A colony of Canada?


I am responding to the letter to the editor written by Steven Lenaghan called “North still a colony of Ottawa?”

I have never felt so insulted in my whole life, until I read Steven’s editorial. Aaaah! I have never read any material that has killed my spirit. Ha ha, Gotcha there.

I hope to disappoint Steven and anyone else who would stoop so low as to try to insult my intelligence and maybe feed off of my possible reaction: anger. Well, for your information, I will still sleep in peace tonight and wake up in the morning knowing that I again will live to sleep another night in peace!

I can’t understand why being “a colony of Ottawa” has to be bad for the Inuit. For several decades now, the Inuit have been citizens of Northwest Territories. How has this affected the Inuit?

Well, according to the statistics, a huge portion of the Inuit population have alcohol, drug, substance and family problems. Has anyone ever read or heard about a society that has been forced to remove themselves from their own lifestyle and assimilate themselves in a few decades to perfection?

Take a look at the Indians in southern Canada. For hundreds of years now, they have been pressured to assimilate to such an extent that the Mohawks had to barricade themselves from the outside world.

Also, the last time I visited one of their reservations, they had been denied access to gasoline. Now that is one fine example of what some societies will do to assimilate the minorities.

The government of Canada has obviously realized that the aboriginals will not be easily assimilated. So the federal government has no choice but to work with the Inuit.

Just because the Inuit have not easily adopted the European lifestyle and learned to deal with their illnesses, it does not mean that it has to be the same when they get their own territory.

However, there are two roads they can take, the good road or the other road that could lead to extinction. In my opinion, the Inuit are intelligent enough that they’ll take the good road which will bring them a life of fulfillment.

The only one who could say that the Inuit will not live in a lifestyle with economic and political stability is God. Unless the federal government is planning to make the lives of Inuit one of despair, then one could say such a thing.

What’s wrong with being under “the ultimate control of Ottawa?” Isn’t the whole country under the ultimate control of Ottawa?

It dawned on me how Mr. Lenaghan could question why there were no Inuit seeking council seats in his time. For God’s sake, one would have to have some sort of amnesia to not realize that such efforts may have been thought of as useless or a waste of time.

The Inuit in the Baffin region have only been citizens of Canada, that is in the eyes of the white man, for a few decades. Perhaps in the eyes of the Inuit back then, such attempts to create a government were useless.

For thousands of years before that, the Inuit had led a nomadic life, where the elder of the family had some powers over the family. So the concept of creating a government to have powers over more than one family may have been alien to them.

In my opinion, Mr. Lenaghan must be so damned self-centered to state that it was not his fault that no Inuk sought a council seat back then.

About the requirements for a candidacy in Nunavut, I would have to say that the federal government is doing itself a favor by requiring only Inuit candidates for council seats.

For a few decades now, the majority of non-aboriginals have dictated the lives of the Inuit and what has come out of it? Well, it has created many communities with alcohol, drug, substance, and family problems.

With the Inuit controlling their own council, they’ll have nowhere to go but in the upward direction. Besides they’ll be dictating the lives of the Inuit.

Also, what good does it do for the Inuit to have a system of government without external control? Is it even possible? Look at the Indians, they have been living sort of independently and has any good come out of it?

If so, then the Mohawks would not had to risk their lives to protect their own burial grounds. I hope the Inuit will have the same integrity and dignity as the Mohawks to protect their sacred grounds, that is if the time ever comes.

I hope all the sacred grounds of my ancestors are protected even today. I don’t even know because the NTI has bragged about nothing but how federal government will give the new Nunavut government so much money for giving up our aboriginal title.

For God’s sake, it’s ironic that Mr. Lenaghan would ever have the courage to say that just because he and other white people are “white”, it means that they’re the only one’s who could look after the Inuit.

Had he learned about the history of Canada, he would realize that he and none of the white people would be alive today to make such a comment, had it not been for my ancestors and the Indians. It would not be a democracy if the Inuit were not allowed to govern themselves.

Jason Takawgak
Ottawa, Ont.

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