Friends, after writing my regular column a couple of weeks ago, about the effects of the food forced on us at residential schools, it is good to note the many activities now linking our places of learning with community.
In this case I was pleasantly surprised to read of the moose-harvesting going on at East Three Secondary School in Inuvik.
One of my more traumatic memories of Grollier Hall, which I attended through primary grades, was years later seeing that horrid place still up and standing. The empty space it and the Sir Alexander Mackenzie School stood on still remind me of those times which took place only a few generations ago.
The two-page News/North story, by Stewart Burnett, with its many photos of students cutting up the meat also brings to mind an important statement by principal Gene Jents that, “We are on Gwich’in and Invuvaluit land … and on-the-land activities are a huge part of the culture.”
The reason this is so relevant is that one of the main features of my present PhD research in Indigenous Studies is to find ways to link academia, places of education, with the community.
My school, Trent University, has seen its way to expand my own work to include more observation, and less of the traditional data-based study.
The students at East Three got their own taste of this. Getting to actually be there when the moose got harvested by local, Jimmy Kalinek, and having it brought right into their school.
The fact that they even got to cut up the moose themselves and bring their share home points to the way the institution sees itself as a part of this vital process.
Another thing to consider is that it does take time for things to change and to turn around.
In my time at Grollier Hall there was no tie whatsoever with the town. The only time we got to see the people was at the weekly service in the Igloo Church. Even then we got seated separate from the adults.
It must have been really hard for the parents, especially parents of the children from Inuvik.
For the time being, though, good to know of what goes on at East Three.
Mahsi, thank you.