Thursday, December 23, 2010

Inuit Cultural Tidbits

1.  Lifting up eyebrows (opening eyes wide) means "yes"
2.  Scrunching up the nose means "no"
3.  The Inuit grieve the death of a person as a community.  Last year someone committed suicide on October 30th and they cancelled Halloween.  Usually all businesses and stores will shut down until after the funeral - essentially, the community shuts down.  If one was to make a meal for the family, one would do so AFTER the funeral.  I am learning a few things about how the Inuit deal with death because a 3 year old boy was run over and killed by a truck that his father was driving.  If we had been here even a couple of weeks earlier we would have known this family since Nathan would have been in this little boy's preschool class and his older brother is in Kindergarden with Benjamin.  I've been trying to contact Leonie regarding the Christmas Eve service (to see IF there is one).  I imagine she has not been at her store this since she has not returned my call...
4.  The inuit children are so darling and interested.  Every time we go out, the children gravitate toward us and ask us our names (by now most of them remember us - but I've got my work cut out for me trying to remember all their names).  They stand right by us or follow us and stare.  They smile shyly and have meek dispositions.  Yesterday, Hali and I walked over to the grocery store with the kids (now THAT was an experience - see below).  Inside the store I met 3 siblings:  Brandon, Cassidy and Brianna (one of the girls was adopted but I never figured out which one).  Hali was telling me that Inuit children learn to take care of other children at a very young age so that I wouldn't be alarmed by their "fowardness" with my kids.  Well sure enough Brandon became Isaac's little guardian, following him, helping him when he fell in the snow, playing with him and even pulling him in the sled all the way home.  The girls helped with the older kids and one of them pulled the sled containing all the groceries also all the way home.
5.  Inuit people, for the most part, are very friendly.  While at the grocery store an older man missing many teeth scooped Isaac into this arm with a huge warm grin.  Well, those of you who know Isaac can picture the LOOK he gave him.  The man warmly started talking to him and within seconds Isaac was pointing at the cart and telling him something in his jargon.   I wanted to take a picture but wondered what the man would think.  I regret it now because I imagine he would not have cared.
6.  Safety is not the # 1 concern.  They do not wear helmets while on their quads or snowmobiles, they drive fast even with their kids on and even if kids are on the road (or the side of the road) they do not slow down.  This made me nervous yesterday.  There are no sidewalks and the roads are not clearly defined.  We had a bit of trouble figuring out where the safest place to be was.  If there was a child in the way they would drive around instead of stopping and waiting - Yikes!

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