Between the Lines – A girl’s first tattoos, usually done in the face, on the forehead, cheeks or chin …

A girl’s first tattoos, usually done in the face, on the forehead, cheeks or chin, were often excruciatingly painful, especially around the eyes, lips and between the eyebrows. “It would be impossible to keep your toes from wiggling,” said one elder, while the tattooist ran her needle and thread through the lampblack of the qulliq and stitched it through the young girl’s skin. “It felt like your face was on fire,” said another elder. Still others said it felt like sparks from the sun. Sessions could last whole days. At certain points, the girl might scream out for the tattooist to stop.Some say the tattooist probably prayed with every stitch, sometimes rubbing the soot in with a finger or her poker. She would gently remind the girl that the sea goddess denied access to the afterlife to women whose fingers weren’t tattooed. Women without face tattoos were banished to Noqurmiut, the “land of the crestfallen,” where they spent an eternity with their heads hanging down, smoke bellowing out of their throats.

Source: Between the Lines

Letters from Nunavut’s Next Generation

Nunavut’s Next Generation: Life in Iqaluit By Patrick White, Jan. 21, 2014 Few people have a better window on Nunavut’s youth than John Fanjoy, and few people are so irrepressibly optimistic about …

Source: Letters from Nunavut’s Next Generation

Our Language, Our Selves

By Alexina Kublu & Mick Mallon,

“…Is there a Canadian culture? Is there an Inuit culture? An Inuktitut word for “way of life” is inuusiq. Based on the word for person, inuk, it means something like “the way of being a person.” Is there a connection between the language I speak and the person I am? Let us tell you a story.
Some years ago, Kublu applied for a job with an Inuit organization in Ottawa, and dashed off the usual résumé. On checking it over, however, she thought, “But this is an Inuit organization. If the person who reads this résumé is a traditional Inuk, what will he think of it, and of me?”
So she translated it into Inuktitut . . . and it sounded arrogant, boastful, and cold, cold, cold. Then she sat down and wrote a résumé directly in Inuktitut. It came out fine, until she translated it into English. The English version was vague, unfocused, even wimpy!…”

Source: Our Language, Our Selves

Just think what the next generation [of Inuit] will be able to do.

Mark Kalluak “… Born in 1942, and raised traditionally on the western shore of Hudson Bay, Mark Kalluak was an author, Inuktitut literacy, cultural heritage and language coordinator, Kalluak was widely known as an expert on Inuit culture and language. As a businessman and former Arviat mayor, Kalluak received the Order of Canada in October of 1991 for his work in literacy, and worked tirelessly to ensure traditional knowledge was a staple of Nunavut school curriculum. The following is the first editorial written for Arviat Television by Kalluak who sadly passed away three weeks after writing this commentary…”

Source: Just think what the next generation will be able to do.

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