While watching a movie, the snow walker, it amazes me how Inuit can survive in the harshest environment any human can face. During summer, it is quite warm and more "habitable". We can easily catch some fish which is quite easy to do, some games to hunt such as Canada and white goose, caribous and beluga. When comes winter which probably last a good 9 months. i've been living here permanently since 2006 and i am just starting to see how life is for the Inuit in every seasons of the year.
Last year, i started getting more involved into their way of life and living it and seeing it is quite educational and enjoyable. The woman has a certain pattern of task such as sewing and taking care of the food brought by their man, partner of life or the head of the family. This season, they are starting to sew winter outwear. Such as parka, winter pants and mittens. I made my very first winter coat last year and i quite enjoyed the creativity and work involved in it. But also, sewing is a form of socialization among Inuit women and share new ways of sewing or new designs that they came up with or simply share stories from the past. To have made the harsh winter in the past most have taken a lot of work and effort to come up with new warm clothing. To get and kill an animal, gutting it then prepare the skin to make the clothing must have been a good long month of work to get to the final product. Imagine that with a family of 2 or 3 kids or more, 2 parents, traveling place to place, hunting and feeding their family. The kids have to be damn strong to be able to keep up with the parents traveling miles and miles at a time.
Nowadays, there are settled in one place, living still in a village with one and only local store, on some, they have 2 stores, a northern store, if its a good village, a corner store. Live might have gotten easier yet, hard, very hard. The hardship of the past has been replace by a new such as paying the bills, rent, food and other daily needs. Its not easy to find and keep a job up here, you can find one and have a little comfortable life but then comes another negative side with the settlement. Like where i am currently living, there is apparently 75 houses or so for a population of nearly 300, many houses are left crowded. Most of the house are only a 2 or 3 bed rooms, very few are a 5 bed rooms houses. So a family living in a 2 or 3 bed room house has to either share a room or scatter themselves all over the house just to have a place to sleep. Then there is the expensive spending on food, it is incredible to see how expensive things can get here, i usually pay close to 200$ or more for a week end food, i just can't imagine how a family or 3 or 4 kids or even more does to make end meets ends. Thankfully, hunting and fishing is much more than a sport here. I guess with that, a family can make it until next payday. Beluga, arctic char, caribou and seal are very present in the menu of family. It can be preserve in a freezer for quite a long time so i guess they stock most of the hunt they bring for when they would be in need...uh! i guess i just made myself figure how they make it with feeding their family.
In my 12 years of seeing and now close to 6 years of living with Inuit, each and every year, i am amazed to see their way of life and falling more and more in love with the land.