I have heard of one established, gifted Inuit artist who took courses … and lost so much self esteem that he/she could no longer produce! The teachers coming north are sometimes very inexperienced and have not lived with other cultures. They are too often curriculum centred and ignore the larger context in which the course is being offered: the past, present and future. They are too narrowly focussed on the present and on satisfying a narrow course content.
Social inequalities and social institutions
… my language was inadequate to describe what I was feeling intuitively. I could explain it using academic jargon. But when I tried to explain my intuitive feelings about Iqaluit social inequality and social institutions, the nonacademic terms resonated as narrow mindedness, over simplification of the social dynamics at work here. There is not a simple formula that defines the white population as the problem and Inuit as the solution. Inuit have a middle class and they too have adopted middle class values. The poorest poor are those who have fallen through the cracks and who are not recognized by Inuit or non Inuit.
The contrast then is not highlighted by ethnicity. Only two weeks ago when I was in the same room with the eight Inuit elders and the Inuit Studies students, I was immersed in an atmosphere of spirituality and a longing for a way of knowing, knowledge and even wisdom. It was an atmosphere of respect, learning and listening. Last evening I really was not able to get that feeling in that room. There were some wonderful people there, like …. and others who sincerely want to work to change the levels of inequalities. But there were others like …. who may be there just to ensure that their own salaried positions in the community remain unchallenged. They are not there to reflect on the situation of poverty and homelessness, but to assuage the minds of others who have come there, to convince them that what needs to be done is being done, and they are doing it. When they spoke I felt the energy leave the room. Around them I felt a vacuum that absorbed energy from others. …. spoke with authority as if she was in charge. It was almost a call to demobilize everyone else? I knew before there was a call for action, that the response in that group would be inaction.
Do those who are directing and managing those social institutions that should be agents of change, and agents of support for the most vulnerable sectors of society, believe the very myths about poverty that prevent the poor from receiving effective assistance? Do they convince themselves of what they want to believe so the status quo is not ruffled? Under the guise of concern for the poor, are they really more concerned about assuring their own financial and career futures?
Inuit Arts Centre in Iqaluit: A Living Museum Space which encourages Involvement or a Tombstone Museum?
… feels Iqaluit needs its own arts center where Iqaluitmiut could see master works of art, quality Inuit art works, participate in workshops, lectures, slide shows. … doesn’t want to see the art placed only in museums where there isn’t any life. This is a concern about the CLEY proposal for the construction of a large art centre. There is a concern that it will house the art and not provide space for public involvement and public education.