Nowadays, people have far too many names.
August 9, 2019 9:48 AM   Subscribe

Voices from Whale Cove: An Inuit community in the Canadian Arctic was created through forced relocation; six locals share their family stories.

The tradition of elders speaking for hours, almost uninterrupted, remains a fundamental means of passing knowledge and family history from one generation to the next. Listening to Voisey’s stories, I realized that while some of Whale Cove’s official history may be documented in government records, these capture only a limited, outside perspective. For a more layered understanding, I returned to Whale Cove this past February with Suzie Napayok-Short, a friend and interpreter, to hear six residents share the community’s history in their own words. These are their stories.

posted by poffin boffin (4 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
A remarkable set of stories borne out of a love for the oral tradition.
I do worry about my children and my grandchildren—my family. My grandchildren would like the status of the Qablunaat. It hurts that they don’t speak Inuktitut. It’s all I ever heard spoken when I was raised. I hope they have good lives and that they can show loving and caring and sharing, and that’s what I try to tell them to live with. And I hope for the same for our community of Whale Cove.

I don’t say much about politics. I’ve tried to live a life of no conflict. That’s how I became 87 years old, I think. It’s best to be peaceful. That’s what I hope for my children, my descendants in the community, that they can live in peace in the years that are coming upon us.
Agnes Teenar (Annissi Tiinnaaq)
posted by Ahmad Khani at 10:50 AM on August 9, 2019

A lot of the article is very difficult to read if you have a sense of the history behind various incidents, frex the interviewees talking about how their parents disappeared after being taken to TB hospitals, which we now know were used for unethical human medical experimentation and were also responsible for extreme abuse of patients.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:04 AM on August 9, 2019 [10 favorites]

These are so amazing and so sad. I started this piece thinking how messed up it was that Canada relocated people to the middle of nowhere to starve in order to defeat a Russian claim to the land and ended being so much more upset about everything else - the priest who wouldn't feed Aupak and her mom unless they converted, the residential schools, the people who left to get medical help and almost certainly came to a bad end.
posted by bile and syntax at 1:10 PM on August 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

My oldest daughter was removed from Back River to go to residential school in Chesterfield Inlet. She came back much older.

God, I bet.

This is fascinating. Thanks for posting.
posted by Catseye at 2:13 AM on August 10, 2019

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