Posted by: abbyanavilok | November 10, 2011

Through These Eyes – Assignment

Through These Eyes

1) What do you feel is the main theme of this documentary?

I think the main theme is like a “Now and Then” theme. They talk about how the american students were being taught about inuit way of life back then and how the parents reacted to it. Then it shows the film maker goes back to Kugaaruk after many years and he sees how drastically the community has changed and how quick it changed. He remembers most of the people he filmed and even cried when he saw the woman he had known and filmed years before. Then there could be another theme which has to do with “culture” the american culture and the inuit culture. Two very different cultures but in the same way, cultures of the world are all the same, they deal with how human had to survive.

2) Do you feel a connection to the characters depicted in the film? Why?

Yes, i feel connected to the Natsilingmiut for instance they are my ancestors. This is the way we survived all these years and how we lived.  We have all these beliefs, values and customs as to any other culture has in the world. Its the way we were taught and the only way we had to survive living in an “isolated world” much differently from down south. Although i was taught mostly english, i could understand and speak a little of inuktitut. I feel ashamed and embarrassed that i only can understand and speak a little. I am trying though, trying my best to learn more. The language is all around me, its just i need to pay more attention to actually hearing it, asking questions and learning from mistakes. My story kind of relates to the parents that didn’t want their children to learn of inuit culture, but in a different way. All through school i was taught only english and very little inuktitut. We had only white people for teachers, we had no choice but to learn english as it is the dominant lanuage of the world. Even long ago, inuit and first nations were forced to live in residential schools and learn the white people’s way of life, the bible, i mean everything. They had to just drop everything and be told what to do and how to do it. They had no choice, well i believe some people had their own choices but for most, they believed that they had to do this for the government. The government even went so far that they took a group of inuit from Northern Quebec and moved them to Grise Fiord for what? a study? where they had no knowledge of where to hunt, how to survive and what not. They treated them like they were science projects and how i think of it, its right down lame.

Today the government has apologized for their actions towards inuit and first nations, thats the 1st step they took in trying to recognize how much they did to the aboriginals in Canada. Even today you can see a lot of inuit teachers, as they are trying their best to get the language back. Where the  American parents in the documentary had a choice, they had their voices heard in how their child should be taught, inuit had no voice, they just went along with what the government told them to do. But we Nunavunmiuts are trying, and trying doesn’t hurt when it comes to getting the language back. 

I also feel connected to Sidonie, she talks about how inuit lived in the past and how today everything has changed drastically. That what i feel and wonder about how life was back then and today. She is a very wise woman who grew up the old way and adapted to the new way of life. She speaks her mind and her speech was strong from a woman/mother’s point of view. I envy her for what she has gone through, for what she has put up with all the years of her life and how strong she still is today.

3) Being ‘caught between two worlds’ is a common theme when discussing Nunavut and the loss of traditional culture. Please reflect on this.

Being ‘caught between two worlds’ is very common for elders, adults and youth around Nunavut. Elders want to keep their tradition alive and they try to teach the best of their knowledge to their children and grandchildren and yet the modern world has to also teach us what we have to learn in order to live in this modern world. Its complicating for elders especially, you can see it through their eyes. They tell stories of their lives even legends, beliefs, values and customs. They lecture everyone hoping and having faith in us that we keep the culture and tradition alive.

Everyone in Nunavut has so much respect for their elders, they know that they are the ones who has struggled to live within the past and yet they say it was easier to live their past way of life then todays modern life. They know that today we face so much problems like suicide being the worst and even the highest rate within Canada itself. No one knows how it changed so quickly but elders themselves because they lived the life in the past and had to adapt to the new changes that changed our traditions and culture. It scares them to lose their culture and especially language. This is what i think ‘being caught between two worlds’ is in my point of view.


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