We will be meeting to discuss this book on February 8 & 22, at the home of Linda Palmason, 3022 Westridge Blvd., Peterborough. All are welcome to join us for our usual invigorating discussion
While it was both enlightening and revealing to learn about her earlier life and intricate details of the forced assimilation imposed on Inuit children, the rest of Sheila-Watt Cloutier’s journey in becoming one of the most influential and decorated environmental, cultural, and human rights advocate in the world, is all the more inspiring — and a departure from the cultural genocide narrative that has come to the fore in CanLit.
In the language of the Inuktitut, there are myriad subtle ways in describing the ice, the snow, and the environment that are part and parcel of the Inuit way of life — a life that they have knew for millennia prior to Western colonization yet with the steady drumbeat of industrialization, material culture, and human activity in the Anthropocene, all of this is changing rapidly. The change in climate evokes a change in the way of life, and by extension an erosion of a culture that has been brutalized yet still clings to life.
Sheila-Watt has articulated the case for action against the climate change that native cultures have been seeing for the past generation. Those that live in tandem with and are closest to the land and nature are the proverbial canary in the coal mine; they remind us that the world must act now in order to stave off significant environmental changes years from now.