I find some resentment in Nunavut. I have never experienced racism directed towards myself until now. It hurts.
I don't express negativity towards Inuit culture, I don't feel any, just awe, wonder and shock. I am truly awed by what the Inuit people have gone through. I am absolutely amazed with the changes that have taken place and how quickly the people here have adapted to the westernized way that has landed in Iqaluit. Most of the Inuit here are only a few generations removed from the land, which is incredible to think. I never once felt that this westernized way that has been forced upon Nunavut is a positive thing. I wonder all the time if white people took this culture and this land and these beautiful people and ruined the gift that their way of life was.
It is hard for me to put exactly how I feel into words. I feel as though the Inuit people had courage and skill that is unparalleled. When I'm on the land and it's only been a few hours and I can barely keep control of my body because I am so cold, I think about how they survived out here without heating and plumbing and insulated walls. It is amazing to me, it is something that I cannot wrap my head around. I admire them for the ways they adapted to the land and made the most of what they had available. They made housing from nothing, clothes and food from animals, which they used every part of.
I think they had it right, while we we're abusing nature and the natural gifts we had. We produced waste and pollution in so many regards. We have ruined mother earth and I believe that we will pay for the damage we have done. Possibly with the lives of future generations. I wish the people of the South could have taken lessons from those who lived in the North. It seems the Inuit had the right idea when it came to the natural lifestyle.
White people as a whole have done a lot of harm in this world and I know that. Years ago the Inuit were figuratively suffocated by "Christians," the white people who came here to "help." I don't know the stories well, but I have heard of the trauma and the torture. The time is referred to as the time of residential schools. The people who arrived here forced learning and aspects of westernized life on the Inuit, it broke their hearts, it impacts them in ways that I cannot imagine.
I have a lot of white friends here who have felt the whip of racism and I have heard their bitterness when they say, 'look what we brought here.' They say the words as if we brought the real world to Nunavut. The truth is, we brought materialism, we brought drugs, we brought alcohol, we brought a whole whack of awful things and forced them on a beautiful culture.
I will take the criticism and I will take the words and all the hurt intended by them. If the colour of my skin brings back memories to people who the white man hurt, then I will carry that burden because I feel for the people who were pained by the experiences of their past. I feel that they deserve to be angry with me but I wish they knew that their culture is nothing short of inspiring to me. I wish they knew that if I could take them back and change things in their favour, I would. If I had the power to put up a wall that blocked out all Southern influence I would do it.
When I express my shock in regards to the way of life here, its not because I don't approve, it's because I am trying with all of heart to wrap my mind around it, to really understand. I am an outsider and everything I see here and hear here amazes me. I compare it to my materialistic and privileged Southern lifestyle. Because of this I am taken aback by a lot and I want to share these things with the people I love who would never know this experience otherwise. I am inspired and excited by seeing such a different way of life. It makes me question everything I was raised to think and feel. It makes me a better more compassionate person and for that I am thankful.
I moved to Iqaluit for the adventure and the experience. The organic aspects of this City are my favorite parts. I have a million questions and I want to immerse myself in the powerful culture that seems to be slipping away. I want to hold onto it for the Inuit people, I want to see it preserved and embraced and respected for what it is worth.
I believe that the integration of good health care, education and law enforcement (or law in general) is positive for Iqaluit but there is a lot that has had a negative impact. I wish that I could fully understand the pain that was caused here but I also wish the people who were hurt could find a way to forgive. The people who caused that hurt were bad people but there are people like me who come here to explore something wonderful and to learn from the stories and wonder of this culture. For what it's worth, I am sorry.