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16 juin 2010

Thoughts on CBC NewsNorth

I watched CBC News North for the first time in a long time yesterday. I saw a lot of things that bothered me, not in terms of actual content, like headlines and stories, but things like: the reporters, the people they chose to interview and also the fact that it was all in English. I know! I know! We have CBC News Igalaaq, but that’s entirely in Inuktitut. A lot of Inuit, younger Inuit especially do not speak Inuktitut well enough to really understand the program and it delivers news from a purely inuit point of view –not that there is anything wrong with that, but CBC News North is more rounded in the kinds of stories it tells, it’s like, a more holistic approach to informing northerners. I know, translating CBC News North into Inuktitut would mean having to translate it into other northern indigenous languages.. I am fairly ethnocentric though, I mean.. I can only write from my own perspective right? I’ve only known life as an Inuk. But that’s not the point of the post. Just a little tidbit that I thought should be mentioned.. Anyway.. back to main points.

One of the reporters they have in Iqaluit, says IKALUIT. That, to me, is unacceptable. People say it wrong already, we don’t need the media to be pushing the wrong pronunciation just because it’s easier. Way not cool CBC. Enough people in Canada (and probably within your staff) are able to say it properly, get someone who does.

And the last thing: CBC News North did the story on the changes to the Food Mail Program. Northern retailers can now benefit from the program directly, rather than going through Canada Post. Yes! Hooray! I’m all about eliminating the unnecessary middle-man, but that does give an unfair advantage to larger retailers. Smaller, locally owned business do not order the same kinds of quantities as larger chain retailers do, giving them the shorter end of the food mail stick. It’s going to cost them more to compete with NorthMart and Coops and such. They interviewed three Iqaluit business owners who would be hit hardest by this change in policy. Now here’s what i really wanted to talk about.. the three people they interviewed were *drum roll please* all Qallunaaq. They painted a media picture of Iqaluit as a place where the only shop owners are Qallunaat; as if Inuit were not going to benefit or not from this policy change. I mean, I know Iqaluit has a LOT of Qallunaat, but seriously. If you look at the media attention that Inuit get, it’s usually because they are outstanding at something or complete failures. An amazing artist, for example get’s a lot of media. The statistics on suicide and infant mortality get a lot of media. The regular person, the shop owner, the beneficiary of the food mail program does not get any media attention.

There’s no such thing as neutral Inuit in the broader Canadian context. We’re either exotic and mysterious or disgusting and unworthy. It’s all people want to hear. We’re like the pride and joy of Canada because of our beautiful mysterious cultural differences, but at the same time it’s like, Inuit are still wards of the state and no one will let us forget that. What about regular people? You know, your cousin that works at Quickstop, or your ex-boyfriend’s sister in law with the really cute kid. People can’t comprehend the notion that we are just people, living our lives. I know this seems pretty far removed from the food mail program, but CBC’s interpretation of it ties it all together perfectly. Does Canada want regular Inuit? Or does Canada feed on the age old image of smiling exotic Eskimos? (and what can we do to change that?)....


À cause de l'impossibilité de supporter les différentes polices de caractères en syllabiques, les commentaires doivent obligatoirement être rédigés en Anglais, en Français ou en Inuktitut romanisé. Nous sommes désolés de l'inconvénient.

Neutral Inuit
Publié le Jeudi 26 Août 2010 par Nina
I agree with the whole dichotomy of the image that is had of Inuit. Being half Inuvilauit and Chipewyan, its amazing when people learn that I hold a University degree and I speak french. It amazes me that non-inuit are not amazed when other non-inuit speak french or have gone to university. I immediately feel proud of my accomplishment but it is then tarnished with the realization that they are amazed because they obviously dont think that we can amount to more than anything but lower educated good for nothing. I am a throatsinger and have had many wonderful opportunities to meet people all over the country and in Europe. I use my ability to speak two languages to bridge a gap. I try to use people's interest in my singing and go beyond and talk about the reality of Inuit, mostly urban experience since that is where I live. I use laughter and jokes and playful teasing when faced with ignorant questions. In turn they laugh at themselves for asking these questions but also walk away not being insulted but more educated. At the same time I am not a one woman spokesperson for all Inuit or First Nations which I explicitly say. I am one woman, brought up in a Jewish Filipino family and have worked hard at reconnecting with who I am and I have my thoughts and ideas. thanks for reading.
Canada wants regular Inuit - at least, THIS CANADIAN DOES! :D
Publié le Jeudi 08 Juillet 2010 par Angely Pacis
One thing we can do to change the age-old-image of smiling exotic Eskimos (I cringe at that too) is for Canadians to be able to have the chance to become friends with a person who is Inuit in heritage. The challenge here that we have to overcome is the distance - geographic, language, status or "mind-wise" - that separates us. Personally, I have a colleague, who is a law student here, who is Inuit in heritage and we have not yet had a chance to have a good, long conversation about his life, nor has he had the chance to hear about mine. Friendships are the best way to have people know you and to know people. Genuine, open, heartfelt friendship. And, I hope that, personally, I get the chance to meet and get to know, all the different kinds of people of the North - as well as other people of Aboriginal heritage, or who self-identify as "Aboriginal" alone (though, the modern-First Nation person, I believe, has a far more complex and sophisticated sense of identity...) soon! Cheers and Peace, A.M.Q.Pacis
Publié le Mercredi 23 Juin 2010 par Dugald Livingston
Stark attention to detail J.C. I applaud you.

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