Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Last night, the Discovery HD channel aired a program named Arctic Mission. It was about Inuits and their lives, both past and present. There were interwoven films of the old ways and how things are done today. Wonderful old footage with translations were aired including interesting interviews with elders who remembered the old days and old ways.

It was fascinating to see an old short film of dogs dragging a seal carcass across the ice followed by one of men on snow mobiles doing the same. Another sequence showed how the elders believe an iceberg to be alive and will not approach certain ones lest, "...they will grab you...." In one scene, three older men watch from a distance as some young boys climb about on such a berg.

I read recently that the blood of present day Inuits contain the highest level of pollutants found anywhere in the world. This is, in part, due to the gulf stream bringing up "gifts" from the south and, in part, due to the eating of seals which are close to the top of the food chain. Seal meat, as it turns out, contains the concentration of pollutants from all the fish that seal has eaten. When told of these laboratory findings, most Inuits pointed out that this was their way of life and that they were unwilling to change it.

So, they go about the "old ways" using engine driven snow vehicles, rifles, synthetic fish nets and outboard engines on fiberglass boats. One thing, though, none of them were wearing neoprene garments.

Paddle safe...



Michael said...

I too live the 'old way'. No TV and no neoprene tuilik, but it sounds like a fascinating program to have seen. Maybe an iceberg will roll me some hi-speed cable or satellite TV someday and I can join the modern world!
BTW and 'for what it's worth', the noun 'Inuit' is already plural - no need for 'Inuits'. The singular is 'Inuk'. Two people are 'Inuuk' (many North American languages have a 'dual' mode including Inuktitut).

Silbs said...

Thans, Michael. Your knowledge in this area is one of the reasons I so look forward to your postings.