Back to March, 2002 Archive Index

Letters to the Editor

March 1, 2002

March 8, 2002

March 15, 2002

March 22, 2002

March 29, 2002

March 1, 2002

Language bureau does indeed oversee French translation

Regarding Mr. Cuerrier and the desire of the Association des francophones du Nunavut to co-operate with the GN toward the improvement of services available to the French-speaking population of Nunavut, allow me to point out that co-operation involves, among other things, the recognition of what is being done by others toward the achievement of a common goal.

In Jane George’s interview, published Feb. 15, Mr. Cuerrier states that: "...the territory doesn’t produce any information in French... There are no documents available in French... There’s nothing..."

Let me point out that CLEY’s Language Bureau oversees the French translation of numerous official documents and other information products. I translate many of these documents and it keeps me quite busy.

It’s thanks to CLEY’s bureau, I believe, that Mr. Cuerrier was able to obtain the French version of the Language Commissioner of Nunavut’s annual report, quoted, however erroneously, in his interview.

Mr. Cuerrier also says that, "...We could start delivering [the services] as early as tomorrow... or almost." Oh! I would be delighted to see the association actually deliver on one of the numerous projects it has received funding for over the years.

Given that the association has and likely will again this year receive federal funding for the project, and considering the said total lack of French information and services in Nunavut, how is it that this "ideal and winning solution" as Mr. Cuerrier puts it, has yet to materialize in even the smallest of ways?

I’m left to wonder if it has "almost" materialized or if the association is simply tailoring the "Emperor’s New Clothes?"

Michèle Redmond


March 1, 2002

Inuit in wooded regions wore snowshoes

Sad to say, it appears that the folk at Audi’s ad agency are ahead of Jane George in their grasp of at least some aspects of Inuit material culture.

For many Inuit, snowshoes are not the "jarring anomaly" Ms. George would have us believe. Referred to as talluk in Inuktitut, tagluk in Inuinnaqtun, and tangluq in Yup_ik, snowshoes were an essential item of seasonal equipment for Inuit travelling and hunting in the wooded areas of Labrador, Nunavik, the Western Canadian Arctic, and, appropriately for the Audi ad, Alaska.

In fact in Alaska, snowshoes were so deeply embedded in Inuit traditions that they appear in the cosmology of Inuit groups in the Bering Strait region of Alaska, where the Galaxy, or Milky Way, is called "Tanglurallret," a reference to the tracks made by Raven’s snowshoes as he walked across the sky creating the inhabitants of the Earth.

Ms. George also takes issue with the "odd scenes of tree-covered mountains" used for the ad’s background. Far from being "odd," this scenery provides the ad with an authenticity (intentional or not) which would have been missing had it been shot in the open, treeless tundra. In short, there is nothing anomalous about an Alaskan scene depicting Inuit, trees, and snowshoes. Indeed, if anything’s out of place in this picture it’s the Audi car.

I attach an old photograph taken around 1910 of two Labrador Inuit, one of them holding a pair of snowshoes. The vintage of this photograph is surely sufficient to dispel any speculation that the Inuit shown were just about to set out for some remote, snowy, wooded slope to make a very early Audi ad.

The source of the photograph is: S.K. Hutton, Among the Eskimos of Labrador, Seeley, Service and Co., London, 1912.

John MacDonald


March 1, 2002

Abuse of income support hurts our children

We keep saying that our children are our future. We receive our child tax credits every month from the government. Some receive income support every month. Although we receive this assistance to help us get through, we still struggle because some recipients abuse their income assistance.

Our children need to be clothed and fed. It hurts to see people struggling to get by when the assistance could have benefited them, but instead some use this for booze and drugs and even gambling.

People getting upset with you and intimidating you makes it very hard. It’s very stressful when you don’t know what to do or how you’ll handle this. It’s difficult.

I do appreciate the assistance that I receive. But nobody is doing anything about these people who abuse the system. They turn around and start selling their stuff at rummage prices. I’m in a very delicate situation because of this.

May God bless these children.

Thank you.
Name withheld by request


March 1, 2002

A blatant money-grab by MLAs

"MLAs ponder enriched pension plan." Why am I not surprised upon reading that statement in Nunatsiaq News on Feb. 25, 2002?

The euphoria of Canada’s Olympic gold medal in hockey has not even had time to sink in, and now, one day later, that simple pleasure has been denied me because of this attempted/proposed blatant money-grab by our MLAs.

Apparently, our elected officials have been discussing this issue since last July, behind closed doors, meaning "to hell with the public."

This is our issue.

For too long, the public has been locked out of these types of discussions, which, if passed, will cost the taxpayers of Nunavut approximately $700,000 per year.

The Speaker of the House, the Hon. Kevin O’Brien, claims that this is just one of many matters inherited from the GNWT. Give me a break.

Were the pension plans so inadequate under the GNWT? Or did our gang of MLAs just wake up and say to themselves, "Oh boy, let’s omnibus this pension plan increase and maybe the public will not notice it?"

Your article goes on to state that the MLAs will discuss this issue, and then they will opt for the option that they want.

How many union leaders have sat across from government negotiators, be they federal, provincial or municipal, with this option in hand?

Speaker O’Brien states that he does not know how much work is ahead of him regarding this issue, and that he will have to talk to the house clerk "to see where we are at." What an avowal of failure in one’s attendance as on-the-job-supervisor of the House.

Your article goes on to inform us that MLAs have discussed this in private during caucus meetings. I seem to recall when the Hon. Jack Anawak was Interim Commissioner, he promised that this would be a new type of government, by the people and for the people.

Instead, they have opted for one of the stodgiest and most secretive regimes in Canada. Congratulations guys.

This bill will probably pass, although I will fight it all the way, but please, if it does pass, inform them that it should not have a "Levi" clause, just in case they are thinking of it as being retroactive.

I have a nine-year-old daughter who is a beneficiary under the Nunavut land claims agreement, and I doubt that she will see any of the benefits.

Just witness the remuneration our MLAs and some leaders of birthright corporations are hauling in and you should get my point.

Tom Brown
Cambridge Bay

Editor’s note: On Feb. 27, as Nunatsiaq News went to press this week, Government House Leader Kelvin Ng introduced legislation to change the Nunavut MLA pension plan.


March 1, 2002

Teacher in Germany wants pen-pal

I’m Stefanie, a German, English and French teacher from Potsdam, Germany.

I’m very much interested in Arctic life, culture and languages. Therefore, I’m looking for an Inuk teacher working up in the Arctic who would like to exchange experiences and tell me things about his or her life and culture. Can someone help?

Thank you very much. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Have a nice day, and greetings from Europe.

Stefanie Weisenfeld
Potsdam, Germany


March 8, 2002

Survivors have hope and faith

For so many years some of us were taught to be silent and bury our pain. There are issues that have not been dealt with which we had to learn to block out.

We were too ashamed, too hurtful, too guilty to tell anyone. Too often we were taught the old attitude "kids should be seen but not heard," "kids shouldn’t speak until spoken to."

My understanding of my role as a child was that I was to obey and to be free for the taking, to remain silent while being exploited or touched, and to be exposed freely and not tell. I was to be used and be quiet.

With this type of behaviour going unnoticed or unreported, how was I to get the answers to the questions that I had? How was I to tell anyone that I was getting buried alive with pain and suffering? Who could I tell? Where could I start? How do I begin? Who would listen to me? Who would even believe me?

When I would start to ask questions, I would only be told not to talk this way.

In the Chesterfield Inlet school days, we were taught this song which I’m sure has remained and haunted many of us:

"Pack up your troubles and smile, smile, what’s the use of worrying, get back and smile, smile."

Why then shouldn’t I feel confused, angry and ashamed and full of guilt with the hidden abuse that I endured as a child and forced to bury my own soul? Am I the only one feeling such things?

Maybe, maybe not! How would I have ever known?

Today we are the survivors of residential schools and have much more hope and faith than we ever did before. People are starting to open up and be listened to. People are talking to each other with the ghosts of our pasts taken out and faced head-on.

Today, we are working towards healthier communities, and thank you to so many understanding people who have listened to us. Also thank you that we have each other to talk to and support each other.

Levinia Brown
Rankin Inlet


March 8, 2002

Remembering Naki Ekho

With the recent passing of Naki Ekho, one is reminded of days long gone when this community was in the very early stage of its development.

The Eskimo village, as it was then known, was an isolated community of a few hundred souls in the area by the creek, which was the only source of water, just near the present public health offices.

There, a conglomeration of huts and shacks and even tents housed the Inuit families.

It was a very quiet place except for the howling of dogs. Each hunter had his own team that was the only form of transportation in those days.

There was very little connection between the Inuit and the American military base. In fact, it was forbidden for unauthorized personnel to go near that village.

Tigli, Naki’s husband, had built their house on their arrival, some time earlier from Pangnirtung. It was constructed just like the others. Wooden crates, boxes, all gathered from the dump. Their house was covered with canvas and tar paper, most of it insulated with moss gathered from the hills.

All the houses were laid out in the Inuit tradition. The space was divided into two sections, the bed and the living area, half each. Tigli’s house had one quality above the others: it was so clean you could eat off the floor. The pine boards were scrubbed white. Tea was always brewing on the stove and the smell of fresh bannock filled the air.

In one corner was the qudlik, seal oil lamp. It burned brightly day and night and gave the house a warm glow. It was attended constantly by the women in the house and provided light and heat for cooking and drying wet clothes. This house was different in that they had acquired a small wood stove that gave additional heat, polished daily with stove polish.

The house also featured the traditional door, very small so that as soon as you let go, it slammed shut. The inside walls, like all the other houses, were covered with pictures of all kinds cut out of magazines, and there was always lots of clocks all ticking away.

There wasn’t a school then. The kids all played with their dolls or a new puppy from the team. The girls and their brother Jimmy were kept spotless by their parents. They all wore clothing made by their mother, dressing in beautifully-made kamiks and parkas, with their faces gleaming with health, their cheeks shining rosy-red like tail lights.

Naki could usually be seen sitting on the sleeping area, legs straight out in front, holding a hand-operated sewing machine on her lap sewing clothes or a new dog harness.

Naki was a reminder of the past, one of that special group of people that lived through incredible changes and lived to see her children embrace a totally strange and remarkable new way of life with great success.

Bryan Pearson


March 8, 2002

MLAs make the people look stupid

My name is Eva Lucassie. I am originally from Iqaluit, Nunavut, but I am now living in Ottawa, Ontario.

I am only 20 years old and I lack a lot of needed education, but I am writing to you on my views about my home-town.

I was watching CBC Northbeat and I saw that the MLAs are asking for a raise. Why do they want a raise? Haven’t they made us Inuit look stupid enough already? I feel that they do not do very much.

They will not give the needy people of Iqaluit a badly-needed food bank, but they’ll most probably give these politicians a raise I feel they do not deserve.

What is the raise for anyway? Don’t they get free housing, free trips, etc? Did they go through all that education to rip off their own people? Why don’t they use the money for something more useful?

I’m sure you’re not going to see any of these politicians quit their jobs if they do not get a raise. I wish that the rest of the Inuit would speak out.

I greatly feel that these politicians should not get a raise until they deserve one. I hear you are opening a French school. Where is the Inuktitut school?

I will be very disappointed if they get a raise, and I hope that the Inuit in Iqaluit start speaking out about things that are happening in their community. Don’t they have a say in all these things that happen to them?

I am sorry if I have angered anybody, but this is only one person’s opinion. I wish I could hear more about the opinions of Inuit.

Thank you for listening to my opinions.
Eva Lucassie


March 8, 2002

Apex residents washing clothes in their own pee?

Your one-sided coverage of the public meeting in Apex (Nunatsiaq News, March 1) is prompting this letter. I feel your coverage was not as objective as what I’ve come to expect from Nunatsiaq News.

I thought the meeting was well-attended, not by the residents of Apex, but by politicians and city management. And if you are going to print the fact there was an objection to the city’s plans, I think you should at least publish the reason for that objection.

I find it amusing that we are about to spend over $300,000 of taxpayer money so that 11 families will be able to wash their clothes in their own pee.

Of all the communities to choose for this experiment, I think Apex should be the last possible choice. According to government studies, well over 15 million cubic metres of water flow into the ocean from that little creek in Apex every year.

Our city engineer tells me that everyone in Iqaluit uses about half a cubic metre of water a day. That’s 182.5 cubic metres per yer per person.

If that’s true, the stream in Apex could support a population of 82,000 and the water is delivered practically to their doorsteps. Wouldn’t it make more sense to find ways to use that wonderful God-given resource rather than spending the taxpayers’ money proving that if we spend enough money we can wash our clothes in our own urine?

A lot of Nunavummiut believe any attempt at recycling is a step in the right direction, but I think we can do much better than we are doing now. We’re going to recycle water in a community with great natural abundance. We are recycling tin cans when the very best return we can get is $5 a ton in Montreal. That’s about two cents for a full "blue bag."

Of all the potential recyclable materials we discard in Iqaluit, we choose the ones that make the least sense. You would think after the fiasco at our sewage treatment plant, the city managers would be determined to get it right the next time.

But I guess old habits are hard to break.
Jim Little


March 8, 2002

DIAND minister disagrees with editorial

I agree with your editorial that your readers deserve to know about Bill C-33 (Nunatsiaq News, February 22, 2002). However, I think it is important that they are made aware of the facts.

The Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development has worked for eight years to develop this bill and we will continue to share information and consult with the water board, the Nunavut government, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated and other aboriginal organizations throughout this process. Numerous improvements to the bill are a direct result of the transparent process we used to develop the statute and the comments received from these organizations.

The government of Canada takes seriously its obligation to implement the Nunavut land claims agreement and Bill C-33 is part of Canada’s commitment to fulfil its obligations to the Inuit of Nunavut. The Act clarifies the mandate of the water board and Surface Rights Tribunal and creates legal certainty and adds a level of detail regarding the scope of their powers and responsibilities.

Since the act was largely derived from the existing Northwest Territories Water Act, the relationship between myself and the water board has already been established. The passage of the bill will not change the relationship between myself and the water board.

My role in licensing water will be the same in Nunavut, Yukon and the NWT, creating consistency in application across the North. As presently happens, the water boards will continue to make the majority of the decisions regarding licences and I will be involved in only the larger Type A water licences (i.e., industry-type water licences which involve high volume water usage each day) and in those licences which were the subject of public hearings.

I take seriously the issue of water resources and am committed to putting the control of Nunavut resources in the hands of Nunavut residents. This bill is an important step forward as we continue to meet our obligations to build resource management capacity in Nunavut.

Robert Nault
Minister of Indian Affairs
and Northern Development


March 15, 2002

Alaska organizers disorganized?

Thank you for your advance coverage of the AWG. Our family will be watching your Web site from across the continent!

I found some amusement in the article about Alaskan athletes — this quote from our "organizer": "Sports in Alaska is way less organized than in Canada," Estle said. "For the most part, there’s no organized preparation."

John Estle could have done a lot more toward our preparation. Parents of Alaskan athletes were not given detailed information regarding the trip until 10 days prior to departure.

The "Parent Info" and "Travel" section of the Team Alaska Web site remained blank until March 5!

I am confident that Iqaluit is well prepared for the arrival of our athletes, and we applaud the community for everything they are doing to make our competitors welcome.

Thank you again for your coverage of the Games.

Name withheld
Eagle River, Alaska


March 15, 2002

Nunavut MLAs should get into the real issues

I am Canadian, and it has been almost two years since I returned to my homeland. The five years I lived outside the territory helped me to open my eyes. I did not lose my language and culture of being Inuk. In fact, I feel it has even strengthened my belief in our culture and language. Of course, one of my kids lost his Inuktitut. And he relearned it in a short period of time and in a difficult situation.

Before I left Nunavut, I tried to get educated as they say. In order to get a good job, people need education. More than once I had to leave my family to other communities to get education.

Living in Ontario is very different from Nunavut, in terms of environment and culture. Coming from a remote northern village and moving to Ottawa was cultural shock in lot of ways. That really taught me respect for myself of who and where I am coming from. In addition, it makes a person able to set aside his difference of others. One learns as well, the meaning of education.

As a child, when I started going to school in the early 60s, I learned there were people living in Greenland, who were just like us. Most of all there were other countries, people with different colours and languages. In some parts of the world, the cold winter never comes around.

I do not think I would have moved back to the North if I did not get a job with one of Inuit organizations in the territory. October 2000 was the year that I moved to Iqaluit, Nunavut. I ran into my old Qalunaat friend, who I had not seen for long time. I did not even recognize him. I remember he was laughing and asked me what I was doing back in the North. I shared with him how fortunate I was, getting that job with the Inuit organization, and the creation of Nunavut seemed to be promising for people like me. He turned around and told me, "Jaani, you will eventually return back south, eh." I never understood that comment, but I think I know now what he meant.

Since I have been back with my family in our home community, where we grew up, I have felt that I have been totally discriminated against by my own people when I applied for jobs.

I can now understand how its feels for the non-natives who moved up North to Inuit communities with families and kids. The racism and prejudice does exist in our homeland. Not just toward other cultural backgrounds — even toward fellow Inuit.

I know for a fact that education can give us choices. It allows us to deal with our bitterness, so we can be effective if we plan to serve the people in our homeland. We cannot change the history, but we can chose to let go of the past and learn from it. Moreover, accept the present, as they say, it’s a gift. Tomorrow, is more like hope because I do not know what will exactly happen, but we can plan for better future for our children. Not to let them carry our hurts and bitterness.

When MLAs of the Nunavut Government makes stupid and racial remarks about their women and using IQ to put down other people, I believe those type of comments are discriminatory remarks. Isn’t that right, Mr. Speaker?

If I were a Speaker in my legislative assembly, I don’t think I would tolerate that kind of behaviour. I would get into the real issues, making laws that can be more meaningful to northern lifestyle and more relevant to its peoples.

I don’t have anything against Nunavut, I am very proud of MLAs. I watch them during their meetings and I see that they speak in their own languages without shame of Inuktitut. But when leaders are being controlled by their own emotional stuff, that makes me wonder how effective they are in their other meetings — which we don’t see on TV.

Jaani Takawgak
Pond Inlet


March 15, 2002

MLAs gorge while elders struggle

Imagine. I had just sent a letter to the editor to your newspaper regarding the MLAs’ pension grab. Imagine again my surprise when I tuned into CBC Iqaluit at 4:30 this morning, only to hear that the Legislative Assembly in Iqaluit had hijacked Nunavummiut again with the secret passage of transitional packages to MLAs.

Six years pay for every year served! How wonderful. I have nothing against severance pay in the strictest sense of its application, but this bill again smacks of a money-grab by our elected officials.

What is severance pay? It is the act of compensating an employee on termination of his or her contract, and this is fair. However, MLAs, no matter how they may slant it, are not our employees. They are representatives of the people.

If an MLA chooses not to seek re-election, or is turfed out by the voters, he or she is deemed not to have performed the tasks of an MLA in a manner that is acceptable to the electorate. Not fired, just rejected.

Speaker Kevin O’Brien once more jumps into the fray, stating that almost all other provinces and territories have this kind of package for MLAs. Well, at the risk of being repetitive, we, meaning Nunavummiut were promised a different kind of government, by the people, for the people. What happened here? Did I miss something? I don’t think so.

One more point. MLAs have continually harped on the need to consult our elders. I follow this advice and I would like to think that our MLAs do so too.

Where is the transitional package for these elders who have constantly given of their time and energy in an attempt to keep our MLAs on the straight and narrow?

It appears to me that our MLAs are eager to seek advice, but are reluctant to heed the advice. In the mean-time, while the MLAs gorge at the trough, some of our elders are having a very difficult time just trying to survive.

Shame on all of you.
Tom Brown
Cambridge Bay


March 22, 2002

Professional development days at Aqsarniit Ilinniarvik

From Feb. 18 to 22, Aqsarniit Ilinniarvik, Iqaluit’s middle school, was closed to students while teachers, support and counselling staff were engaged in five days of professional development. The staff of Aqsarniit were joined by teachers from Joamie and Nakasuk schools in Iqaluit for five days of a certificate course called "Tribes Teaching and Learning Community" (Tribes TLC.)

Tribes TLC is a process that teaches students to internalize character education values (such as caring and compassion, responsibility, justice and fairness, trustworthiness, honesty, doing one’s personal best) by living and learning within a caring school community. The Tribes TLC process recognizes that building a caring environment in schools is a vital, on-going process that must be based on clear agreements for behaviour, mutual respect, belonging, reflection, social skills and responsibility.

Course participants learned how the Tribes TLC process, developed by Jeanne Gibbs, can be used to integrate academic content into group learning processes in which all students participate.

Tribes TLC is based on more than 1,000 studies on co-operative learning, brain-compatible learning, resiliency, school climate and human development.

In schools and classrooms that use the Tribes process, students and teachers reflect many times a day upon caring human qualities and interactions while working together on classroom academics and other school activities.

There are four basic agreements in every Tribes community. These are attentive listening, mutual respect, appreciation/no put-downs, and the right to pass/participate. The teaching of these agreements in a positive learning environment helps students develop valued character qualities.

The five-day course at Aqsarniit Ilinniarvik was structured so that participants experienced the use of many of the 168 strategies in their own groups, or tribes. The participant tribes learned, through experience, how to use and communicate two objectives for each lesson plan.

In this way, students are not drilled in specific behaviors but instead, are engaged in deep critical reflection about certain ways of being. Through the repeated practice of working with, and connecting supportively to others, children will move from an isolated focus on "me" to altruism — concern for others and society.

School districts and studies in the educational literature report that students do much better academically in classes where they work co-operatively in groups, taking the time to reflect about their learning and individual contributions as well as their group efforts. The studies show that academic achievement is dramatically improved by as much as 87 per cent and that the rate of retention of knowledge is also better.

Charlotte Borg
Program Support Teacher
Aqsarniit Ilinniarvik


March 22, 2002

Cleaning up our act together

I wanted to comment on the December 2001 article entitled "Clean up the Ikkaqivik Bar in Kuujjuaq," by sharing what I experienced in my "old" life and my present life in recovery.

I don’t believe that the people of Kuujjuaq have lost their cultural values; they are only buried under addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. I also believe that people’s minds and hearts can still be turned around.

I found that I had to change my own behaviours and attitudes from negative to positive by seeking the strength and courage to seek a new way of life. I am only able to do this with the support of loved ones and by letting go of the pain that was deep within myself. This was and continues to be through healing with the help of others.

I must always remember that I can only learn to control myself, and that I will never be able to control other lives, not even our children, whom we can only teach by our example and hope that they will pass it on to their children.

By learning to control myself in mind, body and soul, then I can become whole again.

Secondly, I don’t think we can bring back the past nor fix it. The only way we can deal with the past is with forgiveness and acceptance. And one of my biggest gifts was to learn that as a human being, I am allowed to make mistakes and learn from them in order not to repeat them.

Only then can I pass the knowledge to others and, most importantly, to the younger generation. And gradually, "we can change the whole community together."

The year 2002 has reached us. We as Inuit must keep up to date with the Qallunaat way of life and also keep our cultural values so as to keep up with the world community and civilization as a whole.

I have shared this with you because I am a recovering alcoholic and I learned to accept that I am one. I am grateful that I learned I am an alcoholic because it made me see, feel and understand that here is a better, healthier way of living my life.

And for me, I choose to look at what the wine at Holy Communion represents, not at the wine itself. I have also learned that not everyone who drinks alcohol is an alcoholic.

Judging and blaming others never works. It only worsens problems and situation. This is also what is called "cleaning up our act together."

Aputik Angnatuk,


March 22, 2002

Why no Sami at the AWG?

A search on the word "Sami" brings up some 90 articles in your newspaper, therefore I can presume that the people represented are regarded as "Arctic peoples."

With all the excitement of the Arctic Winter Games going on, I find it quite a mystery to observe that no Sami people are, or have ever participated in the Arctic Winter Games.

Does anyone know the reason why?

There are some 85,000 people, formerly known as Laplanders, living in the northern reaches of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. In fact the numbers are 45,000 in Norway, 20,000 in Sweden, 10,000, in Finland, and 2000 from Russia.

They already take part in several of the sports unique to the AWG, including dog-mushing, as well as many worldwide winter sports such as skiing, skating and so on.

I can imagine that the addition of their flag, costumes, music and traditions would be incredibly enriching for everyone at the Arctic Winter Games.

David H. Douglas


March 22, 2002

Abuse of income support

I have to agree with a previous anonymous writer on the subject of abuse of income support.

As adults we are the ones who are supposed to set an example to the young ones. The young ones are helpless to prevent us adults from abusing their income support and it’s selfish to deprive the young ones just to accommodate our selfish desires.

Earrings and hair dye is needless and expensive as well as booze and false fingernails.

Dale Mesher


March 22, 2002

Operation Harpoon?

A harpoon is used to hunt sea mammals for the survival of the hunter’s family and his people, so that his family and people of his community could eat what was killed.

If Canada’s military operation in Afghanistan is going to be called "Operation Harpoon," some Inuit might think that the Canadian military is practicing cannibalism.

Perhaps they should call it "Operation Javelin," as this operation is more for winning than providing food for your family with what you killed.

Andrew Tagak Sr.


March 22, 2002

GN employee housing plan unfair?

With the proposed affordable housing to be available for government of Nunavut employees, I find it outrageous for the government to forget the life-long residents of Nunavut who intend to live in the community.

Buying a condominium will encourage the employee to speculate on the housing that the Nunavut government gave them.

Myself, I have been declined twice for a mortgage. It is hard to get a start on a good way of life with a good job and no home ownership. The $15,000 assistance from the Nunavut Housing Corporation is never enough to start with.

Is the government only giving housing to the government employees and those who are receiving welfare assistance, and not to those who are educated and working for private businesses or non-government organizations?

Ronald Suluk


March 29, 2002

Thank you to those who helped our family

This is a thank you letter on behalf of my family in Pond Inlet. We had lost my older brother, Peter Takawgak on Nov. 29, 2000.

First of all, I would like to mention Caleb Sangoya who had raised funds for purchasing airline tickets. Our family members who live in Ottawa are Leah, Nancy and Siusie who were able to join us for funeral services here in Pond Inlet.

I also would like to acknowledge:

Nunasi Corporation, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., Jiutanie and Lena Sangoya, Cathy Towtongie, Paul Kaludjak, Andrew Tagak and Methusalah Kunuk. The teachers in Pond Inlet and the Government of Nunavut staff also helped a lot.

People who brought food to my mother’s house are David Paaksik’s family, Toonoonik Sahoonik Co-op, Northen Stores, Nauraanuk Daycare in Pond Inlet and other members of the community also contributed greatly. Rev. Joshua Aareak who took care of all of us during the funeral service. The nurses in the Pond Inlet Health Centre, the nurses in the Iqaluit Hospital and all those that came to see the family. There’s also the Ottawa General Hospital who provided the casket. The doctors and nurses who took care of my brother and they made sure all the comforts and conveniences were there.

Personally I would like to thank the Baffin Larga House staff who allowed me to stay there. Even when I didn’t spend the night there, they went out of their way to make sure that I ate.

Thank you,
John Takawgak
Pond Inlet


March 29, 2002

Nunavut needs energy conservation programs

I would like to make a few comments to Nunavut residents regarding energy use in Nunavut that I hope will get people thinking.

It is obvious to me that something must be done about the way we treat energy soon, as the current system is extremely expensive, inefficient and damaging to the environment. With our growing population, high cost of living and other costly problems, energy is the one area where we can actually save money and build for a future of self-sufficiency.

Only, however, if we begin to alter our present practices.

I am personally involved in efforts to install and maintain wind turbines in Cambridge Bay, as that is one fairly obvious way to improve our energy situation, but what all of us really need to do is to look at our own consumption of heat and power, and at our appliances, light fixtures and other uses of energy and think of the bigger picture as we buy, install or use them.

Use fluorescent lights, keep windows and doors sealed, and try to buy the best and most efficient appliances even if there is more initial cost and inconvenience in doing so. Governments need to look at ways to make their subsidies work toward long-term reduction in energy use, instead of making us complacent about the way things are.

Consider rebates on fluorescent fixtures, financial rewards for using less electricity, and other innovative and progressive ideas. Help our power corporation with their efforts to use waste heat and with other projects, such as wind energy and micro-hydro.

Hamlets should examine such things as waste-water recycling, co-generation of power, and co-operation with retailers and organizations to encourage the sale and use of efficient appliances, especially horizontal axis washers.

Existing organizations such as the Arctic Energy Alliance should do more to actively promote their recommendations, especially to ordinary residents. Schools should include responsible energy use awareness in their curriculum.

Energy costs are a huge part of the overall cost of living in Nunavut, and that cost of living must come down for us to really have a decent lifestyle and a healthy economy. With lower energy costs, Nunavut can reduce its dependence on the south, and lower the cost of living.

Greenhouses, bakeries, tanneries and other industries now not viable, could become so once we have driven electricity or heat costs down far enough. Existing activities, too, will become better, larger, and more profitable with lower costs. Lower energy costs should drive down grocery prices, decrease the pressures on families, increase local jobs, and stretch the buying power of Nunavut residents.

All these things are crucial for the future of our children. When it comes to the use of energy in Nunavut, the old adage "the easiest dollar to make is the one you save" is particularly relevant, and it is time we all started applying this old bit of wisdom. When so much of our economy depends on the south and its taxpayers, to do otherwise is irresponsible.

Peter VandenBrink
Cambridge Bay


March 29, 2002

Farewell to long-time bank manager

I’m a bit disappointed with the management of the Royal Bank in Iqaluit.

Louis Courtemanche, the former bank manager, was a friend of many people here, especially the older generation. Louis was probably the longest serving banker in Nunavut — he even told me that the first Inuk to get a bank account was Joe Tikivik.

I’m sure there are many stories of that nature in him. Louis mixed well with the locals. He could be seen snowmobiling and exploring the countryside here around Iqaluit and at times he took up the offer to come hunting with us. Many times he went boating with Ben Ell and his boys.

But it seems Louis was put out to pasture without an appropriate farewell. The bank made a business decision and Louis and his wife Elisabeth were shipped out. I think Louis deserved more than that.

Farewell Louis and Elisabeth — come again.

Abraham Tagalik