Saturday, December 2, 2006

Arctic Time Machine

We had snow today. Not lots, but the driving wind sent the flakes howling past horizontally making it an ideal day to work on one of my pet projects. I have hundred's of slide format photographs taken in the 1960's and 1970's of the life I led in Canada's arctic. The project involves slowly scanning them into digital format so I can have a second copy, but also to try and preserve a record of a way of life which no longer exists. When I'm done, I'll burn them onto a CD and send them to the Igloolik Research Station library for all to see.

The man in this picture is Kamanik. The picture was taken in Igloolik just about this time of year. It's noon and light enough to be outside doing things. It's probably about -35°C or so. Not too cold for someone used to it. He's getting his dogs ready to harness to his sled so he can head out to a meat cache we had buried during a hunting trip the previous summer. The meat will serve both dogs and family for a few weeks until he heads out once again. He'll be gone for two or three days depending on the weather. He'd never take me out in the winter as I didn't have a full double suit of caribou skin clothing. Without such a suit of clothes to keep me warm regardless of the weather, I'd just be a burden to him on the trail.

Today, Kamanik still lives in Igloolik. The last time I saw him, he drove a taxi van around town. His dog sled days are gone, probably for good. I tried to get him out in my kayak, but he declined. He has a big 30 foot fishing boat with an inboard diesel engine which serves his purposes far better.

1 comment:

clairesgarden said...

sad that old aways of life are fast dissapearing, but I am sure sometimes it must have been very hard and 'modern' ways are easier to follow.
it does worry me that old suvival skills are not being passed on as the human race may need them in the not too distant future. I love to visit places here that show 'olden times' and 'how we lived' . I wish I could find somebody to teach me how to handle a horse plough.
perhaps you should write a book round your photographs and experiances in the Arctic?