Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavik November 30, 2017 - 8:00 am

Bell Canada phone book cover provokes scorn in Nunavik

"There are beautiful photos taken of the North and they took that"

This is how the unaltered cover of the Bell telephone directory for Nunavik, Nunavimmiitunut, looks.
This is how the unaltered cover of the Bell telephone directory for Nunavik, Nunavimmiitunut, looks.
Jaaji Okpik, of the Twin Flames duo, superimposed his photo on the photo on the 2017-18 Nunavik telephone directory to spoof Bell Canada's choice of the image. (IMAGE COURTESY OF J. OKPIK)
Jaaji Okpik, of the Twin Flames duo, superimposed his photo on the photo on the 2017-18 Nunavik telephone directory to spoof Bell Canada's choice of the image. (IMAGE COURTESY OF J. OKPIK)

Jaaji Okpik of the award-winning Twin Flames singing duo attracted hundreds of reactions online when he recently changed his profile photo on Facebook.

Okpik’s new photo shows an image taken from the cover of the new Bell telephone directory for Nunavik, but it’s a bit different.

That’s because Okpik superimposed his face and that of a friend on the telephone directory’s photo, which shows two non-Inuit who are apparently on a hike.

“As a musician, I feel now that we have a responsibility to bring light to situations, and it was just my way of cracking a smile,” said Okpik, who is originally from Quaqtaq in Nunavik.

Nunavik’s residents are 90 per cent Inuit and, in his opinion, the photo disregards Inuit, Okpik added.

“There are beautiful photos taken of the North and they took that,” he said.

The Yellow Pages, which publishes the telephone directory, said that it was “never Yellow Pages’ intention to misrepresent the region or its people.”

The directory is published in Inuktitut and English, with government listings in French.

Yellow Pages’ spokesperson Joëlle Langevin said the overall theme of the Canadian directory pages this year was to illustrate landscapes, wildlife or activities that can be done in the various municipalities or regions by residents and visitors—“the latter being the theme of Nunavik.”

“In this case, the directory cover refers to outdoor hiking and climbing that the region is known for, considering its richness in national parks, rivers and mountains,” Langevin said in a statement Thursday.

But that point was lost on Okpik and others in Nunavik.

For the woman pictured on the cover, Okpik substituted a photo of his friend Charlie Taqqik, who is the brother of singer and songwriter Elisapie Isaac and also a musician.

Okpik has since taken Taqqik out of the altered photo, which now features only a smiling Okpik and an unidentified woman in the background.

But Okpik asks why the person who designed the original directory cover “couldn’t get a plane ticket to snap a photo of Nunavik.”

For all the money Nunavik residents pay for telephone service, the company should have been able to pay for a better photo, he said.

Okpik is not alone in his criticism of the photo, which one commenter on social media said was the “saddest and ugly” photo he’d seen, while another said it was “terrible.”

Nelly Duvicq‏ of Ivujivik said her husband Thomassie Mangiok came back from the post office with the new directory “confused, with this in his hands.”

“The cover is confusing,” Mangiok later told Nunatsiaq News. “Bell took the effort for making the text in Inuttitut but didn’t spend a few minutes to find a nice photo from an Inuit region.

“I wonder how it reflects the mentality of southern providers, we are given perceived ‘good enough”’ services and products from foreign organizations, I said foreign because anything outside Inuit regions is foreign in terms of cultures and lifestyle.”

In the past, the Nunavik telephone directory covers have been informative in nature, such as how to reach Canada411—although that focus has changed recently and last year’s Nunavik directory cover showed landscape which some say looked more like the Laurentians, not Nunavik.

In Nunavut, Northwestel runs an annual contest where artists can submit designs for the covers of its directories.

As for Yellow Pages’ position, Langevin said the company understands “the importance of representing the Nunavik region appropriately and our team is working on updating the online version of the directory accordingly.”

“We will make sure to consider this in future choices of images for the print directory,” she said.

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(17) Comments:

#1. Posted by Famous Jobber on November 30, 2017

We are just hurting to hurt, aren’t we.  This is our tiniest problem. 

We have big problems that hurt us since long ago.  Things like being poor, getting hurt, petty and major criminal this and that. 

Having no jobs.  Importing big shot consultants.  Smoking.  Being cold and hungry. 

Nunavimmut can do beautiful and creative things.  Sometimes our own organizations do not seem to believe that.  That should be more offensive.

#2. Posted by Kuujjuamiuk on November 30, 2017

I said the same thing when I first got it from the post office the other day. “The photo is not from Nunavik”. I also noticed that in the Inuktitut section, the syllabics are not from Nunavik. They should get someone from Nunavik to translate it. My name was certainly spelt wrong in the Inuktitut section. I was not impressed.

#3. Posted by Beer can on November 30, 2017

They should of put a bud beer can on the front, then nunavik would really be represented.

#4. Posted by alexander stewart on November 30, 2017

of all the beautiful pictures that have been taken and that could have been taken in the north…... bell puts a couple of white people on the page, no landscapes, no traditional activities. great job Bell!

#5. Posted by hurt by ugliness on November 30, 2017

I say the whole north should stop or should ask the book be not distributed anywhere. The photo(s) is so ugly, I intend to return the ugly phonebook ugly cover.

#6. Posted by earth3rd on November 30, 2017

Seems like a small problem to me. Be happy, down here in the south we don’t even get a phone book.

#7. Posted by Tiguaq on November 30, 2017

omg what a dumb story lets get real here a phone book cover #1 you are right!!! Christmas time is here and people cant even afford living up here to buy gifts buy food pay rent… you they make a dumb story about a dumb phone book cover. what ever

#8. Posted by Nunavimiuk Inuk on November 30, 2017

All right , something new to whine about , besides the Edmonton Eskimos

#9. Posted by Solution on November 30, 2017

Just rip the front and back cover of the phonebook if it does get published. easy fix!

#10. Posted by Janeinuit on November 30, 2017

Please people stop the insanity. The front page could have been blank with just the bell logo. Or it could have just been a picture honoring Alexander Graham Bell, a white man. People please stop the pettiness. Stop complaining about whose colonial syllabics, that is so ridiculous. Stop looking for reasons to be victims. Do not forget your history but please start the healing. No more government apologies, no more financial compensation, more opportunities, more jobs, more education, more health care, more housing. No more blaming.

#11. Posted by Are you inuk on November 30, 2017

I was thinking, wouldn’t it be funny if the person on the front cover is an Inuk. I mean, looks are deceiving. We all know people in the north, who are white looking , but are truly Inuk. This, in a way, is racism towards these white looking inuit. And the newly imposed photo, don’t show the typical looking Inuk either. People really are going around without their tails.

#12. Posted by Taima on November 30, 2017

This photo should not have been used.  Please send out phone covers that will cover this and is appropriate and considerate of our Northern lands, people and culture.

#13. Posted by Piitarsuaq on December 01, 2017

Frankly, I thought it was the same guy, in a hat.

#14. Posted by Maggie on December 01, 2017

I was looking for something nice to cover the page this morning. Good words from the scriptures, since everyone intend to look at the pages. Find something nice to cover the page with scotch tape.

#15. Posted by Hope for a smile on December 02, 2017

Maybe Bell Canada recognizes the fact that people in nunavik don’t smile much. Therefore puts a nice smile on the front cover to encourage optimism in the population. We don’t have to wait for drugs, we can smile without it.

#16. Posted by Mssr Mesher on December 02, 2017


#17. Posted by Ilu on December 03, 2017

We sometimes ignores signs thinking they are small. For example, a skin rash can be a symptoms a cancer. I understand the “good enough” point. Belittling it will not do anything good, so let’s see this one a symptom of a bigger thing that we can work on.

Just see this as news, this is a fun news, a fun screw up by Bell.

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