My Little Corner of Canada
My heart is heavy. My good friend, colleague and fellow traveler, Joanasie Salomonie, has passed from this life. I will miss his smile, good humor, and wisdom.
Born into the old world of his people, Joanasie experienced the era of turmoil of the last 35 years. Like many Inuit of his generation, he struggled through these bad times. In the end, he was convinced that the future was better than the past. He dedicated his last years to helping troubled youth and became a respected elder.
He was one of the founders of the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada. He was one of the first field workers for land claims. He was one of the pioneers of Inuktitut television. He was a world traveler. He was a musician, an actor, and an artist.
In his earlier years, Joanasie was a mischievous prankster. He made many of us mad at him because of his pranks. But we could never stay mad at him. He was fun to be with and traveling and working with him was never boring.
Joanasie quit drinking quite some time ago. He found peace with God and devoted the rest of his life to his family and his community.
I knew that Joanasie’s health was not very good for a number of years and that visits to hospitals had become more frequent recently.
But that still did not prepare me for the sad news. I was planning to invite him as one of the special guests for the celebrations on April 1, 1999.
We will not see his smiling face on that special day, but we know he will be there in spirit. He was one of the fathers of Nunavut and he will be very proud.
I was blessed with his friendship and I will miss him very much.