not really sure where to start.

Should I rejoice? I think I have to. Woohoo. Books. That's where I'll start, from books. I used to have many books. Not anymore. At best I have at least twenty books.

Since I've been living in Pang, I keep wanting books. Shit, I sound like I'm on a high horse, or a born-again Eskimo. I'm not saying books make you smart or make you understand right away, but to have the comfort of books and to be literate increases the joy of self-education. To learn and be amused at what you've learn is awesome. Anyways, I'm sad to say books are not "everywhere" around here.

So, to change that situation, or to try and change that situation, the Pangnirtung Youth Council will provide space to have a book club in Pang. And as part of the goal, a bookshelf has to be filled from top to bottom, to start off the project.

As the collection progresses, it is hoped that there will be reading nights for people of all ages, from the youngest to the oldest, in any language possible.

I'll provide more details as I know more about the club. What time and location and so on.

Any help from anyone will be greatly appreciated and we will try to assist you in every possible way. If you want to help, email me at

The benefits are invaluable. A reading society is a responsive society towards itself.

You know, I bet we will start a local newspaper one of these days. reported and read by the people of Pang.

Let's help each other through small acts. Donate a book.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Harsh Environment?

This morning, I was watching TV, and while drinking coffee, I watched the channel that Isuma has in the community. It is a very good channel with mostly Inuktitut as the language and made mostly by Inuit. And I am not sure what the show was about, but there was a statement made by some Inuk, stating that the Arctic is a "harsh environment."

It is accurate to say that most people consider the Arctic to be a harsh environment, but i have to doubt that the original people first said the words "harsh" and "extreme" and "hard." I want to point out, how we take advantage of and how it deteriorates our sense of home and how words can affect how we view who we are and where we come from.

In a introduction by Soffia Gudmundsdottir, Executive Secretary, Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment, Environmental Programme, she states: "Historically, the harsh environment, difficulty of access to resources, and scattered nature of the population patterns has restricted rapid development and communication in the circumpolar Arctic region."

Even Arctic College, on a publication aptly titled, which made me smile, "Guidelines for Working with Inuit Elders", it states: "How to survive in a harsh environment, the study of the land and sea as well as the movements of animals, effects of the environment and the whole system of seasonal activities have to be taught. It should be a high priority now since very few of our knowledgeable elders remain."

And last but not least, from, it states this: "The arctic is one of the harshest environments you can find on the earth. Still, the Inuit and their ancestors have lived here for thousands of years. They built homes and developed perfectly adapted technologies from the limited resources available to feed and clothe themselves."

What these statements reflect is the fact that most people consider the Arctic to be harsh, or is an often used word describing the region.

And while I was watching TV this morning, I was reminded of Malcolm X and what he thought and said, why African Americans have a low self-esteem and what brought that.

He says: "Having complete control over Africa, the colonial powers of Europe had projected the image of Africa negatively... Jungle savages, cannibals, nothing civilized... We didn't want anybody telling us anything about Africa, much less calling us Africans. In hating Africa and in hating the Africans, we ended up hating ourselves...

"We hated our heads, we hated the shape of our nose... we hated the colour of our skin, hated the blood of Africa that was on our veins.

"We didn't have confidence in another black man... We didn't think a black man could do anything except play some horns, but in serious things, where our food, clothing, shelter, and education were concerned, we turned to the man. We never thought in terms of bringing these things into existence for ourselves, because we felt helpless. What made us feel helpless was our hatred for ourselves...

"It made us feel inferior; it made us feel inadequate; made us feel helpless. And when we fell victims to this feeling of inadequacy or inferiority or helplessness, we turned to somebody else to show us the way."

I'm not saying Inuit have a low-self-esteem, but if we do, can it be attributed to how we view not only ourselves but also our homes and our land? Is it due to people and ourselves telling us that we live a harsh life, which in turn, further harshens our lives?

If Malcolm X is true, then what Inuit are going through and been saying has to change our image and attitudes towards out land and lives.

The reason this is so strong of a concern for me is that i get uneasy when we label our environment as harsh. Yes, its colder than most parts, and yes we have a hard time travelling on it, but i would have to contest that it is hard, harsh, and extreme. It is the most beautiful piece of land on Earth, weather we have -50 weather, or that we don't see the sun, in some cases, for three months.

What Malcolm X has to say might be true in out case for our land and how we label ourselves as inhabitants of this land. Do you really want to be housed in a harsh living room? Do you want the people you love to label their land as extreme?

I cannot say if this is true, but in my experience, i have never heard of an older Inuk say that their environment is harsh. they might say it is tough, but harsh in itself, i suspect not. If you listen to an elder pray before a meal, listen to them, and if you understand Inuktitut, listen to the way they frame gratitude, theirs is always a context of animals and land and how they provide.

If we want, as people, to rise up from feeling that we are not doing our own thing in the land we live in, we have to change the way we treat words. Words, as they say, should not be taken lightly. If we are going to have to choose between governments and land claims, i think choosing and saying the right words about ourselves and how we label the land has to change not with the "outside" world, but with Inuit ourselves as well.

I want to know what you think?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

On days like these

Its ten degrees celsius.
we now have a ride,
a green neon chrysler
and its the coolest of cars
in this town.

I got a package
a blue package from iqaluit,
full of books and
plates and there were even
cotton swabs

it is a very good weekend so

these are the kinds of days that
i remember most from
my childhood.

the snow is melting
streams are running
the roads are full of

but its the books that delight
the curiosity
the creativity
and just the smell of books
is great.