Like an iceberg, 1996, “Hard Lessons” on Journalism in Nunavik, Quebec

Like an iceberg, 1996, “Hard Lessons”.


“…The story I write about this school enrages the school commissioners, who see government officials looking at my figures and cutting subsidies as a result.

In the printed article, I mention all the names, all the sources. The teacher I’ve quoted calls me in desperation. He’s worried about his job. I feel terrible about the difficult position I’ve put him in.

“No one says that what you’re saying isn’t true,” a sympathetic school board official said. “But they don’t want to have it in the Ottawa Citizen.”

I think again about those words as I sit at the annual general meeting of Makivik Corp. in Inukjuakmap_inukjuaq which takes place the same week that the school story gets published and circulated by fax around Nunavik.

“Journalists lie,” I heard the familiar droning voice of the interpreter say through my ear phones. “And these journalists sit here and pretend to listen.”

It’s J. talking at the mike, and he’s talking about me. I’m taking down his words, but they begin to look like ants crawling over my paper.

I stayed with J. and his family in their Nunavik home the previous year for 10 days. J. played video games almost constantly on a Game-Boy. He also butchered a caribou leg into filets with delicate dexterity.

When I asked him about a charismatic display at the end of a local Anglican church service, with crying, gestures, member of the congregation speaking in tongues, “it’s our culture,” he said.

Two days before this meeting where J. stands now to denounce me, I had run into him as he was riding around on a snowmobile here in town. It was like seeing an old friend. But now he’s speaking against me in front of 150 people in this cavernous gym….”


About @mediamentor
Information Curation, Communication & Media / Cure d'information, communication et médias

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