Viewing entries tagged
Iqaluit

19 Comments

32 Things White people in Nunavut like...

Nunavut is Canada's arctic territory. For thousands of years, this region was home only to arctic wildlife and the Inuit people, who were able to navigate the icy tundra, live off the land and flourish in harsh conditions.  But over the past few decades, Nunavut has been overflowing with...WHITE PEOPLE?!?! Yup, even in the coldest part of the globe, where there are no malls or indie cafes, you can still find us...

White, in this context, broadly refers to those who recently moved to Nunavut from the southern places, who were flown up for work purposes, and who are not Inuit

Stuff White People in Nunavut like:

#1- TOONIK TYME!!!

This is the ultimate time for White People to flock together and share their love of appropriate cultural activities in their community.

Who let the dogs out?! #nunavut #sleddogs

A photo posted by Lítla BB (@icelandicfaery) on

#2- The Legion on a Saturday night

This is the ultimate place for White People to be seen by other White People and to meet new White People. But make sure you are wearing fancy new clothes that you bought online or at the Rideau Centre.

#3- Spending quality time on The Land

Hiking to Sylvia Grinnell Park, or spending a few hours out on the Bay with a big bag of trail mix and a thermos is something every white person here enjoys.

#4- Fishing

During the summer months you will see White People flocking in droves to the river with rods. Nothing is more satisfying than catching your own dinner after a long, productive day at the office. (Expect to see lots of homemade-sushi photos on Facebook!)

Freshly caught Arctic char. I'm becoming a domestic goddess! #Nunagram #Iqaluit

A photo posted by Lítla BB (@icelandicfaery) on

#5- Talking about all their successes

The White people in Nunavut are incredibly talented...or so they say. From bloggers with acting experience who brag about their thousands of followers, to Red Seal chefs with tap dancing levels, to cross-country ski mavens and almost-Olympic-level-ultra-marathoners- yup, White people here are not shy to talk a lot about their impressive resumes. (Though, you have to wonder, if you are really as accomplished as you say...why are you here?)

#6- Being an advocate for Others

The White People of Nunavut seem to know what's best for everyone, especially non-White, indigenous people, who they actively take a stand for. Bless our hearts, we are just trying to ease our White Privilege...if only we really knew what we were talking about!

I am even wearing a second-hand store sweater in this photo (White People also love thrift clothing!)

I am even wearing a second-hand store sweater in this photo (White People also love thrift clothing!)

#7- Volunteering

White People love to be involved in and making a difference for the community. When they are not in their offices or at the gym, you can often find White People at the soup kitchen, waiting to answer calls at the helpline...AND THEN

#8- Doing Yoga!

Yes, of course there is a Yoga Studio here! Duh, White People cannot live without their matching yoga mats and designer, PBA-free water bottles.

Warrior 2 pose at Upper Base, Iqaluit

Warrior 2 pose at Upper Base, Iqaluit

#9- Being a board member

If you have lived here for a few months, you are most likely on the board of a non-profit organization that you believe is contributing positively to the community (another bullet point to add on your impressive resume!).

#10- Checking Environment Canada for blizzard warnings

From December-April, you can be sure that every White Person is in their office refreshing that Environment Canada page to see if the visibility has dropped to 0.4km. White People love BLIZZARD WARNINGS! 

Well, I tried to work, but I guess the blizzard wants me to stay home in my pyjamas and watch Netflix.

Well, I tried to work, but I guess the blizzard wants me to stay home in my pyjamas and watch Netflix.

#11- Talking about who they know

"Oh, dont you know so-and-so?! They have lived here for ___ years and always throw the best parties and is Director of Policy Development! I guess you haven't lived here long enough yet..." -Typical White Person

#12- Picking up lots of packages at the post office

White People don't mind lining up at the post office, especially if it means they will be seen carrying boxes and boxes from Amazon, MEC, Simons, etc. A package slip in the PO Box is symbol of love and success to White People.

#13- Instagramming

Every activity performed by a White Person in Nunavut can and will be documented on Instagram, otherwise it's like it never existed and then what is the point of living here?!?!?!?!

#14- Taking time off

White People love taking long periods of time off from their high-paying jobs to go travelling the world..and talking about Nunavut and sharing the wonders of their arctic "home" while abroad.

#15- Craft Fairs and Country Food markets

The more decked out White People's homes are with traditional artifacts, art works, furs and frozen meats in the freezer, the more they feel like they have integrated into the community and are supporting the local people.

#16- Beginning and ending emails/sentences with Inuktituk salutations but then continuing on in English

Qanuippit, I am hosting a free workshop at the community centre this weekend! -Nakurmiik!

Unnusakkut, there is coffee and donuts in the snack room! -Qujannamiik

I think White People believe that by beginning and ending sentences with Inuktitut words means they are excused from actually learning the language...because let's face it, learning any language but English and French is really hard, takes time, and is won't be useful at an all-inclusive resort.

#17- Nunavut Day!!!*

White People love celebrating this day because it is a Stat Holiday that no other white people in the rest of Canada get off.  

*Nunavut Day, celebrated annually on July 9, marks the day that the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act and the Nunavut Act came into legal force. The Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA) is the largest comprehensive claim settlement in Canada. It provides Inuit with financial benefits, along with extensive land ownership, resource royalties, guaranteed wildlife harvesting rights, and participation in wildlife, land-use and environmental decision-making bodies. As required by the NLCA, the Nunavut Act created the territory of Nunavut.

#18- Aeroplan Tickets

Flights to/from Iqaluit from the South are expensive. Booking a coveted roundtrip Aeroplan ticket to Ottawa is an exciting feat for a White Person and they love bragging about it when they score one. (And will spend work time on the phone with an agent checking every available date!)

#19- Getting to visit a community...but only for one day!

White people are dying to see as much of the North as possible and jump at the chance to wrack up overtime by flying to one of Nunavut's more remote communities. All is well and documented on Instagram...until they get stuck there due to weather/mechanical difficulties and have to share a dingy room with a same-sex stranger and eat expensive meals at the co-op for days and days... 

#20- The Jerry Cans

White People just love the traditional music of Nunavut as played by this Iqaluit-based band that's a "unique mix of Inuktitut alt-country, throat singing, and reggae" and will never miss an opportunity to come out and awkwardly dance to them LIVE. (They really are an awesome band, though!)

#21- Sealifting

As much as they try and go without stuff, and say they don't need stuff, the truth is White People cannot live without stuff, so naturally placing Sealift orders is a very important time in the lives of White People. Many even schedule their vacations around dropping off their purchases at the port and stuff their vehicles to the brim with toilet paper and whatever else they can cram in!

#22- Pot lucks and theme nights

Who needs cocktail bars and fancy restaurants when you can put on your best hipster sweater, make some hummus and be considered cool at this week's hottest potluck!? White People love to host and love the fact that dinner parties, murder mystery nights and gourmet potlucks are fashionable here...mainly because there is no where else to go! 

#23- Homemade parkas

If you are still wearing a Canada Goose coat, you are obviously still new here or are not integrating as well as you could be. Many White People not only have traditional parkas they bought at a craft fair, they have actually learned to make their own traditional parkas! White People also take up sewing seal skin mitts and join kamik-making groups. You are a real White Person of the North if you carry your baby in an amauti you made yourself! Well done!

#arctic #iqaluit #winter #nunavut #girl #parka #fox #fur

A photo posted by Lítla BB (@icelandicfaery) on

#24- GN Training Weeks

White People love being paid to be away from their desks to gain important insights that will make them more productive at their jobs. How to Deal with Difficult People, Intermediate French classes, and Microsoft Works for Dummies are important workshops that all government employees should take advantage of, regularly.

#25- The Utilidor

White People are not fond of, nor do well with, Waterless Wednesdays. When choosing a house-sit, selecting an apartment or buying a house, access to the Utilidor is a MUST!

#26- Being in Nunavut longer than other white people

White People take pride in how many months have gone by since they stepped, shell-shocked, off the plane. In fact, they are all a little embarrassed by their lack of knowledge of the territory when they first arrived, so they make up for it by feel smug when they meet a fresher-off-the-plane White Person.

#27- Skidooing

White people very quickly realize they will see more of the land if they have a snow machine. White People love purchasing Bravos or weathered machines on Sell/Swap and then getting their trail mix, thermos and friends together to go out on an expedition to the one of the nearby islands for a picnic and to show off their sweet rides.

North Mart's finest machine of 2015.

North Mart's finest machine of 2015.

#28- Forming societies

White People often take their interests to the next level by finding like-minded people and attempting to form a society. Society meetings are often centered around brunch, healthy snacks, making a plan for the future, trying to fill out documentation correctly and write bylaws meaning that only their bffs can join.

#29- Being cliquey

For some reason, White People in Nunavut like to form cliques. It's a mystery sometimes how these cliques form, but if you will know right away if you are not part of one. Ironically, these White Cliques tend to do the same things, but just stand in different locations at the Legion, have wild parties at different houses, and give each other evil looks or ignore one another when ending up in the same taxi, bank machine line, drink line, grocery store aisle, GN training session, board meeting, charter flight, dance floor, movie theatre, post office queue, and Racquet Club workout session.

#30- Being vegan BUT eating country food

Lots of White People in Nunavut tend to have dietary restrictions (gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, sugar-free, etc) but all that will change when it comes to being seen eating traditional country foods like char, seal, caribou and bannock.

View this post on Instagram

#icefishing #char #sashimi #nunavut #myprecious

A post shared by Beebs (@bibi_bilodeau) on

#31- Having a friend who is Inuk

Many White People say that (for some reason) it is hard to meet and form friendships withInuit people up here, so naturally they are very proud and excited when they have a friend who is Inuk. This Inuk friend serves as a White Person's community resource, and is someone whose opinion/insight they value and can be referenced to in conversations with other White People, "The Inuit Community believes that.___" or "I know many Inuit feel this waybecause of my friend____". They love it when this Inuk friend shows up at dinner parties and attends other White People events with them. 

#32- Calling Nunavut home.

Many White People, even the ones who recently moved here, refer to Nunavut as their home. Maybe it's because they couldn't fit in to wherever they came from, or they couldn't achieve the success they wanted down South...or they just plain love in up here, but for whatever reason, White People are here and here to stay! So keep that Sealift, boxed wine, aquatic centre, theme nights and those cultural events coming! We will pay big money for it!!!

Home sweet home in #iqaluit #frobisherbay #spring

A photo posted by Lítla BB (@icelandicfaery) on

This post was loving written by a privileged White Girl. I apologize for being an annoying White Person.

 

 

 

 

 

 

19 Comments

Comment

Being one of the Gays in Iqaluit

Rainbow cupcakes for the NWT Pride.

Rainbow cupcakes for the NWT Pride.

"Did you guys hear that there's a new lesbian in town?" 

If you are an Out, Gay woman and you come to Iqaluit, that sentence will surely be uttered after you- from airport, to North Mart and all the way to the legion. Get ready! 

I have survived in many countries where it was more than just frowned-upon by the neighbourhood to be gay, it was actually condemned by enforced state laws. In terms of progressive LGBTQ+ rights, Canada as a whole is one of the better places to be born gay.

Who doesn't love the GAYS?! 

Siena, Italy: Well...at least the food was comforting! Rural tuscany is beautiful, but if you can't blend in then prepare to have cute little nonnas wave their fingers and rolling pins at you on the way to church. I did my best to fit in (I even learned Italian), but then I had to endure greasy men trying to whisk me away on their vespas to their casas. (Ironically, most men in Italy, and Europe, look very metrosexual...aka GAY!)

"Being gay and Italian is like a fate worse than...Wait, there is no fate worse than being gay AND Italian!" -Angelo, from the 2003 comedy film  Mambo Italiano

"Being gay and Italian is like a fate worse than...Wait, there is no fate worse than being gay AND Italian!" -Angelo, from the 2003 comedy film Mambo Italiano

Western African: Not only is it very illegal to be gay there, but one can be sent to Witch Camp if caught in the, um, Act of Gayness. Culturally, women (who call each other Sisters) are very close and caring toward each other. And when they go out dancing, they get up right against each other in a big, booty-shaking group, so I had no problem living there, and my Sisters looked out for me!

Though, around the world there ARE lots of people who love the Gays!

Like my city, Toronto. OMG. I feel like in the last decade, everyone in the T-Dot is now on some part of this, so-called, Sexuality Spectrum. There is no doubt that Toronto is overflowing with PRIDE: They boast their Gay-Bourhoods and growing Diversity of EVERYTHING. My once very-straight friends are now Open or Experimenting or Queer-Positive and Androgynous-Gender-Neutral or Rainbow-Aura-ed. Good for you Toronto, I am so happy for you...but also, confused! Call me unoriginal but I am going to stick with just being Lesbian. Classic.

What about Nunavut? Are there arctic Gays?! And if there are, how do they survive if they have to be so bundled-up?!

Like just about everything else in Nunavut, what actually goes on up here is a mystery to most people in Canada. Sadly, Southerners neither know nor seem to care that they have absolutely no idea what real life is like North of 60. I was definitely that ignorant white girl in my Canada Goose parka on the airplane ride up to Iqaluit, praying to The Goddess that I might one day see an avocado again, learn to build my own polar bear-proof igloo, and if I had to live in-the-closet so as to not upset the community I was trespassing upon...so be it.

Well too bad for you, especially the Southern LGBTQ communities, because up North we are sizzlin'. 

Note: I am only one lesbian. And I am a white, privileged lesbian for that matter... so my views are very much my own and do not reflect that of all of the other Nuna-Gays.

Iqaluit is the fastest growing "city" in Canada. With a population of around 7000, people are literally landing here everyday. I believe the population breakdown is something like 60% Inuit and 40% Annoying-Settler. Since reputable psychologists all agree that (at least) 10% of the world identify as Gay, that would mean that there are 700+ LGBTQ folks in Iqaluit at any given time. WOWEE!

And what do these Gays do up here?! 

According to the bubbling activity I have observed on social media, the crowds of folks lining up to get into the recent Iqaluit Pride events, and the gossip the hangs over this city more thickly than the Dumpcano smoke of 2014, I can safely say this is one of biggest queer communities per capita I have ever been a part of...EVER!

And the most diverse too. There are Gays/Lesbians who have grown up here, immigrated across oceans, and of course, flocked North from all over the country, East coast to West. While there isn't an official, organized LGBTQ group per se (we are working on it, building on what others have done in the past), there are so many Gay/Lesbian families and friend-groups, living comfortably and contributing to the community as a whole.

Unlike many young people, gay and straight , trying to make a living down South, the Gays up North have jobs! REAL JOBS! Many also have kids, dogs, Subarus, skidoos, home-renovation projects (it's a lesbian's paradise!!!) etc, etc. We can all fit right in here. Yes, the Gays are definitely alive and thriving in Iqaluit...with or without a Registered-Pride Organization- Who needs structure and socialized-gay-norms anyway?!

FYI: The best guacamole in the world is made by Gays in Nunavut.

But what about dating? How does that work in such an isolated place, where everyone knows everyone and the only way to come and go is by expensive plane ride? (Or very, very, very long snowmobile trip...) 

Yes, dating can present an...interesting...challenge...

"So, this girl gave me her number at yoga and we went out a couple of times. It was kinda awkward. Now her ex, who seems like a really cool chick, is asking me out. Is that weird?"

Nope. Not in Iqaluit! Even if you are Straight, Single and Looking you will eventually end up dating a cousin/brother/best friend/ex-ex lover/brother's adoptive mother's ex/father/best-friend's brother's ex/etc. of someone you have already dated. So for us Gays, it can- and probably will- get even weirder since there are less of us. Think of Alice's Chart from The L Word; I am pretty sure everyone in this town is linked somehow... 

I wonder what the Iqaluit Chart would look like...? No wait, I'd rather not know!

I wonder what the Iqaluit Chart would look like...? No wait, I'd rather not know!

Oh and beware of: Emotional-Experimenting Straight Girls! And their jealous boyfriends.... And no more comments on that.

Back to dating... Instead of waiting impatiently for the next Lesbian/Gay Boy to walk, shell-shocked, off the plane and across the frozen tarmac, you can take matters into your own hands. When Bell 3G service hit Iqaluit airspace in 2014, along came the dating apps! Despite the limited bandwidth, Grindr and Tinder are actively beeping up here. Montreal and Ottawa may be 1550+kms away, but who cares cuz you can find a match or midnight hook-up 3km or less away! 

Grindr, a hook-up App for gay and experimenting men. 

Grindr, a hook-up App for gay and experimenting men. 

My girlfriend would not be too excited if I found a match on Tinder (even for research purposes), but we did scroll through the Tinder-ers together one night...and not-surprisingly, we knew almost all of the faces we swiped by- or at least recognized the photos (kinda hard to tell with all the bedroom eyes and gym selfies). It was like watching the Legion heat-up on Saturday night: right at the drinking stools, where all the Eligible Lesbians and Glam Gays (and then some) liquor up with their blazers on, looking out for a good match- but from the comfort of our own home, in pyjamas.

But wait...if we can see them on Tinder...they can see us too, right?! AHHHH! 

*delete*

Well..is it possible to find true and lasting love in Iqaluit? 

Absolutely! The arctic is the perfect setting for that U-Haul to a perfect fairytale ending you have always dreamed of. You just need to have a sense of humour and accept every situation for what it is: SO RANDOM. 

Why should Gays stay in Iqaluit?

My favourite thing about being Gay in Iqaluit is the adoptive family I have found. There is no such thing as a typical family or social structure in Iqaluit, so it is easier to relax and find people who will accept you, just as you are! 

In Toronto and other urban centres with established Gay communities, it is sometimes hard to fit in: queers can be cruel, especially if you're NOT:
flashy/flamboyant/chill/nonchalant/indie/artsy/gay-enough (whatever that even means!)... In my lifetime, I have witnessed LGBTQ sisters and bros be pushed off dance floors or shoved out of line-ups. And don't get me started on the cat fights that can break out at Lesbian Nites. Come on girls, be nice!

But in Iqaluit, my crew is a loving, mismatched ensemble of supportive, talented individuals from EVERYWHERE and RIGHT HERE, so we are always open to new orphans to joins us: gay-straight-queer-questioning-whatever-whoever-you-are. It takes a special kind of Gay to take the plunge and move North, and an even more fabulous one to stay, or never want to leave. Since going out is expensive, we open our homes up and have Drag PartiesMargaret Cho Marathons, Big Gay Brunches...whatever is cheap, creative and keeps us safe from trouble.

Even the young people at the high school know it's cool to be Out aka Yourself. Positive Space Club, a permanent LGBTQ bulletin board hanging up in the front hallway, and the most popular kids in school are lesbians?! Times have changed since the Stonewall riots of 1969 and my school days in 1999..and for the better! Thank The Goddess. Let's hope it continues this way...

Commemorating the Stonewall Riots, 1969- photo from http://www.glaad.org/

Commemorating the Stonewall Riots, 1969- photo from http://www.glaad.org/

I am not of Inuit heritage, but I do try my best to respect the culture and traditions of this land that I have come to love so much. I know that colonization by those white settlers, not even 100 year ago, brought so many horrors to this territory that the effects are still rippling through communities today. I also learn every day from the strength, determination and humour of the Inuit people who I call my neighbours and teachers. Many are very accepting of who I am, but I understand the reservations of others. I know that acceptance comes with time and trust, so I try my best to be compassionate.

NOTE: White colonizers did NOT bring Gayness to the North- they brought oppression, addiction and stupid ideas. The LGBTQ rights movement has a traumatic, oppressive history too, especially with police brutality and by being forced into invisibility and shame by their own government and society. Let's not let these not-too-distant tragedies happen again...

People are people, all born human..some of us are just gayer than others.

The Northern-most communities in Nunavut do not have cell phone service, flights are infrequent and cost more than a trip around the world, and internet is sketchy at best. It is crucial to reach out to these LGBTQ members and let them know they are our family, too. These communities are tight-knit and truly some of the most breathtaking places on the planet! I am lucky to have visited a few of them and met more than a few gems along the way.

Cambridge Bay, NU just celebrated its second Rainbow Day at Kiilinik High School. Right on! I hope these kind of positive initiatives continue and grow. No one should be discriminated against or feel invisible, no matter what part of the world they happen to be born in. And all people should be celebrated, regardless of who they like to bring home to bed after a fun night dancing at the Legion.

So what are you waiting for...pack your glitter, smart phone, most-colourful parka and HEAD NORTH!!!







Comment