Thursday Tidbits

Posted on August 20, 2020 under Thursday Tidbits with no comments yet

Native Cree prophecy



I am into my third week back up north. I can’t believe the difference from when I arrived on a very cold, dark evening 10 months ago. Last November, I returned to teaching after a mere 40- year hiatus. I was woefully unprepared. Arriving in a community that has had its share of trauma, I was carrying some personal baggage of my own. Simply put, I was overwhelmed and to this day, I am not certain how I got through those first difficult months. Getting a handmade parka might have been the turning point as I was never cold after acquiring this beautiful coat.

Fast forward to August 1, 2020 when I arrived back in Kangiqsujuaq on a warm, breezy summer afternoon. I immediately quarantined for 14 days. One blessing was the ability to get out for daily walks on the tundra. At first, I found the landscape rather barren until I started to pay closer attention. I discovered that this is truly a beautiful part of the world in summer and in winter.

What makes it particularly beautiful is the people. I had been told by colleagues that returning teachers notice a difference. The community views you differently because you have chosen to come back. Many teachers do not return. There are many challenges living in the north. It is not everyone’s cup of tea.

Of course, Covid has profoundly affected all of us. In remote communities like mine, a positive case of Covid could potentially be devastating so the level of caution is heightened.

My first trip to the grocery store was revealing. I received a royal welcome from the staff. I immediately felt at ease and at home and I continue to feel this way with each passing day. I feel like I am part of a new family. Over the past days, I have met many of my students. I’m doing some volunteering at a summer camp doing music and reading. Their smiles tell me that they are genuinely happy to see me. Trust me, there is no better feeling.

Last year, I taught a split grade 5/6 class and this year, I will teach just the grade 6 class which means that I will have my last year’s grade 5s. I am extremely reluctant to suggest that this year will be easier than last. The pandemic will pose a whole different set of challenges but knowing my students and their families, understanding the community and having sorted out some personal issues, I feel confident heading into the school year.

Not only do I feel confident, but I also feel at peace. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I think it has much to do being among the Inuit. They are warm generous people. Walking on their land has an almost mystical feel to it. I am constantly struck at the solitude. Once you’re outside the village, the silence is deafening and wonderful. There is a sense of timelessness and wonder knowing that these lands have been occupied by our founding nations for thousands of years.

(I had every intention of giving you a lesson on inukshuks today, but I got carried away… as usual!)

We’re still a month away from the start of school. The school is undergoing a serious renovation and as mentioned in a previous post, teachers are being brought back into the community over a period of five weeks. Being one a small handful of teachers to arrive in the first wave, I am being kept busy running errands for those doing their self-isolation. I have been given unfettered access to one of the school trucks and have become a fixture in the two local grocery stores. They must think that I have an insatiable appetite! Frequent runs to the water plant for drinking water and trips to the airport to pick up boxes and personal belongings will also keep me out of mischief.

I have a good head of steam on my next book. The first 10,000 words have been written. I’m quite excited. A colleague of mine has put me in touch with an Inuit man who is going to help me with some of the historical information for my book. On my walk last evening, this idea popped into my head for a book title: “Their Home and Native Land”.

I do not take my good fortune for granted. I am lucky to have good health today. It could change tomorrow, but in the meantime, I plan to keep my foot on the gas.

I am alive. I am well. I am happy. I am grateful.

Have a great weekend.

P.S. Passings. I wish to announce the demise of the last bit of pancake batter. After eating it 7 days in a row, I simply couldn’t gag down one more pancake, regardless of the amount of maple syrup that I slathered on it. It was relegated to the garbage. The time of passing was Tuesday, August 18th at 8:30 a.m. for those of you who keep track of such things! Don’t have a clue what I’m talking about? Check out this past week’s Monday Morning Musings:




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Highland Hearing Clinic

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