Thursday, September 29, 2011

The music went unplayed

The memory card for my camera seems to have enrolled in a witness protection program or something.  My camera keeps telling me that the card is protected; I just need to ask it a few questions so I can finally crack this case (ha ha).  So for now there will be no pictures posted.  It's like from 2005, when digital cameras were well beyond the means of a guy who spent about 6 years longer in university then he should have.  Wow - I'm listening to Tasmin Archer sing 'Sleeping Satellite' and I can't really understand what I liked about it so much when it first played on the radio.  Oh - there we go - it's the end part that I like (though maybe not as much as I used to).
Okay - enough with the stream of consciousness - I came here for a reason.
Life in Tuk
First up - a potentially heart breaking story.  Every morning I walk by a dog that's tied up beside the shell of a building (the same one I hid my sunglasses in).  The dog has absolutely no shelter from the rain, snow, wind or whatever else  nature might throw at it.  He's always curled up in a tight ball when I walk by in the morning and in the same position when I walk by at night.  It's hard to look in his direction and the weather hasn't dipped much below zero.  Today I noticed that someone had moved an old jacket, or blanket, for him to lay on.  I really hope it's enough.
Next - a lesson in etiquette.  Whenever there's a funeral the local stores close for a few hours.  I guess the Learning Centre does the same thing?
Lastly, a lesson in word choice.  Don't tell students you're going to get harder (with regards to marking as time goes on). The context will be overlooked.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Work so hard

Tomorrow's a little too close for comfort so I'll keep this brief.  Here's a smattering of photos I've taken in Tuk the past couple of weeks:

 I don't think this old log and I are all that different. 

One day, if pizza delivery is ever available up here, I'll be glad I took this picture.

There are enough of these fluffy seeds around for me to mistakenly think it had snowed last night.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Look the other way

It's been three weeks since I left Toronto.  For one one those weeks I was in Inuvik for some professional development training.

One of the evening activities for the staff was a boat trip up the Mackenzie river to Reindeer Station.  Here's the write up I was given by my supervisor:

Reindeer Station was established in 1932 as the headquarters of the Reindeer Project which introduced reindeer farming into northern Canada.

Lack of caribou in the coastal area prompted the Government of Canada to herd 3,442 reindeer from Alaska to provide a supplemental food source for the Inuvialuit.

Led by Sami, or Laplanders, the 1,500 mile "Great Trek," initially expected to take 18 months, stretched into a 5-year journey beset with perils of severe weather, high mountain ranges, supply shortages, wolves and other predators.  In 1935, the surviving herd of 2,382 arrived in Kittigazuit, NT.  The Laplanders stayed to teach the Inuvialuit how to look after the reindeer herd.

During its heyday, Reindeer station had a population of 90-mainly herders and their families.  It was a self-sustaining community with its own post office, generating plant, school, church and Hudson's Bay trading post.  Situated about 30 miles down river from Inuvik on the Mackenzie River's East Channel, it also served as a supply centre for trappers operating in the area.

Due to a short season for vegetation growth, movement of the herd closer to winter range, and introduction of modern herding techniques, employment opportunities diminished and the population of Reindeer Station dropped drastically.

In 1969 Reindeer Station was abandoned.  Building were relocated and residents moved to Tuktoyaktuk or Inuvik.  In 1974, the herd was sold to Canadian Reindeer Ltd.

An old Bombardier - I guess it didn't make the cut for relocation.  Can you spot the rabbit?

Reindeer Station is being currently being re-built by the Inuvialuit council.  My understanding is that it will be something of a wellness camp for the Inuvialuit - a place for people to go to reconnect with the land if they don't have their own bush camp.  There was lots of construction happening when we pulled in off the river.  The camp cook had just made bannock and offered some to us.  Due to the remote nature of the camp there is the threat of bears and the promise of big game - as the 'just laying around' gun indicates.

Reindeer Station now (as of Aug, 2011)

There are blueberries in the area- this isn't one.  I tried eating one of these and it was largely full of big seeds.

Cranberries are plentiful around this time of year - in places other than where we stopped to pick them.