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Letting go of perfect: One Qallunaat teacher’s journey of positionality using narrative inquiry in Nunavik Balfe, William Joseph 2013-01-30

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Full Text

	
  	
   	
  	
  Letting	
  go	
  of	
  perfect:	
  One	
  Qallunaat	
  teacher’s	
  journey	
  of	
  positionality	
  using	
  narrative	
  inquiry	
  in	
  Nunavik	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  by	
  	
  	
  	
  William	
  Joseph	
  Balfe	
  	
  Bachelor	
  of	
  Arts,	
  The	
  University	
  of	
  Toronto,	
  1995	
  Bachelor	
  of	
  Education	
  (Elementary),	
  OISE/	
  The	
  University	
  of	
  Toronto,	
  2006	
  	
  	
  A	
  GRADUATING	
  PAPER	
  SUBMITTED	
  FOR	
  THE	
  DEGREE	
  	
  OF	
  	
  MASTER	
  OF	
  EDUCATION	
  	
  in	
  	
  THE	
  FACULTY	
  OF	
  GRADUATE	
  STUDIES	
  	
  Department	
  of	
  Language	
  and	
  Literary	
  Education	
  University	
  of	
  British	
  Columbia	
  	
  We	
  accept	
  this	
  paper	
  as	
  conforming	
  	
  	
  To	
  the	
  required	
  standard:	
  	
  …………………………………………………………	
  	
  	
  …………………………………………………………	
   	
   1	
   Acknowledgements	
  	
   I’d	
  like	
  to	
  acknowledge	
  the	
  people	
  who	
  helped	
  to	
  make	
  this	
  capstone	
  paper	
  and	
  my	
  Master	
  of	
  Education	
  degree	
  possible.	
  	
  Firstly,	
  I	
  wish	
  to	
  express	
  my	
  particular	
  gratitude	
  to	
  Kangiqsualujjuamiut,	
  for	
  welcoming	
  us	
  into	
  your	
  lives	
  and	
  especially	
  my	
  first	
  teaching	
  assistants	
  and	
  friends	
  Jamie,	
  William,	
  and	
  Minnie	
  who	
  taught	
  me	
  how	
  to	
  teach.	
  	
  To	
  Peter	
  for	
  his	
  strength	
  and	
  versatility	
  in	
  all	
  kinds	
  of	
  worlds.	
  	
  I’d	
  also	
  like	
  to	
  thank	
  the	
  King	
  for	
  each	
  of	
  the	
  walrus’s	
  he	
  carved	
  for	
  me	
  over	
  the	
  years	
  (I’m	
  still	
  waiting	
  for	
  that	
  last	
  one	
  you	
  promised	
  J),	
  and	
  to	
  Elder	
  Tivi	
  Etok	
  for	
  his	
  indelible	
  Spirit,	
  and	
  gentle	
  wisdom.	
  	
  	
  Nakurmiik	
  to	
  Johnny	
  and	
  Annie	
  for	
  your	
  friendship	
  and	
  water.	
  	
  We	
  miss	
  you	
  so	
  much.	
  Thanks	
  to	
  each	
  student	
  of	
  the	
  four	
  classes	
  I	
  taught	
  while	
  living	
  in	
  G.R.	
  	
  Tamu,	
  Aaron,	
  Harriet,	
  Jonas,	
  Sally,	
  Willie,	
  Mark,	
  Napartuk,	
  Randall	
  and	
  everyone	
  I	
  missed.	
  	
  To	
  Chris	
  and	
  Sheila,	
  my	
  partners	
  down	
  and	
  across	
  the	
  hall.	
  	
  Thanks	
  for	
  keeping	
  me	
  laughing.	
  	
  To	
  Pascal	
  my	
  ice	
  climbing	
  buddy.	
  	
  To	
  Jean	
  for	
  his	
  smile	
  and	
  encouraging	
  words.	
  	
  To	
  Guy	
  who	
  saved	
  my	
  toes.	
  And	
  to	
  the	
  Land.	
  	
  	
  	
  I	
  am	
  indebted	
  no	
  less	
  to	
  my	
  professors	
  at	
  UBC	
  who	
  guided	
  me	
  through	
  this	
  new	
  terrain.	
  	
  Each	
  one	
  of	
  you	
  taught	
  me	
  something	
  about	
  myself	
  and	
  about	
  the	
  Indigenous	
  reality	
  in	
  the	
  Academy.	
  	
  	
  Special	
  thanks	
  to	
  Dr.	
  Michael	
  Marker	
  for	
  his	
  support	
  and	
  helping	
  me	
  listen	
  closer	
  to	
  the	
  different	
  tunes	
  in	
  different	
  rooms.	
  	
  Dr.	
  Tracy	
  Friedel	
  for	
  inviting	
  me	
  to	
  explore	
  the	
  complexities	
  of	
  the	
  local	
  here	
  in	
  Vancouver.	
  	
  Dr.	
  George	
  Belliveau	
  for	
  never	
  giving	
  up	
  on	
  me	
  in	
  these	
  last	
  months	
  and	
  my	
  supervisor,	
  Dr.	
  Jan	
  Hare	
  for	
  patiently	
  supporting	
  me	
  from	
  the	
  beginning	
  to	
  the	
  end	
  of	
  my	
  time	
  here	
  at	
  UBC.	
  	
  	
  To	
  my	
  new	
  friends	
  and	
  colleagues	
  Heather,	
  Jeannie	
  and	
  Alana	
  for	
  their	
  joyful	
  hearts,	
  keen	
  minds	
  and	
  love	
  of	
  the	
  North.	
  	
  I	
  wish	
  you	
  all	
  the	
  best.	
  Thanks	
  to	
  my	
  parents	
  Gail	
  and	
  Bill,	
  my	
  sister	
  Noreen	
  and	
  my	
  nephew	
  Alex	
  for	
  being	
  there,	
  always.	
  	
  Finally,	
  I	
  must	
  acknowledge	
  my	
  beloved	
  wife	
  Carrie	
  and	
  our	
  precious	
  sons	
  Jesse	
  and	
  Tommy.	
  	
  If	
  not	
  for	
  you	
  this	
  would	
  all	
  be	
  pointless.	
  	
  Words	
  cannot	
  express	
  how	
  proud	
  I	
  am	
  and	
  grateful	
  of	
  your	
  presence	
  in	
  my	
  life.	
  	
  I	
  love	
  you	
  all.	
  	
  Taima.	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
   	
   2	
   	
   	
   Table	
  of	
  Contents	
  	
  	
   Acknowledgements…………………………………………………………………………………………….1	
   	
   Table	
  of	
  Contents………………………………………………………………………………………………..2	
   	
   List	
  of	
  images……………………………………………………………………………………………………...4	
   	
  Prelude……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………5	
  	
  Motivation	
  for	
  inquiry……………………………………………………………………………………………...6	
  	
  The	
  village……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….7	
  	
   Section	
  1:	
  Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………..9	
  	
   Theoretical	
  and	
  methodological	
  frameworks………………………………………….………9	
  	
  	
   Research	
  question	
  and	
  goals………………………………………………………………….……...10	
  	
   	
  	
   The	
  Academy…………………………………….………………………………………………………….14	
  	
  	
   Situating	
  my	
  story	
  within	
  the	
  literature…………………………………………..…………..…15	
  	
   Section	
  2:	
  The	
  Back	
  Story……………………………………………………………………………………23	
  	
   	
  	
   Why	
  we	
  left	
  the	
  South…………………………………………………………………...……………...23	
  	
   	
  	
   What	
  other	
  people	
  think………………………………………………………………………….……26	
   	
  	
   Aug.	
  9/09	
  journal	
  entry………………………………………………………………………………..28	
  	
  	
   	
   	
   Secton	
  3:	
  Initial	
  Impressions:	
  	
  Place…………………………………………………………………..30	
  	
  	
   What	
  Qallunaat	
  teachers	
  see…………………………………………………………...……………30	
  	
  	
   Oct.	
  7/07	
  journal	
  entry;	
  What	
  I	
  see……………………………………….………………………31	
  	
  	
   Critical	
  reflections	
  of	
  Place…………………………………………………………………..……….33	
  	
  	
   	
   	
   	
   3	
   Section	
  4:	
  	
  Teacher	
  Identity………………………………………………………………………………37	
  	
  	
   	
  Hidden	
  curriculum	
  and	
  the	
  unproblematic	
  role………………………………….………..37	
  	
  	
   Pedagogy	
  of	
  the	
  lukuapik……………………………………………………………………….……41	
  	
  	
   Aug.	
  9/09	
  journal	
  entry……………………………………………………………………………….42	
  	
  	
   Transformation	
  through	
  crisis……………………………………………………………………..43	
  	
  	
   Oct.	
  7/	
  07	
  journal	
  entry……………………………………………………………………………….45	
  	
   Section	
  5:	
  	
  Qallunaat	
  problems………………………………………………………………………….48	
  	
   	
  	
   Isolation,	
  cabin	
  fever	
  and	
  cliques…………………………………………………………….…...48	
  	
  	
   Leaving………………………………………………………………………………………………..….….53	
  	
  	
   June	
  19/11	
  last	
  journal	
  entry……………………………………………………………….….…..54	
  	
   Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………………………………………55	
  	
   References……………………………………………………………………………………………………...…….59	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
   	
   4	
   	
  List	
  of	
  images:	
  Image	
  1.	
  	
  Pencil	
  sketch	
  of	
  Airport……………………………………………………………………..….28	
  Image2.	
  	
  Pen	
  and	
  water	
  colour	
  of	
  the	
  land……………………………………………………...…….32	
  Image3.	
  	
  Water	
  colour	
  of	
  the	
  land…………………………………………………………………….…..34	
  Image4.	
  	
  Water	
  colour	
  of	
  child	
  and	
  land………………………………………………………………..35	
  Image5.	
  	
  Pen	
  and	
  water	
  colour	
  of	
  new	
  homes	
  and	
  hill…………………………………..……….35	
  Image	
  6.	
  	
  Water	
  colour	
  of	
  the	
  river	
  and	
  far	
  shore………………………………………………......35	
  Image	
  7.	
  	
  Oil	
  of	
  Qallunaat	
  teacher	
  house………………………………………………………..………37	
  Image	
  8.	
  	
  Water	
  colour	
  of	
  Inuit	
  home……………………………………………………………….……37	
  Image	
  9.	
  	
  Photo	
  of	
  school………………………………………………………………………………………38	
  Image	
  10.	
  	
  Photo	
  of	
  old	
  burning	
  school……………………………………………………………….....38	
  Image	
  11.	
  	
  Pen	
  and	
  water	
  colour	
  self	
  portrait………………………………………………………...44	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
   	
   5	
   Prelude	
   Jesse was six when we stepped off the Twin Otter onto the gravel landing strip.  Tom was three.  My wife and I were still in our thirties-very young.  There is a picture of us on top of the hill with the village down below and the bay leading out into the George River.  I remember it was our first week there.  We climbed the pathless hill, struggling around and through dense willow bushes and boulders, uneven ground until we got to the top.  We’re all smiling in the photo.  It’s the beginning of our four-year adventure. 	
   Thirty	
  five	
  years	
  ago	
  Robert	
  Paine’s	
  book,	
  The	
  White	
  Arctic	
  announced	
  “it’s	
  the	
  whites	
  [we]	
  should	
  really	
  be	
  studying!”(1977,	
  p.xi)	
  and	
  not	
  the	
  Inuit.	
  	
  Since	
  then	
  much	
  has	
  been	
  written	
  by	
  scholars	
  and	
  teachers,	
  non-­‐Indigenous	
  and	
  Indigenous	
  alike,	
  focusing	
  on	
  Inuit	
  education	
  and	
  the	
  role	
  of	
  non-­‐Indigenous	
  teachers	
  in	
  the	
  North.	
  	
  Educational	
  change	
  and	
  improving	
  Inuit	
  success	
  in	
  schools	
  has	
  been	
  the	
  focus,	
  often	
  with	
  a	
  cultural	
  difference	
  model	
  attached.	
  	
  Aylward	
  (2007)	
  reminds	
  us	
  that,	
  “[i]n	
  some	
  ways,	
  considerations	
  of	
  the	
  cultural	
  relevance	
  of	
  school	
  curricula	
  and	
  programs	
  rely	
  too	
  heavily	
  on	
  theories	
  of	
  cultural	
  difference	
  and	
  not	
  enough	
  on	
  those	
  concerning	
  community	
  and	
  place”	
  (p.5).	
  For	
  the	
  purposes	
  of	
  this	
  capstone	
  paper	
  I	
  will	
  examine	
  themes	
  of	
  Qallunaat	
  [white]	
  teacher	
  identity,	
  privilege	
  and	
  insider/outsider	
  positionality,	
  within	
  the	
  context	
  of	
  place.	
  	
  Northern	
  scholars	
  such	
  as	
  Joanne	
  Tompkins	
  (1998),	
  Helen	
  Harper	
  (2000),	
  Paul	
  Berger	
  and	
  Junita	
  Ross	
  Epp	
  (2007),	
  Caroline	
  Mueller	
  (2006a;	
  2006b),	
  Fuzessy	
  (2003)	
  among	
  others,	
  have	
  all	
  questioned	
  non-­‐Indigenous	
  teacher	
  preparation,	
  and	
  it	
  is	
  a	
  common	
  conversation	
  amongst	
  Northern	
  education	
  staff	
  as	
  well.	
  	
  Suggestions	
  have	
  mainly	
  focused	
  on	
  improving	
  familiarity	
  with	
  culturally	
  based	
  curricula,	
  cross	
  cultural	
  training,	
  English	
  second	
  language	
  (ESL)	
  approaches,	
  and	
  special	
  education.	
  	
  However,	
  the	
  notion	
  of	
  examining	
  one’s	
  own	
  positionality	
  in	
  relation	
  to	
  Indigenous	
  students	
  as	
  a	
  way	
  of	
  reforming	
  teaching	
  and	
  learning	
  has	
  begun	
  with	
  the	
  work	
  of	
  Susan	
  Dion	
  (2007),	
  Teresa	
  Strong-­‐Wilson	
  (2008)	
  and	
  Anie	
  Desautels	
  (2008).	
  	
  	
  	
  	
   	
   6	
   Motivation	
  for	
  inquiry	
  In	
  choosing	
  a	
  focus	
  for	
  my	
  study,	
  I	
  was	
  initially	
  motivated	
  by	
  a	
  concern	
  for	
  social	
  justice,	
  a	
  decolonizing	
  spirit,	
  a	
  desire	
  to	
  give	
  back	
  in	
  some	
  way	
  to	
  the	
  community	
  in	
  which	
  I	
  worked	
  and	
  the	
  larger	
  community	
  of	
  Indigenous	
  education,	
  and	
  in	
  a	
  way	
  that	
  respects	
  notions	
  of	
  Inuit	
  reciprocity.	
  I	
  thought	
  deeply	
  about	
  areas	
  where	
  I	
  could	
  “contribute”.	
  	
  I	
  considered	
  developing	
  a	
  language	
  revitalization	
  project	
  with	
  the	
  village	
  where	
  I	
  lived	
  and	
  taught,	
  centering	
  on	
  recording	
  and	
  publishing	
  local	
  “counter-­‐stories”	
  that	
  could	
  be	
  used	
  in	
  the	
  school.	
  	
  I	
  considered	
  extending	
  my	
  research	
  and	
  going	
  back	
  to	
  the	
  village	
  to	
  undertake	
  this	
  perceived	
  altruistic	
  pursuit.	
  	
  As	
  I	
  read	
  further	
  into	
  decolonizing	
  literature	
  from	
  Indigenous	
  perspectives	
  I	
  came	
  to	
  see	
  my	
  good	
  intentions	
  as	
  reproducing	
  age-­‐old	
  pursuits;	
  research	
  by	
  whites	
  “on”	
  Indigenous	
  people.	
  	
  I	
  came	
  to	
  believe	
  that	
  my	
  desire	
  to	
  help	
  was	
  more	
  complicated	
  and	
  problematic	
  than	
  I	
  had	
  previously	
  thought.	
  	
  Assumptions	
  of	
  perceived	
  deficiencies	
  or	
  gaps	
  combined	
  with	
  unexamined	
  notions	
  of	
  superiority	
  lead	
  me	
  to	
  wonder	
  about	
  the	
  ethnocentric	
  lens	
  through	
  which	
  I	
  was	
  positioning	
  myself.	
  	
  What	
  right	
  did	
  I	
  have	
  to	
  tell	
  someone	
  else’s	
  story?	
  	
  How	
  was	
  my	
  social	
  justice	
  lens	
  obscuring	
  from	
  my	
  view	
  a	
  continued	
  subjugation?	
  	
  	
  As	
  a	
  result	
  I	
  have	
  come	
  to	
  the	
  realization	
  that	
  the	
  best	
  thing	
  I	
  can	
  do	
  for	
   Kangiqsualujjmiut	
  (people	
  of	
  Kangiqsualujjuaq)	
  is	
  tell	
  my	
  own	
  story	
  as	
  a	
  way	
  of	
  educating	
  future	
  teachers	
  who	
  may	
  decide	
  to	
  go	
  North.	
  Just	
  as	
  I	
  decided	
  to	
  teach	
  in	
  the	
  Arctic,	
  many	
  other	
  Qallunaat	
  have	
  and	
  will	
  continue	
  to.	
  Perhaps	
  this	
  story	
  will	
  provide	
  a	
  point	
  of	
  reference	
  to	
  those	
  teachers,	
  who	
  may	
  then	
  in	
  turn	
  begin	
  to	
  understand	
  their	
  own	
  story.	
   	
   	
   7	
   The	
  village	
  The	
  North	
  is	
  a	
  huge	
  place	
  and	
  the	
  villages	
  and	
  towns	
  located	
  there	
  are	
  as	
  varied	
  as	
  the	
  colours	
  of	
  the	
  tundra	
  in	
  fall.	
  There	
  is	
  a	
  history	
  to	
  each	
  that	
  is	
  unique	
  and	
  specific	
  to	
  that	
  place.	
  	
  I	
  do	
  not	
  want	
  to	
  give	
  the	
  impression	
  that	
  my	
  story	
  or	
  the	
  village	
  I	
  describe	
  is	
  representative	
  of	
  all	
  villages	
  across	
  the	
  North.	
  	
  The	
  specifics	
  of	
  this	
  place	
  make	
  it	
  unique,	
  and	
  are	
  worth	
  noting	
  before	
  continuing	
  any	
  further.	
  	
  I	
  lived	
  in	
  a	
  medium	
  sized	
  village	
  of	
  875	
  people,	
  25	
  km	
  from	
  the	
  shores	
  of	
  Ungava	
  Bay	
  on	
  the	
  George	
  River	
  in	
  the	
  Northern	
  Quebec	
  region	
  known	
  as	
  Nunavik.	
  	
  Of	
  these	
  875	
  people	
  in	
  2011,	
  815	
  were	
  Inuit	
  whose	
  mother	
  tongue	
  is	
  Inuktitut.	
  	
  The	
  other	
  sixty	
  people	
  were	
  divided	
  equally	
  among	
  English	
  and	
  French	
  mother	
  tongue	
  speaking	
  Canadians.	
  [Table	
  2012-­‐02-­‐15-­‐4	
  Population	
  Highlights	
  Census	
  Profile	
  2011],	
  found	
  in	
  Nunivaat,	
  www.nunivaat.org,	
  on	
  2013-­‐01-­‐06.	
  	
  The	
  school	
  of	
  approximately	
  250	
  students	
  included	
  both	
  elementary	
  and	
  secondary	
  grades.	
  I	
  taught	
  grade	
  five	
  for	
  my	
  first	
  three	
  years	
  and	
  grades	
  four	
  and	
  five	
  in	
  my	
  fourth	
  year.	
  	
  Students	
  began	
  learning	
  in	
  Inuktitut	
  from	
  Kindergarten	
  to	
  grade	
  two	
  and	
  in	
  grade	
  three	
  began	
  half	
  day	
  learning	
  in	
  either	
  English	
  or	
  French.	
  	
  From	
  grades	
  four	
  to	
  the	
  end	
  of	
  secondary	
  five,	
  students	
  learned	
  in	
  their	
  second	
  language	
  with	
  Inuktitut	
  language	
  and	
  culture	
  classes	
  added	
  on	
  to	
  the	
  curriculum.	
  	
  	
  The	
  school	
  was	
  separated	
  into	
  sectors	
  based	
  upon	
  language	
  learning:	
  nine	
  English	
  elementary	
  and	
  secondary	
  teachers,	
  and	
  approximately	
  the	
  same	
  number	
  of	
  teachers	
  in	
  each	
  of	
  the	
  French	
  and	
  Inuktitut	
  sectors.	
  Stanley	
  Annanack	
  former	
  president	
  of	
  the	
  community	
  council	
  and	
  the	
  great	
  grandfather	
  of	
  a	
  number	
  of	
  my	
  students	
  had	
  this	
  to	
  say	
  in	
  1974	
  about	
  the	
  formation	
  of	
  the	
  village:	
  	
  In	
  1959,	
  the	
  government	
  picked	
  this	
  place	
  to	
  start	
  a	
  lumbering	
  project	
  and	
  a	
  store	
  was	
  built	
  here.	
  Before	
  that,	
  the	
  people	
  lived	
  in	
  camps,	
  mostly	
  up	
  river.	
  	
  After	
  the	
   	
   8	
   federal	
  government	
  built	
  the	
  sawmill,	
  the	
  people	
  started	
  to	
  come	
  here	
  to	
  work	
  for	
  them.	
  	
  The	
  work	
  was	
  very	
  hard	
  and	
  the	
  Inuit	
  worked	
  at	
  it	
  night	
  and	
  day.	
  	
  We	
  were	
  paid	
  ten	
  dollars	
  for	
  every	
  tree	
  we	
  brought	
  to	
  the	
  sawmill.	
  	
  We	
  brought	
  them	
  from	
  85	
  miles	
  away.	
  	
  The	
  sawmill	
  project	
  started	
  in	
  1961	
  and	
  closed	
  down	
  two	
  years	
  ago	
  when	
  the	
  federal	
  government	
  stopped	
  the	
  project	
  and	
  started	
  to	
  bring	
  in	
  the	
  lumber	
  they	
  needed	
  from	
  the	
  south.	
  (Northern	
  Quebec	
  Inuit	
  Association,	
  1974,	
  p.	
  65)	
  Today	
  the	
  sawmill	
  is	
  a	
  distant	
  memory	
  for	
  many	
  in	
  the	
  village	
  and	
  so	
  are	
  a	
  number	
  of	
  other	
  ambitious	
  government	
  start	
  up	
  industry	
  ventures	
  including	
  the	
  char	
  fishery,	
  and	
  caribou	
  abattoir.	
  	
  	
  The	
  school,	
  in	
  its	
  various	
  forms	
  over	
  the	
  years,	
  has	
  been	
  one	
  of	
  the	
  familiar	
  mainstays	
  of	
  the	
  village.	
  	
  However,	
  Inuit	
  attendance	
  at	
  school	
  has	
  not	
  led	
  to	
  tangible	
  improvements	
  in	
  the	
  standard	
  of	
  living	
  for	
  many	
  families.	
  	
  Again,	
  in	
  1974	
  Stanley	
  Annanack	
  commented:	
  “They	
  don’t	
  seem	
  to	
  learn	
  anything	
  of	
  value	
  for	
  the	
  future.	
  	
  There	
  is	
  only	
  one	
  person	
  from	
  here	
  that	
  ever	
  got	
  a	
  job	
  as	
  a	
  result	
  of	
  having	
  an	
  education”	
  (Northern	
  Quebec	
  Inuit	
  Association,	
  p.	
  68).	
  	
  Although	
  Annanack’s	
  comments	
  were	
  made	
  four	
  decades	
  ago	
  and	
  much	
  has	
  changed	
  with	
  education	
  since	
  that	
  time,	
  his	
  comments	
  still	
  resonate	
  with	
  the	
  continued	
  low	
  secondary	
  school	
  graduation	
  rates	
  and	
  chronic	
  unemployment.	
  [Table	
  2007-­‐04-­‐05-­‐84],	
  found	
  in	
  Nunivaat,	
  www.nunivaat.org,	
  on	
  2013-­‐01-­‐06	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   9	
   Section	
  1:	
  Introduction	
   	
   In	
  order	
  to	
  frame	
  the	
  narrative	
  inquiry	
  approach	
  I	
  have	
  taken	
  in	
  the	
  following	
  sections,	
  the	
  introduction	
  includes	
  a	
  brief	
  discussion	
  of	
  my	
  methodological	
  and	
  theoretical	
  frameworks,	
  followed	
  by	
  my	
  research	
  question	
  and	
  goals.	
  I	
  conclude	
  this	
  section	
  by	
  situating	
  my	
  story	
  within	
  relevant	
  literature,	
  which	
  is	
  also	
  explored	
  more	
  deeply	
  throughout	
  the	
  narrative.	
  	
  	
  	
  Theoretical	
  and	
  methodological	
  framework	
  Scholarship	
  by	
  Teresa	
  Strong-­‐Wilson	
  (2007;	
  2008)	
  has	
  helped	
  me	
  conceptualize	
  the	
  tension	
  between	
  narrative	
  inquiry	
  and	
  bringing	
  memory	
  forward.	
  	
  In	
  narrative	
  inquiry,	
  the	
  notion	
  of	
  experience	
  “as	
  a	
  storied	
  phenomenon”	
  (Clandinin,	
  2010,	
  p.82)	
  is	
  both	
  the	
  phenomenon	
  under	
  study	
  and	
  the	
  methodology	
  through	
  which	
  we	
  study,	
  helping	
  to	
  map	
  the	
  multiplicity	
  of	
  experience	
  in	
  a	
  poststructural	
  sense.	
  	
  I	
  understand	
  this	
  to	
  mean,	
  as	
  sociologist	
  Laurel	
  Richardson	
  (2001)	
  points	
  out,	
  “People	
  who	
  write	
  are	
  always	
  writing	
  about	
  their	
  lives,	
  even	
  when	
  they	
  disguise	
  this	
  through	
  the	
  omniscient	
  voice	
  of	
  science	
  or	
  scholarship”	
  (p.	
  34).	
  	
  My	
  autobiographical	
  narrative	
  attempts	
  to	
  “recognize	
  the	
  situational	
  limitations	
  of	
  the	
  knower.	
  	
  It	
  recognizes	
  that	
  [I]	
  have	
  partial,	
  local	
  temporal	
  knowledge-­‐	
  and	
  that	
  is	
  enough”	
  (Richardson,	
  2001,	
  p.	
  35).	
  	
  Linking	
  narrative	
  inquiry	
  to	
  bringing	
  memory	
  forward,	
  Strong-­‐Wilson	
  (2008)	
  turns	
  to	
  Madeleine	
  Grumet’s	
  (1991)	
  term	
  “excavation”	
  to	
  describe	
  how	
  stories	
  become	
  layered	
  in	
  memory,	
  and	
  Barbara	
  Kamler’s	
  (2001)	
  use	
  of	
  “‘relocation’	
  to	
  express	
  the	
  ‘displacement’	
  of	
  the	
  personal	
  into	
  the	
  political”	
  (cited	
  in	
  Strong-­‐Wilson,	
  2007,	
  p.7).	
  	
  Strong-­‐Wilson	
  (2008),	
   	
   10	
   building	
  on	
  Greene’s	
  (1978)	
  thinking,	
  offers	
  an	
  entry	
  into	
  self-­‐study	
  that	
  disrupts	
  familiar	
  “landscapes	
  of	
  learning”	
  (p.2).	
  	
  	
  Strong-­‐Wilson’s	
  methods	
  engage	
  with	
  teacher’s	
  world	
  views	
  through	
  the	
  critical	
  reading	
  of	
  children’s	
  literature;	
  a	
  literature	
  that	
  	
  underpins	
  their	
  storied	
  formation	
  “and	
  thus,	
  in	
  producing	
  colonialism”(Strong-­‐Wilson,	
  2007,	
  p.114).	
  	
  She	
  calls	
  on	
  teachers	
  to	
  excavate	
  their	
  memories	
  around	
  this	
  literature	
  and	
  delve	
  into	
  the	
  foundations	
  of	
  their	
  relationships	
  with	
  Indigenous	
  people	
  as	
  a	
  way	
  of	
  challenging	
  or	
  countering	
  these	
  dominant	
  stories.	
  	
  The	
  methodology	
  in	
  this	
  paper	
  borrows	
  from	
  Strong-­‐Wilson’s	
  memory	
  work,	
  but	
  rather	
  than	
  use	
  literature	
  from	
  my	
  childhood	
  as	
  touch	
  stones,	
  I	
  have	
  used	
  decolonizing	
  and	
  Indigenous	
  literature	
  from	
  my	
  graduate	
  studies	
  alongside	
  personal	
  journal	
  entries	
  and	
  art	
  work	
  created	
  while	
  living	
  in	
  the	
  North,	
  as	
  a	
  way	
  of	
  mapping	
  my	
  landscapes	
  of	
  learning.	
  	
  	
  Research	
  question	
  and	
  goals	
  Strong-­‐Wilson	
  (2008)	
  argues:	
  “The	
  assumption	
  in	
  personal	
  writing	
  is	
  that	
  it	
  emanates	
  from	
  an	
  authentic	
  self	
  rather	
  than	
  from	
  culturally	
  constituted	
  knowledge	
  and	
  practice”	
  (p.20).	
  	
  I	
  resist,	
  but	
  I	
  am	
  also	
  aware	
  of,	
  the	
  impulse	
  to	
  reify	
  my	
  story,	
  to	
  make	
  absolutes,	
  to	
  construct	
  a	
  narrative	
  that	
  is	
  pleasing.	
  	
  In	
  this	
  paper	
  I	
  question	
  why	
  non-­‐Indigenous	
  teachers	
  notice	
  what	
  they	
  notice	
  about	
  the	
  Indigenous	
  communities	
  they	
  are	
  writing	
  about.	
  	
  I	
  question	
  why	
  these	
  same	
  interests	
  resonate	
  or	
  cause	
  resistance	
  with	
  in	
  me.	
  	
  What	
  is	
  missing	
  from	
  our	
  gaze?	
  	
  	
  The	
  White	
  North,	
  Robert	
  Paine’s	
  (1977)	
  book	
  draws	
  attention	
  to	
  this	
  idea	
  of	
  focus.	
  	
  Where	
  should	
  we	
  be	
  looking?	
  Paine	
  points	
  to	
  “the	
  betterment	
  of	
  ethnic	
  relations	
  [as]	
  predicated	
  on	
  whites	
  increasing	
  their	
  understanding	
   	
   11	
   of	
  their	
  own	
  behavior	
  in	
  the	
  north”	
  (1977,	
  p.	
  xii).	
  He	
  critically	
  examines	
  the	
  notion	
  of	
  “tutelage”	
  established	
  by	
  earlier	
  anthropologists	
  and	
  the	
  erroneous	
  view	
  that	
  it	
  is	
  “by	
  being	
  taught	
  by	
  whites	
  that	
  Inuit	
  will	
  gain	
  the	
  new	
  identity	
  they	
  need	
  in	
  the	
  modern	
  world”	
  (Paine,	
  1977,	
  p.	
  xi).	
  	
  Paine	
  (1977)	
  then	
  draws	
  attention	
  to	
  the	
  “deleterious	
  effect	
  this	
  tutelage	
  relationship	
  has	
  on	
  the	
  (white)	
  tutors-­‐	
  as	
  well	
  as	
  on	
  the	
  tutored-­‐	
  and	
  thus	
  on	
  white-­‐Inuit	
  relations”	
  (p.	
  xi).	
  	
  Although	
  Paine	
  is	
  depicting	
  relationships	
  between	
  Inuit	
  and	
  civil	
  servants	
  in	
  general,	
  by	
  extension	
  this	
  view	
  bears	
  relevance	
  to	
  teacher	
  identity,	
  relationships	
  with	
  Inuit,	
  and	
  this	
  paper.	
  	
  I	
  question	
  the	
  tutelage	
  role	
  by	
  examining	
  my	
  own	
  identity.	
  	
  Rather	
  than	
  try	
  to	
  make	
  sense	
  of	
  my	
  experiences	
  in	
  the	
  North	
  by	
  shining	
  a	
  light	
  of	
  inquiry	
  on	
  Inuit,	
  I	
  have	
  taken	
  Michael	
  Marker’s	
  (2003)	
  advice	
  and	
  exchanged	
  my	
  magnifying	
  glass	
  for	
  a	
  mirror.	
  “To	
  really	
  learn,”	
  Marker	
  writes,	
  “about	
  Indigenous	
  communities	
  is	
  to	
  learn	
  about	
  oneself	
  and	
  researchers	
  [teachers	
  included]	
  are	
  not	
  trained	
  for	
  this	
  encounter”	
  (2003,	
  p.	
  368).	
  	
  Graduate	
  school	
  provided	
  me	
  an	
  opportunity	
  to	
  study	
  and	
  reflect	
  on	
  Indigenous	
  scholars’	
  work	
  about	
  the	
  relationship	
  between	
  Indigenous	
  and	
  non-­‐Indigenous	
  people	
  throughout	
  history	
  and	
  more	
  importantly	
  to	
  reflect	
  on	
  the	
  “processes	
  that	
  underlie	
  and	
  shape	
  such	
  events”	
  (Wolf,	
  1999,	
  p.	
  369).	
  	
  	
  This	
  paper’s	
  scope	
  does	
  not	
  aim	
  to	
  delve	
  into	
  the	
  processes	
  that	
  reproduce	
  racism	
  or	
  colonial	
  social	
  reproduction.	
  	
  I	
  am	
  not	
  positioning	
  this	
  paper	
  as	
  a	
  solution	
  to	
  the	
  “White	
  Problem”.	
  	
  I	
  am	
  setting	
  out	
  to	
  show	
  my	
  own	
  excavation	
  of	
  memory	
  and	
  reconsideration	
  of	
  position	
  as	
  a	
  process	
  that	
  occurred	
  through	
  engagement	
  with	
  scholarly	
  research	
  and	
  lived	
  experience.	
  	
  This	
  process	
  has	
  led	
  me	
  to	
  think	
  differently	
  about	
  pedagogies	
  and	
  especially	
  ones	
  that	
  operate	
  at	
  the	
  crossroads	
  of	
  Indigenous	
  and	
  Western	
  theory.	
  	
  	
  I	
  do	
  not	
  position	
  myself	
  as	
  Indigenous	
  or	
  an	
  expert	
  of	
  Indigenous	
   	
   12	
   education.	
  	
  My	
  experiences	
  in	
  the	
  North	
  living	
  with	
  Inuit	
  have	
  shown	
  me	
  another	
  way	
  of	
  being	
  and	
  living,	
  that	
  I	
  believe	
  makes	
  me	
  more	
  human.	
  	
  This	
  change	
  has	
  occurred	
  through	
  engagement	
  with	
  community	
  living	
  and	
  has	
  left	
  me	
  wondering	
  that	
  “[w]ere	
  it	
  not	
  for	
  those	
  many	
  experiences	
  [of	
  teaching	
  in	
  an	
  Indigenous	
  community],	
  would	
  I	
  now	
  still	
  feel	
  wholly	
  like	
  an	
  exile	
  from	
  my	
  own	
  culture?”(Strong-­‐Wilson,	
  2008,	
  p.	
  8).	
  	
  My	
  narrative	
  spans	
  the	
  going	
  and	
  staying	
  and	
  leaving	
  of	
  place:	
  going	
  North,	
  teaching	
  and	
  living	
  there	
  for	
  several	
  years,	
  and	
  then	
  returning	
  south	
  to	
  Vancouver	
  and	
  The	
  University	
  of	
  British	
  Columbia.	
  	
  Here	
  I	
  find	
  myself	
  on	
  the	
  edges	
  of	
  this	
  culture	
  I	
  call	
  my	
  own;	
  this	
  southern	
  world	
  that	
  I	
  left	
  behind	
  in	
  2007.	
  	
  After	
  four	
  years	
  of	
  living	
  in	
  the	
  North	
  I	
  hardly	
  recognize	
  the	
  South	
  for	
  what	
  I	
  thought	
  it	
  was	
  and	
  what	
  I	
  thought	
  I	
  wanted	
  from	
  it.	
  	
  Through	
  narrative	
  inquiry,	
  memory	
  work	
  and	
  personal	
  journal	
  writings	
  and	
  art,	
  I	
  position	
  my	
  story	
  relationally	
  amidst	
  the	
  research	
  and	
  storied	
  formations	
  of	
  other	
  non-­‐Indigenous	
  teachers	
  living	
  and	
  working	
  in	
  Indigenous	
  communities	
  and	
  specifically	
  those	
  with	
  an	
  Arctic	
  setting,	
  as	
  an	
  entry	
  point	
  into	
  my	
  own	
  experience.	
  	
  Through	
  the	
  tensions	
  that	
  arise	
  in	
  this	
  relationality	
  with	
  scholarly	
  text,	
  personal	
  journals,	
  art,	
  and	
  memory	
  excavation,	
  I	
  begin	
  to	
  challenge	
  my	
  own	
  positionality.	
  I	
  seek	
  to	
  shift	
  and	
  relocate	
  my	
  own	
  professional	
  knowledge	
  landscape	
  and	
  in	
  so	
  doing	
  bring	
  the	
  personal	
  into	
  the	
  public	
  for	
  other	
  teachers	
  and	
  ultimately	
  students	
  to	
  benefit	
  from.	
  	
  But	
  like	
  any	
  map	
  there	
  are	
  omissions	
  and	
  additions,	
  which	
  the	
  cartographer	
  chooses	
  to	
  include	
  or	
  exclude,	
  based	
  on	
  his	
  or	
  her	
  own	
  intent.	
  	
  I	
  resist	
  easily	
  applied	
  decolonizing	
  labels	
  that	
  seek	
  to	
  totalize	
  my	
  identity	
  as	
  settler	
  or	
  white	
  or	
  ally.	
  All	
  these	
  labels	
  could	
  be	
  correct	
  in	
  certain	
  moments	
  or	
  relational	
  experiences,	
  but	
  they	
  are	
  also	
  dangerous	
  in	
  reproducing	
  and	
  reciprocating	
  precisely	
  the	
  objectification	
  that	
  colonizers	
  have	
  historically	
  applied	
  and	
   	
   13	
   continue	
  to	
  apply	
  to	
  Indigenous	
  people.	
  	
  Neither	
  is	
  this	
  a	
  celebratory	
  act	
  of	
  race	
  treason	
  whereby	
  I	
  seek	
  to	
  distance	
  myself	
  from	
  the	
  accountability	
  of	
  being	
  white	
  and	
  privileged.	
  	
  If	
  anything	
  it	
  is	
  an	
  effort	
  to	
  break	
  outside	
  “the	
  ideology	
  of	
  domination”	
  which	
  operates	
  by	
  seducing,	
  pressuring,	
  and	
  forcing	
  “people	
  to	
  choose	
  categorical	
  loyalties”	
  (Collins,	
  1990,	
  p.	
  229),	
  thereby	
  ignoring	
  the	
  intersectionality	
  of	
  relations	
  of	
  power	
  and	
  of	
  both	
  presence	
  and	
  absence	
  in	
  my	
  own	
  practices	
  (Moon	
  &	
  Flores,	
  2009,	
  p.111).	
  As	
  Strong-­‐Wilson	
  reminds	
  us	
  of	
  Grumet’s	
  (1991)	
  work	
  “...	
  we	
  look	
  elsewhere,	
  anywhere,	
  for	
  our	
  sources,	
  our	
  reasons	
  and	
  motives,	
  we	
  perpetuate	
  and	
  exaggerate	
  our	
  exile”	
  (cited	
  in	
  Strong-­‐Wilson,	
  2008,	
  p.	
  51).	
  	
  In	
  this	
  spirit	
  I	
  return	
  my	
  gaze	
  back	
  upon	
  myself	
  to	
  understand	
  experience:	
  my	
  reasons	
  and	
  motives	
  for	
  going,	
  staying	
  and	
  leaving	
  the	
  North.	
  	
  I	
  have	
  purposely	
  chosen	
  not	
  to	
  try	
  and	
  explain	
  Inuit	
  or	
  my	
  personal	
  relationships	
  with	
  Inuit	
  –	
  not	
  because	
  I	
  want	
  to	
  illicit	
  a	
  “perfect	
  stranger”	
  (Dion,	
  2007)	
  identity	
  but	
  precisely	
  because	
  I	
  am	
  not	
  a	
  perfect	
  stranger.	
  	
  	
  Through	
  my	
  experiences	
  living	
  in	
  the	
  North	
  I	
  have	
  come	
  to	
  know	
  and	
  develop	
  close	
  personal	
  relationships	
  with	
  Inuit.	
  	
  To	
  speak	
  of	
  these	
  people	
  as	
  if	
  they	
  were	
  subjects	
  or	
  to	
  reveal	
  our	
  relationships	
  publicly	
  feels	
  like	
  an	
  invasion	
  of	
  privacy.	
  	
  I	
  do	
  not	
  want	
  to	
  perpetuate	
  and	
  reproduce	
  what	
  white	
  men	
  like	
  me	
  have	
  been	
  doing	
  for	
  generations;	
  explaining	
  the	
  Other.	
  	
  As	
  Linda	
  Tuhiwai	
  Smith	
  has	
  pointed	
  out	
  nearly	
  a	
  decade	
  and	
  a	
  half	
  ago,	
  “Objectification	
  is	
  a	
  process	
  of	
  dehumanization”	
  (p.39).	
  	
  Some	
  may	
  consider	
  speaking	
  of	
  or	
  for	
  “Others”	
  as	
  an	
  advocacy	
  role	
  embedded	
  in	
  a	
  discourse	
  of	
  collaborative	
  methodologies.	
  However,	
  following	
  Marker,	
  I	
  consider	
  it	
  ultimately	
  a	
  betrayal	
  of	
  trust	
  and	
  exploitation	
  to	
  use	
  my	
  personal	
  experiences	
  in	
  this	
  way	
  (Marker,	
  2003).	
  I	
  do	
  not	
  see	
  the	
  teaching	
  assistant	
  or	
  water	
  truck	
  driver	
  or	
  cashier	
  as	
  the	
  “Other”.	
  	
  They	
  are	
  Jamie,	
  Johnny	
  and	
  Rita.	
  	
  They	
  are	
  human	
   	
   14	
   beings	
  with	
  names	
  and	
  families	
  who	
  I	
  consider	
  as	
  friends.	
  	
  They	
  are	
  people	
  who	
  do	
  not	
  deserve	
  to	
  be	
  put	
  on	
  display	
  for	
  my	
  academic	
  pursuits.	
  It	
  does	
  not	
  feel	
  right	
  to	
  try	
  and	
  explain	
  someone	
  else,	
  or	
  make	
  specific	
  or	
  general	
  assertions	
  about	
  a	
  group	
  of	
  people	
  based	
  on	
  these	
  relationships.	
  	
  	
  	
  The	
  Academy	
  My	
  studies	
  at	
  The	
  University	
  of	
  British	
  Columbia	
  have	
  been	
  a	
  decolonizing	
  experience	
  for	
  me.	
  	
  Readings	
  and	
  course	
  work	
  by	
  Indigenous	
  scholars	
  and	
  decolonizing	
  scholars	
  have	
  influenced	
  my	
  understanding,	
  and	
  have	
  given	
  form	
  to	
  the	
  unspoken,	
  yet	
  embodied	
  experiences	
  of	
  life	
  in	
  an	
  Inuit	
  village.	
  	
  In	
  the	
  academy	
  I	
  began	
  to	
  learn	
  a	
  new	
  language	
  in	
  which	
  to	
  articulate	
  my	
  experiences.	
  	
  Over	
  time	
  as	
  I	
  navigated	
  this	
  ivory	
  tower,	
  these	
  new	
  rooms,	
  I	
  found	
  myself	
  becoming	
  further	
  removed	
  from	
  both	
  the	
  geographic	
  place	
  and	
  my	
  Northern	
  identity;	
  an	
  identity	
  that	
  is	
  shaped	
  by	
  both	
  local	
  relationships	
  and	
  connection	
  to	
  place.	
  	
  It	
  is	
  multitudinous	
  and	
  ever	
  changing.	
  	
  I	
  am	
  a	
  male	
  Qallunaat.	
  I	
  am	
  Anglophone.	
  I	
  am	
  a	
  teacher.	
  	
  My	
  experiences	
  of	
  remembering,	
  in	
  short,	
  have	
  become	
  layered.	
  	
  I	
  have	
  had	
  to	
  use	
  theory	
  and	
  the	
  language	
  of	
  the	
  academy	
  to	
  interpret	
  my	
  experience,	
  and	
  then,	
  ironically,	
  in	
  recent	
  months	
  I	
  had	
  to	
  distance	
  myself	
  from	
  this	
  theory	
  in	
  order	
  to	
  excavate	
  my	
  northern	
  memories.	
  	
  I	
  found	
  that	
  I	
  could	
  not	
  remember	
  what	
  I	
  thought	
  before	
  the	
  decolonization.	
  	
  My	
  interpretations	
  were	
  influenced	
  by	
  what	
  I	
  had	
  learned	
  in	
  the	
  Academy.	
  	
  I	
  wanted	
  to	
  excavate	
  these	
  memories	
  as	
  if	
  memories	
  could	
  be	
  so	
  easily	
  extracted	
  in	
  time,	
  and	
  kept	
  pure.	
  	
  I	
  have	
  tried	
  to	
  present	
  my	
  views	
  using	
  my	
  journal	
  and	
  art	
  work	
  taken	
  at	
  the	
  time	
  as	
  a	
  way	
  of	
  looking	
  at	
  the	
  unmediated	
  impressions	
  I	
  had.	
  	
  My	
  use	
  of	
  a	
  dialogic	
  and	
  vernacular	
  language,	
  as	
  well	
  as	
   	
   15	
   images,	
  is	
  a	
  consciously	
  rhetorical	
  effort	
  to	
  bridge	
  the	
  concreteness	
  of	
  experience	
  with	
  theory.	
  	
  	
  The	
  relocation	
  and	
  shifting	
  of	
  my	
  thinking	
  and	
  identity	
  continues,	
  as	
  does	
  my	
  landscape	
  of	
  learning.	
  	
  This	
  paper	
  is	
  far	
  from	
  an	
  arrived	
  location,	
  but	
  rather	
  is	
  part	
  of	
  an	
  ongoing	
  journey.	
  	
  	
  	
  Situating	
  my	
  story	
  within	
  the	
  literature	
  	
  Much	
  of	
  the	
  Canadian	
  literature	
  by	
  non-­‐Indigenous	
  teachers	
  and	
  scholars	
  (Aylward,	
  2007;	
  Berger,	
  2007;	
  Harper,	
  2000;	
  McGregor,	
  2010;	
  Mueller,	
  2006;	
  Taylor,	
  1995;	
  Tompkins,	
  1999;	
  Vick-­‐Westgate,	
  2002)	
  suggest	
  more	
  pre-­‐and	
  in-­‐service	
  education	
  in	
  ESL	
  and	
  cultural	
  based	
  curriculum	
  and	
  pedagogy	
  to	
  prepare	
  non-­‐Indigenous	
  teachers	
  for	
  remote	
  Indigenous	
  communities	
  in	
  the	
  North.	
  	
  For	
  example	
  Mueller	
  (2006a),	
  who	
  taught	
  in	
  Nunavik	
  for	
  two	
  years	
  (1995-­‐97),	
  returned	
  in	
  2002-­‐03	
  to	
  collaborate	
  with	
  the	
  Kativik	
  School	
  Board	
  on	
  an	
  action	
  research	
  narrative	
  inquiry	
  project.	
  They	
  explored	
  the	
  perceptions	
  of	
  eight	
  Qallunaat	
  teachers,	
  new	
  to	
  the	
  North.	
  	
  Mueller	
  writes	
  in	
  her	
  dissertation	
  of	
  her	
  motivations	
  for	
  carrying	
  out	
  the	
  research,	
  “As	
  a	
  former	
  Qallunaat	
  teacher	
  and	
  presently	
  a	
  researcher,	
  I	
  traveled	
  to	
  the	
  North	
  to	
  seek	
  conversations	
  with	
  people	
  like	
  me	
  who	
  struggled	
  with	
  issues	
  like	
  I	
  did	
  in	
  my	
  first	
  two	
  years	
  of	
  teaching	
  in	
  Nunavik”	
  (2006a,	
  p.	
  29).	
  	
  Mueller	
  found	
  the	
  participant-­‐teachers	
  echo	
  her	
  own	
  experience	
  of	
  “social	
  distancing”	
  with	
  the	
  Inuit	
  community.	
  She	
  presents	
  four	
  pages	
  of	
  suggestions	
  addressing	
  ways	
  of	
  assisting	
  these	
  teachers	
  and	
  helping	
  them	
  build	
  “cross-­‐cultural	
  relationships	
  with	
  Inuit	
  community	
  members”	
  (Mueller,	
  2006a,	
  p.361).	
  Mueller’s	
  central	
  recommendation	
  resonates	
  with	
  Harper’s	
  (2000)	
  qualitative	
  study	
  of	
  10	
  female	
  teachers	
  working	
  in	
  two	
  Northern	
  Ontario	
  First	
  Nations	
  communities.	
  Harper	
  (2000)	
   	
   16	
   calls	
  for	
  better	
  preparation	
  in	
  faculties	
  of	
  education	
  for	
  cross-­‐cultural	
  and	
  multicultural	
  teaching.	
  	
  Paul	
  Berger,	
  who	
  taught	
  grade	
  seven	
  in	
  the	
  Qikiqtani	
  region	
  of	
  Nunavut	
  and	
  completed	
  his	
  dissertation	
  entitled,	
  Inuit	
  Visions	
  for	
  Schooling	
  In	
  One	
  Nunavut	
  Community	
  (2008),	
  echoes	
  this	
  call	
  for	
  preparing	
  non-­‐Indigenous	
  teachers	
  with	
  cross	
  cultural	
  education,	
  but	
  he	
  does	
  not	
  suggest	
  it	
  as	
  a	
  cure-­‐all.	
  	
  He	
  writes,	
  “[w]hile	
  an	
  orientation	
  and	
  frequent	
  in	
  servicing	
  would	
  not	
  ensure	
  that	
  Qallunaat	
  teachers	
  could	
  respond	
  appropriately	
  to	
  Inuit	
  students,	
  without	
  them	
  misunderstanding	
  and	
  frustrations	
  are	
  bound	
  to	
  occur,	
  learning	
  will	
  suffer,	
  and	
  the	
  goal	
  of	
  moving	
  toward	
  culturally	
  relevant	
  schooling	
  will	
  remain	
  elusive”	
  (Berger,	
  2007,	
  p.52).	
  	
  Berger	
  departs	
  from	
  the	
  studies	
  by	
  Mueller	
  (2006a,	
  2006b)	
  and	
  Harper	
  (2000)	
  by	
  calling	
  for	
  more	
  Inuit	
  teachers	
  and	
  a	
  move	
  away	
  from	
  Qallunaat	
  aims	
  and	
  values	
  in	
  the	
  education	
  system.	
  	
  He	
  writes,	
  “Qallunaat	
  teachers	
  calls	
  for	
  help	
  and	
  change	
  are	
  symptomatic	
  of	
  problems	
  that	
  run	
  much	
  deeper	
  than	
  inadequate	
  training	
  and	
  resources	
  (Berger,	
  Epp,	
  &	
  Moeller,	
  2006).	
  	
  Help	
  for	
  Qallunaat	
  teachers	
  should	
  not	
  replace	
  efforts	
  to	
  move	
  from	
  Qallunaat	
  to	
  Inuit	
  schools	
  for	
  Nunavut”	
  (Berger,	
  2007,	
  p.45).	
  	
  Berger	
  also	
  acknowledges	
  Nordhoff	
  &	
  Kleinfeld	
  (1993)	
  observations	
  of	
  another	
  possible	
  avenue	
  worth	
  exploring:	
  	
  Although	
  it	
  is	
  not	
  possible	
  to	
  teach	
  students	
  about	
  teaching	
  every	
  culture	
  group	
  they	
  might	
  encounter,	
  teaching	
  about	
  how	
  to	
  learn	
  while	
  on	
  the	
  job	
  through	
  reflection	
  and	
  helping	
  teacher-­‐candidates	
  to	
  explore	
  their	
  own	
  prejudice	
  will	
  help	
  prepare	
  them	
  to	
  teach	
  across	
  cultures.	
  (Berger,	
  2007,	
  p.52)	
  	
  	
   	
   17	
   Tompkins	
  (1998),	
  in	
  her	
  work	
  about	
  being	
  a	
  principal	
  in	
  a	
  Baffin	
  Island	
  community	
  similarly	
  draws	
  attention	
  in	
  her	
  own	
  work	
  to	
  this	
  need	
  to	
  explore	
  one’s	
  own	
  prejudices,	
  however	
  she	
  stops	
  short	
  of	
  focusing	
  on	
  it	
  in	
  her	
  own	
  story.	
  	
  	
  Susan	
  Dion	
  (2007),	
  in	
  contrast,	
  has	
  taken	
  up	
  the	
  call	
  for	
  teachers	
  to	
  examine	
  their	
  own	
  positionality.	
  	
  She	
  offers	
  a	
  method	
  in	
  which	
  non-­‐Indigenous	
  teachers	
  create	
  a	
  ‘file	
  of	
  uncertainty’,	
  containing	
  multi-­‐media	
  artifacts	
  from	
  a	
  teacher’s	
  past	
  as	
  well	
  as	
  from	
  dominant	
  discourses	
  in	
  society.	
  These	
  artifacts	
  are	
  juxtaposed	
  with	
  Indigenous	
  ones,	
  as	
  a	
  means	
  of	
  establishing	
  a	
  teacher’s	
  positionality	
  with	
  Indigenous	
  people,	
  and	
  thwarting	
  the	
  colonial	
  ‘perfect	
  stranger’	
  identity.	
  	
  The	
  perfect	
  stranger	
  identity	
  is	
  one	
  that	
  many	
  non-­‐Indigenous	
  people,	
  and	
  teachers	
  included,	
  project	
  when	
  asked	
  about	
  their	
  understanding	
  or	
  relationship	
  with	
  Indigenous	
  people.	
  	
  Most	
  proclaim	
  they	
  do	
  not	
  have	
  a	
  relationship	
  and	
  that	
  they	
  do	
  not	
  know	
  about	
  Indigenous	
  people,	
  and	
  so	
  they	
  refrain	
  from	
  taking	
  up	
  or	
  disrupting	
  what	
  Dion	
  calls	
  “their	
  implication	
  in	
  reproducing	
  dominant	
  discourses”	
  (2007,	
  p.330).	
  	
  They	
  have	
  in	
  effect	
  distanced	
  themselves	
  from	
  any	
  responsibility	
  they	
  have	
  in	
  the	
  history	
  and	
  continued	
  history	
  of	
  Indigenous	
  and	
  non-­‐Indigenous	
  relations,	
  and	
  so	
  have	
  assumed	
  the	
  identity	
  of	
  a	
  perfect	
  stranger.	
  	
  The	
  idea	
  of	
  disrupting	
  formative	
  images	
  and	
  constructions	
  of	
  the	
  “Other”	
  as	
  a	
  way	
  of	
  circumventing	
  racist	
  and	
  deeply	
  help	
  prejudices	
  is	
  at	
  the	
  core	
  of	
  Dion’s	
  work.	
  	
  	
  	
  Strong-­‐Wilson	
  (2008)	
  shares	
  in	
  this	
  disrupting	
  of	
  one’s	
  “perceptual	
  horizon”	
  as	
  Alcoff	
  (2006)	
  has	
  called	
  it,	
  by	
  taking	
  a	
  slightly	
  different	
  approach.	
  	
  In	
  simplified	
  terms	
  her	
  method	
  focuses	
  on	
  examining	
  children’s	
  literature	
  and	
  stories	
  teachers	
  have	
  grown	
  up	
  with,	
  stories	
  that	
  have	
  subsequently	
  become	
  embedded	
  subconsciously	
  in	
  their	
  views	
  of	
  the	
  world,	
  and	
  ultimately	
  their	
  practice.	
  	
  The	
  memories	
  around	
  these	
  touchstone	
  stories	
   	
   18	
   are	
  excavated	
  and	
  then	
  examined	
  in	
  small	
  groups,	
  and	
  later	
  one	
  on	
  one	
  with	
  the	
  instructor,	
  to	
  uncover	
  why	
  these	
  stories	
  were	
  so	
  dear	
  to	
  the	
  teachers.	
  	
  The	
  second	
  part	
  of	
  the	
  method	
  involves	
  reading	
  “counter	
  stories,”	
  which	
  are	
  stories	
  written	
  by	
  Indigenous	
  authors	
  which	
  tell	
  a	
  different	
  story	
  on	
  the	
  same	
  topic	
  as	
  the	
  teacher’s	
  touch	
  stone	
  stories.	
  	
  The	
  reading	
  of	
  this	
  second	
  text	
  troubles	
  the	
  assumptions	
  and	
  memories	
  around	
  the	
  first	
  and	
  causes	
  reflection,	
  which	
  leads	
  to	
  a	
  replacement	
  of	
  these	
  deeply	
  held	
  touch	
  stones	
  with	
  new	
  ones.	
  	
  Through	
  excavation	
  of	
  memories	
  and	
  troubling	
  beliefs	
  about	
  relationships	
  between	
  non-­‐Indigenous	
  and	
  Indigenous	
  people	
  teachers	
  relocate	
  to	
  a	
  new	
  place	
  in	
  their	
  understanding	
  and	
  out	
  look	
  towards	
  Indigenous	
  and	
  non-­‐Indigenous	
  relations.	
  	
  Like	
  Dion,	
  Strong-­‐Wilson	
  (2008)	
  suggests	
  beginning	
  with	
  what	
  she	
  calls	
  “white	
  teacher	
  resistance”:	
  White	
  teachers,	
  research	
  tells	
  us,	
  are	
  among	
  the	
  most	
  recalcitrant	
  of	
  learners	
  when	
  it	
  comes	
  to	
  challenging	
  their	
  own	
  memories	
  and	
  experiences	
  of	
  privilege	
  and	
  race	
  (Cochran-­‐Smith,	
  2000;	
  Roman,	
  1993;	
  Rosenberg,	
  1997;	
  Sleeter	
  &	
  Grant,	
  1987),	
  so	
  much	
  so	
  that	
  the	
  term,	
  ‘white	
  teacher,’	
  has	
  become	
  synonymous	
  with	
  resistance.	
  (p.2)	
  	
  	
  Strong-­‐Wilson	
  (2008)	
  sees	
  the	
  problem	
  as	
  less	
  in	
  terms	
  of	
  a	
  lack	
  of	
  knowledge,	
  as	
  with	
  resistances	
  to	
  knowledge.	
  	
  In	
  other	
  words,	
  it	
  is	
  not	
  what	
  the	
  white	
  teacher	
  doesn’t	
  know	
  about	
  Inuit	
  but	
  what	
  he	
  knows	
  that	
  just	
  isn’t	
  so	
  that	
  is	
  the	
  problem.	
  	
  Being	
  self-­‐reflexive	
  is	
  not	
  about	
  coming	
  to	
  terms	
  with	
  a	
  latent	
  or	
  submerged	
  racist	
  self	
  that	
  lurks	
  within,	
  although	
  some	
  may	
  say	
  that	
  is	
  also	
  an	
  important	
  consideration:	
  	
  “Why?	
  Because	
  these	
  repressed	
  feelings	
  “leak.”	
  They	
  subtly	
  make	
  their	
  presence	
  known	
  nonverbally”(Hall,	
  1977,	
  p.365).	
  Rather	
  the	
  goal	
  of	
  self	
  reflexivity	
  is	
  to	
  question	
  one’s	
   	
   19	
   privileges	
  and	
  practices	
  in	
  relationship	
  to	
  one’s	
  students	
  in	
  a	
  specific	
  place	
  at	
  a	
  specific	
  time.	
  	
  It	
  is	
  to	
  challenge	
  the	
  assumption	
  that	
  how	
  I	
  taught	
  last	
  year	
  at	
  this	
  school	
  will	
  transfer	
  to	
  how	
  I	
  will	
  teach	
  this	
  year	
  at	
  this	
  new	
  school	
  –	
  regardless	
  of	
  who	
  the	
  students	
  are.	
  	
  In	
  terms	
  of	
  teaching	
  in	
  an	
  Indigenous	
  community,	
  it	
  means	
  continuously	
  unpacking	
  the	
  unexamined	
  assumptions	
  about	
  one’s	
  ethnicity,	
  sex,	
  age,	
  economic	
  status	
  privilege	
  and	
  role	
  as	
  teacher	
  in	
  relationship	
  with	
  a	
  community.	
  White	
  teachers,	
  Qallunaat	
  as	
  they	
  are	
  called,	
  in	
  the	
  North	
  have	
  a	
  less	
  than	
  stellar	
  image.	
  	
  The	
  Inuit	
  experience	
  with	
  Qallunaat	
  past	
  and	
  present	
  has	
  been	
  one	
  of	
  hegemony,	
  assimilation	
  and	
  as	
  Marie	
  Battiste	
  (2000)	
  has	
  expressed	
  in	
  her	
  work,	
  “cognitive	
  imperialism.”	
  	
  These	
  themes	
  emerge	
  in	
  two	
  superbly	
  researched	
  books	
  on	
  Inuit	
  education	
  in	
  the	
  eastern	
  Arctic:	
  Heather	
  McGregor’s	
  (2010),	
  Inuit	
  Education	
  and	
  Schools	
   in	
  the	
  Eastern	
  Arctic,	
  for	
  Nunavut,	
  and	
  Ann	
  Vick-­‐Westgate’s	
  (2002),	
  Nunavik:	
  Inuit	
   controlled	
  Education	
  in	
  Arctic	
  Quebec,	
  for	
  Nunavik.	
  	
  	
  McGregor	
  (2010)	
  traces	
  the	
  path	
  of	
  Inuit	
  education	
  in	
  the	
  twentieth	
  century	
  beginning	
  with	
  traditional	
  education	
  and	
  progressing	
  through	
  the	
  various	
  stages	
  of	
  colonial,	
  territorial,	
  and	
  local	
  school	
  periods,	
  culminating	
  in	
  the	
  present	
  with	
  the	
  creation	
  of	
  Nunavut	
  and	
  a	
  return	
  to	
  Inuit	
  Qaujimajatuqangit	
  or	
  traditional	
  knowledge	
  as	
  the	
  foundation	
  for	
  education.	
  	
  McGregor	
  gives	
  readers	
  a	
  background	
  on	
  the	
  complexity	
  of	
  the	
  history	
  of	
  Inuit	
  education	
  in	
  this	
  region	
  of	
  the	
  Arctic,	
  including	
  Qallunaat	
  involvement,	
  and	
  touches	
  on	
  what	
  still	
  needs	
  to	
  be	
  accomplished.	
  	
  Ann	
  Vick-­‐Westgate	
  (2002)	
  does	
  a	
  similar	
  filling	
  in	
  of	
  the	
  void	
  for	
  those	
  who	
  may	
  want	
  to	
  know	
  about	
  the	
  history	
  of	
  education	
  in	
  Nunavik.	
  	
  The	
  two	
  histories	
  show	
  similarities	
  and	
  yet	
  diverge	
  significantly	
  as	
  Nunavik	
  achieved	
  an	
  earlier	
  autonomy	
  in	
  regard	
  to	
  Inuit	
  control	
  of	
  education	
  with	
  the	
   	
   20	
   signing	
  of	
  the	
  James	
  Bay	
  Northern	
  Quebec	
  Agreement	
  in	
  the	
  late	
  1970’s.	
  	
  Vick-­‐Westgate	
  dedicates	
  the	
  second	
  half	
  of	
  her	
  book	
  to	
  explore	
  the	
  negotiations	
  and	
  tensions	
  between	
  local	
  Inuit	
  communities	
  and	
  the	
  Kativik	
  School	
  Board’s	
  control	
  of	
  education	
  in	
  Nunavik	
  throughout	
  the	
  eighties	
  and	
  nineties.	
  	
  Both	
  books	
  speak	
  to	
  each	
  region’s	
  history	
  and	
  ultimately	
  contribute	
  to	
  giving	
  teachers,	
  “a	
  sense	
  of	
  the	
  larger	
  picture	
  and	
  processes	
  from	
  which	
  to	
  frame	
  a	
  sense	
  of	
  themselves	
  and	
  their	
  work”	
  (Harper,	
  2000,	
  p.147).	
  	
  	
  	
  Professionally,	
  white	
  teachers	
  (and	
  I	
  include	
  myself	
  in	
  this	
  statement),	
  are	
  described	
  in	
  much	
  of	
  the	
  literature	
  as	
  inexperienced	
  and	
  opportunistic,	
  and	
  that	
  we	
  are	
  only	
  there	
  for	
  the	
  money	
  and	
  to	
  pad	
  our	
  resume.	
  	
  John	
  Taylor	
  (1995)	
  writes,	
  “[m]any,	
  perhaps	
  most,	
  non-­‐Native	
  teachers	
  accept	
  teaching	
  positions	
  on	
  reserves	
  with	
  the	
  intention	
  of	
  completing	
  a	
  couple	
  of	
  years	
  before	
  landing	
  a	
  job	
  they	
  really	
  want”	
  (p.225).	
  	
  In	
  the	
  South	
  goals	
  like	
  getting	
  to	
  know	
  the	
  family	
  of	
  your	
  students	
  may	
  be	
  considered	
  theoretical	
  or	
  utopian	
  at	
  best,	
  but	
  in	
  Indigenous	
  settings	
  they	
  are	
  considered	
  vital	
  to	
  success.	
  	
  Taylor	
  (1995)	
  speaks	
  to	
  the	
  confusion	
  of	
  roles	
  that	
  teachers	
  have	
  when	
  they	
  enter	
  Indigenous	
  communities:	
  	
  For	
  three	
  years	
  this	
  teacher	
  gave	
  excellent	
  instruction	
  to	
  her	
  students.	
  She	
  worked	
  tirelessly,	
  regularly	
  working	
  from	
  six	
  a.m	
  to	
  six	
  p.m.	
  and	
  half-­‐days	
  on	
  Saturdays	
  and	
  Sundays.	
  While	
  she	
  found	
  the	
  students	
  difficult	
  to	
  teach,	
  her	
  dedication	
  to	
  their	
  learning	
  was	
  questioned	
  by	
  none…She	
  did	
  not	
  interact	
  with	
  the	
  community	
  and	
  only	
  visited	
  one	
  or	
  two	
  other	
  non-­‐Native	
  teachers	
  occasionally.	
  	
  She	
  completely	
  isolated	
  herself	
  from	
  the	
  community,	
  even	
  though	
  it	
  was	
  very	
  active	
  socially.	
  	
  The	
  reason	
  for	
  her	
  seclusion	
  was	
  risk	
  avoidance.	
  (p.225)	
  	
   	
   21	
   	
  	
  When	
  I	
  first	
  arrived	
  in	
  the	
  village	
  I	
  knew	
  I	
  was	
  going	
  to	
  be	
  working	
  with	
  second	
  language	
  students,	
  but	
  I	
  was	
  unprepared	
  for	
  the	
  number	
  of	
  students	
  with	
  learning	
  and	
  behavioural	
  exceptionalities.	
  	
  I	
  did	
  not	
  see	
  my	
  role	
  as	
  a	
  special	
  needs	
  teacher.	
  	
  	
  I	
  can	
  empathize	
  with	
  this	
  teacher’s	
  comment:	
  	
  “As	
  a	
  teacher,	
  I	
  see	
  myself	
  standing	
  in	
  front	
  of	
  a	
  classroom	
  talking	
  to	
  25	
  or	
  30	
  kids	
  and	
  allowing	
  them	
  to	
  learn	
  as	
  a	
  group	
  and	
  as	
  individuals.	
  	
  And	
  here	
  I	
  don’t	
  do	
  that.	
  	
  I	
  feel	
  more	
  like	
  a	
  tutor	
  or	
  a	
  resource	
  person,	
  which	
  is	
  exactly	
  what	
  I	
  am”	
  (quoted	
  in	
  Harper,	
  2000,	
  p.152).	
  	
  In	
  the	
  South	
  and	
  increasingly	
  in	
  the	
  North	
  teachers	
  are	
  positioned	
  as,	
  “technically	
  orientated”	
  as	
  Wotherspoon	
  (2006)	
  describes:	
  	
  general	
  tendencies	
  toward	
  intensification	
  and	
  restructuring	
  of	
  teachers	
  work	
  as	
  education	
  systems	
  are	
  repositioned	
  amid	
  processes	
  of	
  economic	
  liberalization	
  and	
  globalization.	
  Teaching	
  is	
  being	
  reshaped	
  in	
  conjunction	
  with	
  emerging	
  public	
  expectations	
  of	
  regimes	
  of	
  control,	
  even	
  if	
  the	
  exact	
  form	
  and	
  impact	
  of	
  change	
  remain	
  indeterminate.	
  (p.693)	
  	
  However,	
  in	
  the	
  North	
  your	
  relationship	
  with	
  your	
  students	
  and	
  their	
  families	
  extends	
  beyond	
  the	
  classroom.	
  	
  You	
  see	
  one	
  another	
  on	
  the	
  roads	
  in	
  the	
  village,	
  at	
  the	
  community	
  centre,	
  church	
  the	
  arena,	
  the	
  two	
  main	
  stores,	
  on	
  the	
  land.	
  	
  I	
  found	
  my	
  students	
  wanted	
  to	
  get	
  to	
  know	
  me.	
  	
  They	
  wanted	
  to	
  engage	
  with	
  me	
  outside	
  of	
  class.	
  	
  On	
  days	
  when	
  I	
  was	
  sick	
  they	
  would	
  come	
  to	
  my	
  door	
  to	
  see	
  how	
  I	
  was	
  and	
  if	
  they	
  could	
  visit.	
  	
  After	
  school,	
  my	
  students	
  and	
  my	
  sons’	
  friends	
  would	
  drop	
  by.	
  	
  We	
  would	
  go	
  on	
  skidoo	
  excursions	
  in	
  the	
  forest	
  and	
  on	
  the	
  tundra	
  during	
  winter,	
  and	
  fishing	
  trips,	
  hunting,	
  swimming	
  at	
  the	
  lake,	
  in	
  summer.	
  	
  The	
  boundaries	
  between	
  my	
  professional	
  life	
   	
   22	
   and	
  private	
  life	
  began	
  to	
  slowly	
  disintegrate.	
  	
  The	
  only	
  time	
  you	
  can	
  be	
  alone,	
  uninterrupted	
  or	
  free	
  from	
  your	
  job	
  is	
  on	
  the	
  tundra	
  away	
  from	
  the	
  village.	
  	
  There	
  are	
  limits	
  to	
  how	
  much	
  you	
  can	
  be	
  available	
  and	
  one’s	
  private	
  life	
  was	
  always	
  under	
  the	
  watchful	
  gaze	
  of	
  good	
  intentioned	
  experienced	
  old-­‐timer	
  teachers.	
  	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   23	
   Section	
  2:	
  The	
  Backstory	
   	
  With	
  every	
  story	
  there	
  is	
  a	
  backstory;	
  a	
  reason	
  the	
  story	
  takes	
  place	
  and	
  the	
  events	
  leading	
  up	
  to	
  the	
  main	
  story.	
  	
  In	
  teacher	
  narratives	
  the	
  backstory	
  may	
  give	
  a	
  sense	
  of	
  their	
  lives,	
  relationships	
  and	
  the	
  conditions	
  in	
  which	
  they	
  were	
  living	
  or	
  teaching	
  before	
  going	
  North.	
  	
  For	
  me,	
  writing	
  the	
  backstory	
  is	
  a	
  part	
  of	
  excavating	
  my	
  memories.	
  How	
  do	
  my	
  memories	
  fit	
  with	
  the	
  literature?	
  	
  How	
  does	
  my	
  experience	
  resonate	
  with	
  others?	
  Why	
  did	
  I	
  go	
  North?	
  	
  	
  	
  Why	
  we	
  left	
  the	
  South	
  In	
  most	
  instances,	
  emigration	
  is	
  a	
  matter	
  of	
  necessity,	
  not	
  of	
  choice…	
  and	
  they	
  go	
  forth	
  to	
  make	
  for	
  themselves	
  a	
  new	
  name	
  and	
  to	
  find	
  another	
  country,	
  to	
  forget	
  the	
  past	
  and	
  to	
  live	
  in	
  the	
  future,	
  to	
  exult	
  in	
  the	
  prospect	
  of	
  their	
  children	
  being	
  free	
  and	
  the	
  land	
  of	
  their	
  adoption	
  great.	
  	
  -­‐Roughing	
  it	
  in	
  the	
  Bush,	
  Susanna	
  Moodie	
  1962,	
  p.	
  xv	
  	
   My	
  youngest	
  son	
  Tom	
  was	
  four	
  when	
  we	
  arrived.	
  	
  He	
  had	
  gone	
  to	
  Montessori	
  school	
  in	
  Toronto	
  the	
  year	
  before.	
  	
  His	
  health	
  was	
  always	
  a	
  concern	
  of	
  ours.	
  	
  Since	
  he	
  was	
  a	
  baby	
  he	
  had	
  difficulty	
  keeping	
  his	
  food	
  down.	
  	
  His	
  breathing	
  was	
  beginning	
  to	
  deteriorate.	
  He	
  was	
  being	
  treated	
  at	
  Sick	
  Kids	
  Hospital	
  for	
  asthma	
  symptoms	
  and	
  had	
  started	
  on	
  a	
  ventilator	
  puffer.	
  In	
  general	
  you	
  could	
  say	
  he	
  was	
  sickly.	
  	
  We	
  had	
  our	
  theories	
  for	
  why	
  this	
  was;	
  living	
  in	
  an	
  old	
  wartime	
  bungalow	
  we	
  wondered	
  if	
  it	
  was	
  the	
  house;	
  or	
  maybe	
  the	
  new	
  location,	
  closer	
  to	
  the	
  Gardner	
  expressway	
  and	
  QEW	
  was	
  the	
  reason;	
  or	
  maybe	
  it	
  was	
  our	
  hectic	
  lifestyle	
  or	
  a	
  combination	
  of	
  all	
  three?	
  We	
  weren’t	
  sure.	
   	
   24	
   Our	
  oldest	
  son	
  Jesse	
  was	
  turning	
  seven.	
  	
  He	
  had	
  completed	
  K-­‐1	
  and	
  two	
  years	
  of	
  nursery	
  school	
  and	
  was	
  about	
  to	
  go	
  into	
  grade	
  2	
  when	
  we	
  moved.	
  	
  	
  He	
  was	
  healthy	
  and	
  active	
  but	
  we	
  wondered	
  about	
  what	
  social	
  reproductions	
  he	
  was	
  learning	
  at	
  school	
  and	
  through	
  his	
  micro-­‐managed,	
  parent	
  organized	
  life.	
  	
  It	
  seemed	
  he	
  was	
  being	
  continuously	
  shuffled	
  from	
  one	
  thing	
  to	
  the	
  next.	
  	
  Our	
  lives	
  felt	
  stressful.	
  	
  I	
  was	
  working	
  multiple	
  contracts	
  as	
  a	
  story	
  and	
  visual	
  researcher	
  in	
  the	
  television	
  documentary	
  business,	
  trying	
  to	
  keep	
  up	
  with	
  our	
  growing	
  debt	
  and	
  mortgage	
  in	
  a	
  single-­‐income	
  household.	
  My	
  wife	
  Carrie	
  was	
  looking	
  to	
  re-­‐enter	
  teaching	
  after	
  dedicating	
  years	
  to	
  raising	
  our	
  boys.	
  	
  A	
  choice	
  we	
  decided	
  on	
  together.	
  	
  Neither	
  of	
  us	
  wanted	
  to	
  miss	
  out	
  on	
  their	
  early	
  years	
  and	
  we	
  didn’t	
  see	
  the	
  point	
  of	
  having	
  kids	
  and	
  then	
  having	
  someone	
  else	
  raise	
  them.	
  	
  In	
  any	
  respect	
  our	
  decision	
  impacted	
  us	
  financially.	
  	
  I	
  was	
  planning	
  a	
  career	
  change,	
  something	
  that	
  would	
  be	
  more	
  meaningful	
  than	
  reality	
  TV,	
  a	
  trend	
  documentaries	
  began	
  to	
  take	
  at	
  the	
  time,	
  and	
  give	
  us	
  more	
  time	
  together	
  as	
  a	
  family.	
  	
  I	
  applied	
  to	
  the	
  Ontario	
  Institute	
  for	
  Studies	
  in	
  Education	
  and	
  was	
  accepted	
  into	
  the	
  B.Ed.	
  program	
  in	
  the	
  fall	
  of	
  2006.	
  	
  During	
  that	
  time	
  I	
  juggled	
  a	
  fourteen	
  one	
  hour	
  discovery	
  channel	
  series	
  called	
  “Most	
  Deadly”;	
  stories	
  about	
  “deadly	
  plane	
  crashes”,	
  “deadly	
  mountain	
  climbs”,	
  and	
  finally,	
  “deadly…deadly”	
  which	
  described	
  how	
  I	
  was	
  feeling	
  inside,	
  while	
  at	
  the	
  same	
  time	
  going	
  to	
  school.	
  	
  Not	
  working	
  wasn’t	
  an	
  option.	
  	
  I	
  remember	
  during	
  class	
  I	
  would	
  be	
  checking	
  and	
  sending	
  emails.	
  	
  At	
  break,	
  returning	
  calls	
  on	
  my	
  cell	
  phone.	
  	
  Working	
  late	
  into	
  the	
  night	
  on	
  both	
  school	
  and	
  work	
  projects.	
  	
  I	
  chose	
  a	
  practicum	
  near	
  the	
  production	
  office	
  and	
  scheduled	
  weekly	
  meetings	
  with	
  producers	
  of	
  the	
  show	
  after	
  3:30pm.	
  	
  When	
  the	
  bell	
  rang	
  I	
  literally	
  packed	
  up	
  my	
  school	
  stuff	
  and	
  ran	
  down	
  King	
  Street	
  to	
  the	
  old	
  factory	
  building	
  where	
  the	
  production	
  offices	
  were.	
  	
  Two	
  weeks	
  before	
  Christmas,	
  run	
  down,	
   	
   25	
   pneumonia	
  in	
  one	
  lung,	
  not	
  able	
  to	
  keep	
  up	
  the	
  pace	
  I	
  was	
  fired	
  from	
  my	
  job.	
  	
  	
  I	
  took	
  on	
  student	
  loans	
  to	
  get	
  me	
  through	
  the	
  rest	
  of	
  the	
  program.	
  	
  I	
  applied	
  for	
  several	
  jobs.	
  	
  Both	
  my	
  wife	
  and	
  I	
  were	
  hired	
  by	
  the	
  Dufferin	
  Peel	
  Catholic	
  Board,	
  in	
  southern	
  Ontario,	
  as	
  a	
  teacher	
  on	
  call	
  (TOC)	
  but	
  we	
  couldn’t	
  see	
  ourselves	
  supporting	
  our	
  family	
  on	
  two	
  part	
  time	
  jobs.	
  	
  Besides,	
  my	
  wife	
  had	
  done	
  supply	
  teaching	
  ten	
  years	
  previously	
  when	
  she	
  first	
  started	
  and	
  dreaded	
  the	
  prospect	
  of	
  having	
  to	
  wake	
  up	
  to	
  a	
  phone	
  call	
  at	
  5am	
  with	
  a	
  different	
  teaching	
  assignment	
  each	
  time.	
  	
  The	
  Toronto	
  District	
  School	
  Board	
  interviewed	
  me	
  and	
  offered	
  me	
  a	
  TOC	
  position,	
  but	
  I	
  turned	
  it	
  down	
  for	
  the	
  same	
  reason.	
  	
  	
  Our	
  decision	
  to	
  teach	
  in	
  the	
  Arctic	
  happened	
  by	
  chance.	
  	
  Before	
  going	
  to	
  the	
  job	
  fair	
  the	
  idea	
  had	
  never	
  entered	
  my	
  mind.	
  	
  Of	
  all	
  the	
  school	
  board	
  booths,	
  mostly	
  from	
  Ontario,	
  I	
  visited	
  that	
  day	
  only	
  two	
  out-­‐of-­‐province	
  boards,	
  the	
  Kativik	
  School	
  Board	
  and	
  the	
  Calgary	
  School	
  Board	
  were	
  hiring	
  full	
  time	
  teachers.	
  We	
  interviewed	
  with	
  the	
  Calgary	
  one	
  first	
  but	
  we	
  didn’t	
  get	
  hired.	
  We	
  didn’t	
  want	
  to	
  move	
  to	
  Alberta	
  anyway.	
  	
  It	
  was	
  the	
  province	
  of	
  Ralph	
  Klein	
  and	
  oil	
  money.	
  	
  Too	
  right	
  wing	
  for	
  us,	
  we	
  thought.	
  	
  The	
  Kativik	
  job	
  was	
  different.	
  	
  It	
  offered	
  something	
  more	
  romantic.	
  The	
  Arctic	
  appealed	
  to	
  our	
  adventurous	
  spirit.	
  	
  I	
  considered	
  myself	
  a	
  Canadian	
  and	
  going	
  North	
  was	
  as	
  Canadian	
  as	
  you	
  can	
  get	
  I	
  thought.	
  	
  I	
  saw	
  my	
  identity	
  as	
  a	
  part	
  of	
  an	
  imagined	
  national	
  myth	
  similar	
  to	
  Benedict	
  Anderson’s	
  (2006)	
  conception	
  of	
  it.	
  	
  No	
  matter	
  that	
  I	
  had	
  never	
  been	
  in	
  the	
  Arctic	
  or	
  north	
  of	
  Timmins,	
  I	
  felt	
  a	
  “communion”	
  with	
  the	
  place	
  and	
  people	
  (Anderson,	
  2006,	
  p.6).	
  	
  Stories	
  of	
  Glen	
  Gould	
  going	
  to	
  the	
  Arctic	
  to	
  experience	
  the	
  silence;	
  the	
  group	
  of	
  seven	
  paintings	
  I	
  had	
  grown	
  up	
  with;	
  Nanook	
  of	
  the	
  North,	
  the	
  first	
  documentary;	
  stories	
  of	
  the	
  Franklin	
  expedition;	
  John	
  Rae	
  and	
  other	
  early	
  explorers.	
  There	
  was	
   	
   26	
   something	
  foundational	
  about	
  the	
  Canadian	
  identity	
  that	
  resided	
  in	
  the	
  North	
  and	
  instilled	
  an	
  exotic	
  other	
  quality	
  about	
  the	
  place.	
  	
  	
  	
  My	
  father’s	
  family	
  was	
  a	
  part	
  of	
  the	
  Fitzwilliam	
  Estate	
  clearances	
  in	
  County	
  Wicklow,	
  Ireland,	
  and	
  were	
  evicted	
  from	
  their	
  homes	
  and	
  given	
  “assisted	
  immigration”	
  to	
  Canada	
  in	
  the	
  1840’s	
  settling	
  near	
  Ottawa.	
  	
  Eighty	
  years	
  later	
  my	
  grandfather,	
  who	
  I	
  was	
  named	
  after,	
  left	
  the	
  family	
  farm	
  during	
  the	
  great	
  depression	
  to	
  seek	
  a	
  new	
  life.	
  	
  He	
  met	
  my	
  grandmother,	
  Pearl	
  McLennan,	
  in	
  New	
  Liskeard	
  and	
  they	
  began	
  a	
  family	
  there;	
  later	
  moving	
  to	
  near	
  by	
  North	
  Bay.	
  	
  	
  My	
  mother’s	
  family,	
  the	
  Hogans	
  and	
  Regans,	
  also	
  had	
  Northern	
  roots	
  in	
  Thunder	
  Bay	
  and	
  Sudbury.	
  	
  Growing	
  up	
  in	
  the	
  mining	
  town	
  of	
  Sudbury,	
  Ontario,	
  my	
  identity	
  was	
  largely	
  in	
  opposition	
  to	
  Southern	
  Ontario.	
  	
  Sudbury	
  was	
  the	
  North;	
  Toronto	
  was	
  the	
  South.	
  	
  I	
  had	
  no	
  idea	
  how	
  relative	
  that	
  understanding	
  could	
  be.	
  	
  We	
  told	
  our	
  friends	
  and	
  family	
  it	
  would	
  only	
  be	
  for	
  one	
  year,	
  an	
  adventure,	
  a	
  Canadian	
  cultural	
  experience.	
  	
  Privately,	
  to	
  ourselves,	
  we	
  were	
  escaping	
  the	
  rat	
  race	
  of	
  Toronto	
  and	
  Southern	
  Ontario	
  and	
  a	
  life	
  style	
  that	
  we	
  neither	
  wanted	
  nor	
  could	
  sustain.	
  	
  We	
  saw	
  the	
  North	
  as	
  a	
  possible	
  new	
  beginning	
  and	
  like	
  Susanna	
  Moodie’s	
  quote	
  above,	
  and	
  perhaps	
  similar	
  to	
  my	
  Irish	
  ancestors,	
  more	
  than	
  just	
  a	
  way	
  to	
  get	
  out	
  of	
  debt	
  but	
  also	
  a	
  return	
  to	
  something	
  we	
  had	
  both	
  had	
  at	
  one	
  time	
  before,	
  and	
  wanted	
  again	
  for	
  our	
  children.	
  	
  	
  It	
  was	
  a	
  new	
  start.	
  	
  	
  	
  What	
  other	
  people	
  think	
  As	
  Strong-­‐Wilson	
  observes	
  “Economic	
  necessity	
  often	
  provides	
  the	
  rationale	
  for	
  why	
  White	
  teachers	
  travel	
  to	
  remote	
  communities”	
  (2008,	
  p.	
  27).	
  She	
  also	
  points	
  out	
  that	
  albeit	
  rare,	
  some	
  go	
  for	
  philanthropical	
  altruistic	
  reasons	
  often	
  underpinned	
  with	
   	
   27	
   notions	
  of	
  helping	
  or	
  educating	
  the	
  needy.	
  	
  Derek	
  Rasmussen	
  has	
  defined	
  it	
  as	
  the	
  “Rescuer”	
  mentality,	
  which	
  has	
  evolved	
  from	
  early	
  missionary	
  pursuits	
  to	
  “today’s	
  government	
  development-­‐speak	
  [around]	
  ‘capacity	
  building’”	
  (Jimi	
  Onalik,	
  personal	
  communication,	
  July	
  2001	
  cited	
  in	
  Rasmussen,	
  2001,	
  p.	
  111).	
  Personally	
  my	
  motivations	
  for	
  going	
  didn’t	
  include	
  helping	
  or	
  rescuing	
  the	
  local	
  population.	
  	
  I	
  was	
  more	
  focused	
  on	
  rescuing	
  myself.	
  	
  Besides,	
  initially	
  I	
  did	
  not	
  have	
  any	
  sense	
  that	
  they	
  needed	
  my	
  help	
  in	
  any	
  special	
  way,	
  besides	
  hiring	
  a	
  schoolteacher.	
  	
  It	
  was	
  from	
  my	
  relatives,	
  friends	
  and	
  acquaintances	
  that	
  I	
  got	
  this	
  notion,	
  as	
  they	
  sought	
  to	
  make	
  sense	
  and	
  position	
  our	
  decision	
  to	
  move	
  north.	
  	
  During	
  breaks	
  from	
  teaching,	
  at	
  Christmas	
  parties	
  in	
  the	
  South,	
  friends	
  from	
  our	
  old	
  neighbourhood	
  would	
  introduce	
  us	
  as	
  the	
  couple	
  from	
  the	
  Arctic.	
  	
  We	
  became	
  mini	
  celebrities,	
  exotic	
  adventurers.	
  	
  People	
  were	
  astonished	
  that	
  we	
  would	
  go	
  to	
  such	
  a	
  place.	
  	
  Often	
  comments	
  were	
  about	
  what	
  good	
  work	
  we	
  were	
  doing	
  with	
  the	
  kids	
  there.	
  	
  They’re	
  so	
  lucky	
  to	
  have	
  teachers	
  like	
  you.	
  	
  One	
  couple	
  organized	
  a	
  book	
  drive	
  on	
  our	
  behalf	
  to	
  help	
  out	
  with	
  the	
  shortage	
  of	
  books	
  in	
  our	
  classrooms.	
  	
  Their	
  friends	
  contributed	
  new	
  and	
  gently	
  used	
  books	
  as	
  a	
  charitable	
  gesture	
  for	
  the	
  disadvantaged	
  of	
  the	
  North.	
  	
  The	
  school	
  board	
  paid	
  for	
  their	
  shipping	
  from	
  Toronto.	
  	
  Over	
  time	
  this	
  self-­‐less	
  identity	
  badge	
  our	
  friends	
  wanted	
  to	
  pin	
  on	
  us,	
  and	
  we	
  more	
  than	
  willingly	
  accepted	
  began	
  to	
  erode.	
  	
  After	
  a	
  year	
  had	
  turned	
  into	
  two	
  the	
  novelty	
  was	
  beginning	
  to	
  wear	
  off.	
  	
  When	
  are	
  you	
  guys	
  coming	
  back	
  was	
  the	
  main	
  question.	
  	
  The	
  temporary	
  tangent	
  had	
  turned	
  into	
  what	
  was	
  looking	
  like	
  a	
  long-­‐term	
  life	
  change.	
  	
  We	
  began	
  to	
  appear	
  strange	
  to	
  people	
  in	
  the	
  South.	
  	
  The	
  exoticism	
  had	
  worn	
  off	
  and	
  been	
  exchanged	
  with	
  freak,	
  oddity,	
  misfit.	
  	
  I	
  remember	
  one	
  entry	
  from	
  my	
  diary	
  in	
  particular	
  that	
  draws	
  attention	
  to	
  this	
  shift	
  in	
  people’s	
  view	
  of	
  us:	
  	
  	
   	
   28	
   Aug. 9, 2009 Morning after having arrived back in GR for the start of my third year of teaching and living in the North.  Yesterday when the King Air 100 landed on the gravel runway there were a lot of people at the airport-not waiting for me, but picking up boxes or seeing family off.   	
   	
  Image	
  1	
   I noticed some white people I hadn’t seen before- they looked like they had been canoeing or camping.  I could see their yellow North Face tents pitched across the road from the airport- they’d been sitting in the airport I guessed to escape the mosquitoes and maybe boredom.  As the crowd of people thinned out I said hello to them.  A man with a beard, big stomach and long arms was sitting there with a woman who was fit and probably fifty.  She had a lean face and focused eyes.  We got talking casually; they asked me questions about the Inuit and if I’d become disillusioned yet?  She asked why I lived here and as I spoke I could see her face take 	
   29	
   on an almost unbelievable look, as if what I was saying was unfathomable- as if there could be no plausible explanation to live in the North.	
  	
  After	
  a	
  year	
  or	
  two	
  the	
  financial	
  impetus	
  for	
  being	
  there	
  had	
  gone.	
  	
  We	
  were	
  out	
  of	
  debt,	
  mostly.	
  	
  We	
  also	
  sold	
  our	
  house	
  in	
  Etobicoke	
  and	
  our	
  Toyota	
  Camry.	
  	
  We	
  weren’t	
  planning	
  on	
  going	
  back	
  South.	
  	
  We	
  liked	
  our	
  lives.	
  	
  We	
  took	
  holidays	
  at	
  Christmas	
  to	
  Cuba	
  and	
  more	
  holidays	
  and	
  road	
  trips	
  in	
  the	
  summer.	
  	
  We	
  were	
  spending	
  lots	
  of	
  time	
  together	
  as	
  a	
  family.	
  	
  We	
  ate	
  breakfast	
  lunch	
  and	
  dinner	
  together	
  every	
  night.	
  	
  We	
  spent	
  weekend	
  day	
  trips	
  on	
  the	
  land	
  camping.	
  	
  The	
  boys	
  played	
  hockey	
  at	
  the	
  local	
  arena	
  every	
  night	
  and	
  had	
  no	
  shortage	
  of	
  Inuit	
  and	
  Qallunaat	
  friends	
  to	
  play	
  with.	
  	
  Tom’s	
  health	
  had	
  improved	
  leaps	
  and	
  bounds.	
  	
  Where	
  once	
  we	
  had	
  organized	
  our	
  son’s	
  social	
  lives	
  calling	
  parents	
  of	
  friends	
  to	
  arrange	
  play	
  dates,	
  now	
  our	
  sons	
  were	
  creating	
  their	
  own	
  fun.	
  	
  They	
  didn’t	
  need	
  us.	
  	
  They	
  learned	
  from	
  their	
  friends	
  how	
  to	
  be	
  independent,	
  and	
  do	
  things	
  on	
  their	
  own	
  without	
  our	
  help.	
  	
  	
  We	
  were	
  liking	
  this	
  new	
  place.	
  	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   30	
   Section	
  3:	
  Initial	
  Impressions:	
  Place	
   	
  Every	
  story	
  must	
  have	
  a	
  setting;	
  a	
  place	
  where	
  the	
  story	
  takes	
  place.	
  	
  How	
  do	
  Qallunaat	
  initially	
  perceive	
  this	
  new	
  Northern	
  landscape?	
  	
  What	
  are	
  the	
  ambiguities	
  of	
  space	
  and	
  place	
  from	
  an	
  ethnocentric	
  lens?	
  These	
  are	
  questions	
  important	
  to	
  discuss	
  in	
  relation	
  to	
  Qallunaat	
  teachers	
  positionality	
  and	
  will	
  be	
  examined	
  from	
  my	
  own	
  experience	
  and	
  the	
  literature.	
  	
  Place:	
  what	
  Qallunaat	
  see	
  Writing	
  by	
  non-­‐Indigenous	
  teachers	
  frequently	
  begins	
  with	
  a	
  description	
  of	
  place	
  that	
  depicts	
  a	
  desolate	
  land	
  of	
  isolation	
  and	
  harsh	
  weather.	
  	
  Strong-­‐Wilson	
  (2007)	
  makes	
  note	
  of	
  this	
  commonality:	
  	
  	
  Accounts	
  of	
  teachers	
  journeying	
  to	
  outlying	
  communities	
  follow	
  certain	
  conventions.	
  	
  They	
  begin	
  with	
  a	
  trip	
  through	
  difficult	
  terrain,	
  a	
  laborious	
  route	
  that	
  entails	
  more	
  time	
  and	
  energy	
  than	
  “civilized”	
  people	
  would	
  tolerate.	
  	
  First	
  impressions	
  of	
  place	
  and	
  people	
  follow,	
  succeeded	
  shortly	
  afterward	
  by	
  ‘culture	
  shock’.	
  	
  Prejudices	
  are	
  brought	
  to	
  the	
  surface	
  that	
  with	
  time,	
  are	
  reinforced,	
  assuaged	
  or	
  changed.	
  (p.	
  1)	
  	
  Joanne	
  Tompkins	
  (1999)	
  writes	
  of	
  her	
  experience,	
  “[t]he	
  day	
  I	
  first	
  flew	
  into	
  the	
  community	
  it	
  was	
  grey	
  and	
  overcast.	
  	
  A	
  fog	
  hung	
  over	
  the	
  basin…One	
  has	
  the	
  sense	
  of	
  a	
  desolate,	
  poor,	
  forlorn	
  place	
  set	
  in	
  the	
  middle	
  of	
  nowhere”	
  (p.20).	
  	
  She	
  goes	
  on	
  to	
  describe	
  the	
  village	
  as	
  equally	
  depressing	
  itemizing	
  each	
  building,	
  culminating	
  with	
  the	
  school	
  as	
  the	
  “most	
  desperate	
  and	
  sadly	
  neglected	
  of	
  all”	
  (Tompkins,	
  1999,	
  p.21).	
  	
  More	
   	
   31	
   recently	
  a	
  teacher	
  from	
  Nunavik	
  in	
  Caroline	
  Mueller’s	
  (2006a)	
  dissertation	
  had	
  this	
  to	
  say	
  about	
  her	
  initial	
  impressions,	
  “	
  [t]hey	
  landed	
  [in	
  my	
  host	
  community]	
  and	
  I	
  didn’t	
  see	
  a	
  village…all	
  I	
  saw	
  was	
  the	
  bay	
  and	
  some	
  rocks	
  and	
  I	
  thought,	
  “no	
  trees”…It	
  was	
  quite	
  a	
  shock	
  because	
  wherever	
  I	
  went	
  there	
  was	
  always	
  at	
  least	
  a	
  few	
  trees”	
  (p.23).	
  	
  Tod	
  Shockey	
  (2003),	
  a	
  teacher	
  on	
  an	
  Indian	
  Reserve	
  in	
  the	
  US	
  opens	
  his	
  narrative	
  with,	
  “[t]he	
  sun	
  was	
  blasting	
  through	
  my	
  windshield	
  and	
  I	
  wondered	
  if	
  I	
  had	
  just	
  entered	
  hell”	
  (p.172)	
  	
  And	
  yet	
  another	
  Nunavik	
  teacher	
  Anie	
  Desautels	
  (2008)	
  described	
  her	
  initial	
  thoughts	
  as	
  landing	
  on	
  the	
  moon:	
  “[i]n	
  Qaninngituq,	
  there	
  is	
  nothing	
  to	
  see,	
  only	
  rocks	
  and	
  soon	
  snow	
  and	
  more	
  snow…Finally,	
  I	
  landed	
  on	
  a	
  moon	
  where	
  Inuit	
  people	
  had	
  been	
  living	
  for	
  hundreds	
  of	
  years”	
  (p.83).	
  	
   Oct.7/07; What I see This is a dream world up here in every sense of the word, the landscape, the snow-capped mountains, the continually changing colours of the Tundra.  You look and turn away and look back and the whole view has altered in some imperceptible way.  Take the view from my classroom.  A road snakes along between two granite outcrops.  It is a road but it isn’t a road. It’s an illusion of a road because roads go somewhere and this road… 	
   32	
   	
  Image	
  2	
   Well this road just stops past the green airfield building up ahead.  The road suggests travel destination but there is none.  Telephone poles line the road.  Stitches along a scar in the land they stand out like some Frankenstein on the landscape.  The Tundra is a burnt red.  A mixture of red and yellow, black.  I’d much rather paint it than write about it.  The body of the land lays raw against the peacock blue sky- peacock blue because that’s what the Laurentian colouring pencil company called it, and that’s how I saw the colour as a child.  Underneath it all is a subtext.  Underneath it all is a sub-plot, an alternative reality.  We build a world for our selves.  We build a reality and we make up scenarios to help us through the day but this isn’t Toronto Baby.  I’ve come here to teach these kids?  Teach them what?  Teach them how to read Qallunaat ways- what for?  How will my Southern views of the world stand up against the harsh winds that blow in winter?  How valuable is it that I’m teaching?  Who am I serving? How important is this to the kids?  How important is it to me?  Who wants it more?  The Tamarac forest is a burnt almond-no an orange-like a maple tree leaf in October. The trees are tiny here- like so many hairs on an old man’s face.  They look farther away than they are 	
   33	
   because of their size.  Another illusion.  The snow-capped hills surrounding the village and the distance are a warning of what’s to come-soon.  The village is quiet this morning.  Nobody moves today.  10:35am on a Sunday morning is too early for anyone to rise.   Critical	
  reflections	
  on	
  place	
  In	
  the	
  above	
  passage	
  I	
  notice	
  my	
  interests.	
  	
  I	
  see	
  how	
  I	
  am	
  trying	
  to	
  make	
  sense	
  of	
  this	
  new	
  place	
  or	
  is	
  it	
  space?	
  	
  I	
  am	
  trying	
  to	
  find	
  connections.	
  	
  I	
  am	
  finding	
  them	
  with	
  the	
  land	
  and	
  my	
  childhood.	
  	
  I	
  am	
  also	
  noticing	
  I	
  see	
  the	
  village	
  and	
  land	
  through	
  conflicting	
  lenses;	
  a	
  nostalgic	
  lens	
  on	
  one	
  hand	
  and	
  a	
  monstrous	
  and	
  surreal	
  one	
  on	
  the	
  other.	
  	
  Strong-­‐Wilson	
  (2008)	
  draws	
  attention	
  to	
  a	
  literary	
  tension	
  in	
  the	
  English/	
  Western	
  “social	
  imagination”	
  she	
  refers	
  to	
  as	
  “an	
  imagined	
  relationship	
  between	
  self	
  and	
  other	
  influenced	
  by	
  social	
  and	
  political	
  discourses	
  that	
  become	
  embodied	
  in	
  aesthetic	
  and	
  lived	
  experience…With	
  in	
  this	
  relationship,	
  the	
  ‘other’	
  is	
  portrayed	
  as	
  different,	
  strange,	
  even	
  monstrous”	
  (p.53).	
  	
  A	
  road	
  that	
  goes	
  nowhere.	
  	
  Telephone	
  lines	
  that	
  scar	
  the	
  landscape.	
  	
  The	
  land	
  has	
  an	
  enigmatic	
  quality	
  conjuring	
  up	
  both	
  romantic	
  reveries	
  of	
  childhood	
  and	
  monstrous	
  forebodings.	
  	
  The	
  place	
  is	
  an	
  illusion.	
  	
  Living	
  in	
  a	
  colonized	
  space	
  is	
  an	
  unfamiliar	
  setting	
  for	
  the	
  colonizer.	
  	
  It	
  is	
  ever	
  illusive	
  to	
  describe	
  and	
  pin	
  down.	
  	
  It	
  appears	
  familiar	
  to	
  me	
  like	
  the	
  colouring	
  crayon	
  sky	
  and	
  yet	
  strange	
  as	
  the	
  tiny	
  trees.	
  	
  	
   	
   34	
   	
  Image	
  3	
  Land	
  is	
  a	
  central	
  focus	
  of	
  my	
  reflections.	
  	
  It	
  acts	
  as	
  metaphor,	
  and	
  harbinger	
  of	
  things	
  to	
  come.	
  	
  Place	
  based	
  theorist	
  Yi-­‐Fu	
  Tuan’s	
  (1975),	
  Place:	
  Experiential	
  Perspective,	
  underpins	
  much	
  of	
  what	
  is	
  currently	
  widely	
  accepted	
  in	
  academic	
  discourse;	
  place	
  as	
  socially	
  constructed	
  (Ball,	
  2000).	
  	
  	
  Through	
  a	
  western	
  epistemological	
  lens,	
  “[s]pace	
  is	
  abstract.	
  	
  It	
  lacks	
  content;	
  it	
  is	
  broad,	
  open,	
  and	
  empty,	
  inviting	
  the	
  imagination	
  to	
  fill	
  it	
  with	
  substance	
  and	
  illusion”	
  (Tuan,	
  1975,	
  p.164-­‐165).	
  	
  In	
  contrast,	
  place	
  is	
  created	
  by	
  human	
  beings	
  for	
  human	
  purposes,	
  “to	
  remain	
  a	
  place	
  it	
  has	
  to	
  be	
  lived	
  in”	
  (Tuan,	
  1975,	
  p.	
  165),	
  and	
  “Mere	
  space	
  is	
  transformed	
  into	
  place”	
  (Tuan,	
  1975,	
  p.161)	
  when	
  the	
  abstract	
  is	
  given	
  meaning	
  through	
  human	
  creation.	
  	
  	
  Teacher	
  narratives	
  and	
  first	
  impressions	
  are	
  indicative	
  of	
  the	
  epistemological	
  lens	
  from	
  which	
  teachers	
  are	
  viewing	
  a	
  new	
  place.	
  	
  In	
  an	
  effort	
  to	
  transform	
  what	
  is	
  perceived	
  as	
  “space”,	
  (quite	
  literally	
  the	
  moon	
  as	
  Desautels	
  (2008)	
  calls	
  it)	
  into	
  “place”	
  using	
  Tuan’s	
  definition,	
  teachers	
  have	
  constructed	
  an	
  understanding	
  through	
  their	
  writing.	
  	
  What	
  appears	
  abstract	
  to	
  them	
  is	
   	
   35	
   actually	
  quite	
  the	
  opposite	
  for	
  Inuit.	
  	
  The	
  landscape	
  has	
  meaning	
  written	
  all	
  over	
  it.	
  	
  The	
  language	
  is	
  just	
  unknown	
  to	
  the	
  foreigner.	
  	
  	
  	
   	
  Image	
  4	
  and	
  5	
  The	
  village	
  is	
  a	
  colonial	
  construct	
  created	
  by	
  the	
  federal	
  government	
  to	
  transform	
  space	
  into	
  place	
  and	
  there	
  by	
  transform	
  a	
  wilderness	
  into	
  a	
  nation.	
  	
  But	
  for	
  Inuit	
  this	
   wilderness,	
  this	
  space,	
  was	
  already	
  a	
  place	
  even	
  before	
  the	
  village	
  was	
  literally,	
  artificially	
  plopped	
  down	
  onto	
  its	
  surface.	
  	
  What	
  I	
  learned	
  from	
  Inuit	
  is	
  that	
  place	
  exists	
  both	
  with	
  human	
  engagement	
  and	
  without.	
  	
  Our	
  meaning	
  inscribed	
  on	
  it	
  does	
  not	
  depend	
  on	
  it	
  having	
  meaning.	
  	
  It	
  possesses	
  a	
  power	
  and	
  agency	
  of	
  its	
  own.	
  	
  “When	
  the	
  teacher	
  is	
  the	
  land,	
  patience	
  and	
  wisdom	
  go	
  together…Things	
  can	
  usually	
  be	
  figured	
  out	
  in	
  time,	
  as	
  long	
  as	
  one	
  is	
  a	
  careful	
  observer”	
  (Nunavik	
  Educational	
  Task	
  Force,	
  1992,	
  p.12	
  cited	
  in	
  Rasmussen,	
  2001,	
  p.111).	
   	
   36	
   	
  	
  Image	
  6	
  	
  How	
  will	
  my	
  Southern	
  view	
  of	
  the	
  world	
  stand	
  up	
  against	
  the	
  harsh	
  winds	
  that	
  blow	
  in	
  winter?	
  	
  This	
  questions	
  both	
  my	
  ethnocentric	
  lens	
  for	
  reading	
  the	
  land	
  as	
  well	
  as	
  larger	
  social	
  implications	
  for	
  survival	
  in	
  this	
  new	
  place.	
  	
  My	
  rhetorical	
  questions	
  suggest	
  that	
  I	
  am	
  already	
  aware	
  of	
  a	
  need	
  for	
  a	
  new	
  frame	
  from	
  which	
  to	
  engage	
  with	
  this	
  world.	
  	
  My	
  Southern	
  view	
  isn’t	
  going	
  to	
  stand	
  up	
  to	
  the	
  harsh	
  winds	
  that	
  blow	
  in	
  winter.	
  	
  I	
  begin	
  to	
  question	
  my	
  cultural	
  broker	
  role.	
  	
  My	
  role	
  as	
  teacher	
  is	
  not	
  neutral.	
  	
  I	
  am	
  not	
  a-­‐cultural.	
  	
  I	
  acknowledge	
  early	
  on	
  in	
  my	
  first	
  year	
  that	
  I	
  am	
  aware	
  of	
  difference	
  and	
  that	
  I	
  bring	
  a	
  set	
  of	
  preconceptions	
  and	
  attitudes	
  and	
  behaviours	
  that	
  are	
  particular	
  to	
  the	
  place	
  I	
  came	
  from.	
  	
  The	
  cultural	
  broker	
  is	
  one	
  who	
  imparts	
  their	
  culture	
  explicitly	
  or	
  implicitly,	
  consciously	
  or	
  unconsciously.	
  	
  I	
  recognize	
  that	
  I	
  am	
  not	
  in	
  Toronto	
  anymore,	
  that	
  this	
  land	
  and	
  people	
  are	
  strangers	
  to	
  me,	
  that	
  I	
  am	
  a	
  stranger	
  to	
  them.	
  Certain	
  things	
  appear	
  similar.	
  	
  They	
  read	
  familiar?	
  	
  What	
  is	
  the	
  hidden	
  curriculum	
  of	
  this	
  place?	
   	
   	
   	
   37	
   Section	
  4:	
  Teacher	
  Identity	
   	
  Building	
  on	
  the	
  cultural	
  broker	
  role	
  introduced	
  in	
  the	
  previous	
  section,	
  in	
  this	
  next	
  section	
  I	
  illustrate	
  using	
  images	
  the	
  subtle	
  communications	
  of	
  this	
  role	
  and	
  the	
  positionality	
  and	
  the	
  inherent	
  contradictions	
  at	
  play.	
  	
  	
  	
  Hidden	
  curriculum	
  and	
  the	
  unproblematic	
  role	
   	
  Image	
  7	
  	
   	
   	
   	
  	
   	
   Image	
  8	
  Above	
  is	
  an	
  oil	
  painting	
  of	
  our	
  teacher	
  house	
  and	
  a	
  water	
  colour	
  of	
  our	
  Inuit	
  neighbour’s	
  home.	
  	
  I	
  use	
  these	
  two	
  images	
  as	
  a	
  way	
  of	
  illustrating	
  the	
  subtle	
  non-­‐verbal	
  communication	
  that	
  is	
  implied	
  and	
  the	
  power	
  inequalities	
  that	
  exist	
  in	
  this	
  place.	
  	
  	
  The	
  current	
  school	
  is	
  shown	
  in	
  image	
  9.	
  	
   	
   38	
   	
   	
  image	
  9	
  	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   	
   image	
  10	
   	
  It	
  is	
  the	
  largest	
  and	
  most	
  imposing	
  human	
  construction	
  on	
  the	
  landscape.	
  It	
  appears	
  on	
  the	
  landscape	
  alien-­‐like,	
  a	
  prison	
  or	
  space	
  ship.	
  	
  And	
  yet	
  in	
  spite	
  of	
  its	
  prominence	
  it	
  communicates	
  a	
  hidden	
  curriculum	
  that	
  projects	
  an	
  unproblematic	
  invulnerable	
  assured	
  essence.	
  	
  It	
  communicates	
  a	
  permanent,	
  impenetrability.	
  	
  I	
  juxtapose	
  this	
  image	
  of	
  school	
  with	
  another.	
  	
  Image	
  10	
  is	
  a	
  photo	
  of	
  the	
  old	
  early	
  day	
  school,	
  which	
  had	
  since	
  been	
  converted	
  into	
  a	
  storage	
  shed.	
  	
  It	
  caught	
  fire	
  one	
  early	
  morning	
  when	
  the	
  old	
  boiler	
  furnace	
  exploded.	
  	
  I	
  can	
  only	
  imagine	
  how	
  this	
  building	
  once	
  imposed	
  a	
  similar	
  presence	
  on	
  the	
  community.	
  	
  How	
  does	
  this	
  image	
  of	
  a	
  burning	
  school	
  trouble	
  the	
  notion	
  of	
  permanence	
  that	
  the	
  present	
  one	
  communicates?	
  	
  Schooling,	
  and	
  by	
  extension	
  teachers,	
  have	
  been	
  presented	
  as	
  unproblematic	
  and	
  yet	
  they	
  come	
  and	
  go	
  with	
  time.	
  	
  	
  Whether	
  or	
  not	
  individuals	
  are	
  aware	
  of	
  it,	
  there	
  is	
  a	
  history	
  of	
  Qallunaat	
  in	
  the	
  role	
  of	
  ‘helpers’	
  in	
  the	
  North.	
  	
  Paine	
  (1977)	
  has	
  problematized	
  this	
  identity.	
  	
  He	
  points	
  to	
  a	
  shared	
  experience	
  between	
  whites	
  and	
  Inuit	
  living	
  in	
  villages,	
  which	
  precludes	
  either	
  group	
  from	
  “cognitive	
  and	
  emotive	
  distress”,	
  brought	
  on	
  by	
  “misunderstandings	
  and	
  ambiguities”	
  (p.	
  86).	
  	
  Paine	
  sees	
  the	
  white	
  identity	
  problem	
  as	
  rooted	
  not	
  in	
  spite	
  of	
  white	
  positionality	
  but	
  precisely	
  because	
  of	
  it.	
  	
  Years	
  of	
  colonial	
  hegemony	
  and	
  paternalistic	
  relations	
  have	
  positioned	
  whites	
  and	
  by	
  extension	
  Qallunaat	
  teachers	
  as	
   	
   39	
   helpers.	
  	
  In	
  such	
  a	
  relationship	
  Inuit	
  are	
  expected	
  to	
  accept	
  the	
  help,	
  or	
  the	
  middle	
  class	
  package	
  as	
  Paine	
  sees	
  it.	
  	
  Tompkins	
  (1998),	
  Mueller	
  (2006a),	
  and	
  Desautels	
  (2008)	
  all	
  depict	
  these	
  relationships	
  with	
  “successful”	
  students	
  –	
  students	
  who	
  accepted	
  their	
  “helper’s”	
  tutelage.	
  	
  Towards	
  those	
  who	
  do	
  not	
  accept	
  it,	
  a	
  frustration	
  and	
  growing	
  sense	
  of	
  futility	
  and	
  failure	
  begins	
  to	
  settle	
  in	
  teachers.	
  	
  In	
  Desautels’	
  experience,	
  she	
  writes	
  of	
  such	
  a	
  successful	
  student,	
  Stephan:	
  	
  I	
  was	
  particularly	
  attached	
  to	
  Stephan.	
  	
  He	
  was	
  a	
  studious	
  student,	
  too	
  old	
  to	
  still	
  be	
  in	
  grade	
  6.	
  	
  Repeating	
  years	
  was	
  the	
  universal	
  medicine	
  of	
  that	
  school	
  for	
  any	
  student	
  not	
  successfully	
  completing	
  the	
  KSB	
  program	
  objectives.	
  	
  In	
  September,	
  I	
  had	
  been	
  warned	
  that	
  Stephan	
  was	
  a	
  “violent	
  child”.	
  	
  For	
  some	
  unknown	
  reasons,	
  this	
  tall	
  preadolescent	
  was	
  doing	
  well	
  in	
  my	
  group;	
  was	
  rather	
  calm	
  actually.	
  	
  I	
  decided	
  to	
  strike	
  a	
  deal	
  with	
  him.	
  	
  I	
  would	
  tutor	
  him	
  an	
  hour	
  a	
  week	
  and	
  he	
  would	
  do	
  some	
  extra	
  work	
  in	
  his	
  spare	
  time.	
  	
  If	
  everything	
  worked	
  accordingly	
  by	
  Christmas,	
  he	
  would	
  be	
  able	
  to	
  write	
  grade	
  6	
  finals	
  and	
  in	
  June	
  the	
  grade	
  7’s.	
  By	
  January,	
  the	
  tutorials	
  became	
  unnecessary	
  and	
  at	
  the	
  end	
  of	
  the	
  year,	
  Stephan	
  was	
  promoted	
  to	
  secondary.	
  	
  Taking	
  him	
  under	
  my	
  wing	
  and	
  giving	
  him	
  extra	
  attention	
  proved	
  successful.	
  	
  After	
  all,	
  I	
  thought,	
  he	
  and	
  others	
  deserved	
  much	
  better,	
  education	
  wise.	
  (2008,	
  p.	
  90)	
  Using	
  Paine’s	
  tutelage	
  analysis	
  of	
  Inuit	
  and	
  Qallunaat	
  relations	
  students	
  like	
  Stephan	
  have	
  more	
  freedom	
  to	
  choose	
  to	
  accept	
  or	
  decline	
  teacher	
  “help”	
  where	
  as	
  the	
  teachers	
  are	
  constricted	
  by	
  their	
  “ideological	
  mandate”	
  and	
  role	
  as	
  problem	
  solver,	
  helper,	
  rescuer.	
  	
  In	
  other	
  words,	
  teachers	
  fix	
  problems	
  –	
  and	
  as	
  long	
  as	
  they	
  see	
  Inuit	
   	
   40	
   students	
  as	
  bearing	
  deficiencies	
  –	
  will	
  see	
  themselves	
  as	
  solution	
  providers.	
  	
  	
  Frequently	
  these	
  are	
  solutions	
  they	
  have	
  arrived	
  at	
  based	
  on	
  their	
  assumptions	
  of	
  what	
  is	
  best.	
  	
  Paine	
  (1977)	
  sums	
  up,	
  “The	
  burden	
  whites	
  have	
  assumed	
  by	
  always	
  defining	
  for	
  the	
  Inuit	
  what	
  they	
  should	
  do	
  and	
  be	
  makes	
  it	
  difficult	
  for	
  whites	
  to	
  remember	
  that	
  Inuit	
  still	
  do	
  make	
  decisions	
  for	
  themselves	
  (p.86-­‐87).	
  	
  	
  Which	
  leads	
  us	
  to	
  ask	
  what	
  happens	
  when	
  students	
  like	
  Stephan	
  do	
  not	
  want	
  their	
  teacher’s	
  help?	
  	
  How	
  do	
  teachers	
  respond?	
  	
  I’ve	
  chosen	
  a	
  long	
  but	
  telling	
  quote	
  from	
  Desautels	
  (2008)	
  describing	
  such	
  an	
  incident:	
  Lydia,	
  [Menda’s]	
  cousin,	
  was	
  a	
  brilliant	
  eleven-­‐year-­‐old.	
  	
  Like	
  several	
  students	
  she	
  smoked	
  a	
  lot	
  and	
  I	
  felt	
  she	
  had	
  withdrawal	
  symptoms.	
  	
  She	
  also	
  had	
  begun	
  to	
  inhale	
  solvents	
  regularly,	
  persuading	
  other	
  students	
  to	
  do	
  it	
  with	
  her.	
  	
  One	
  stormy	
  day,	
  I	
  don’t	
  remember	
  exactly	
  what	
  had	
  sparked	
  the	
  indiscipline	
  but	
  as	
  a	
  consequence,	
  I	
  requested	
  that	
  everybody	
  stay	
  in	
  class	
  silently	
  for	
  four	
  minutes	
  after	
  the	
  bell	
  had	
  rung.	
  	
  Lydia	
  was	
  extremely	
  agitated.	
  	
  She	
  was	
  very	
  upset	
  at	
  something,	
  throwing	
  pencils	
  and	
  markers	
  everywhere.	
  	
  As	
  I	
  stood	
  firmly	
  by	
  the	
  door,	
  waiting	
  for	
  everybody	
  to	
  be	
  quiet,	
  Lydia	
  managed	
  to	
  get	
  the	
  whole	
  class	
  to	
  defy	
  me.	
  	
  They	
  began	
  to	
  overturn	
  the	
  place.	
  I	
  judged	
  it	
  crucial	
  not	
  to	
  give	
  up	
  and	
  to	
  affirm	
  my	
  authority.	
  	
  I	
  was	
  afraid	
  to	
  let	
  them	
  go	
  because	
  it	
  would	
  give	
  them	
  the	
  impression	
  that	
  they	
  were	
  in	
  control.	
  	
  It	
  was	
  the	
  group	
  against	
  my	
  authority	
  and	
  I	
  had	
  to	
  win.	
  	
  So	
  I	
  stayed	
  there,	
  not	
  moving,	
  with	
  the	
  toughest	
  look	
  I	
  could	
  retrieve	
  from	
  my	
  darkest	
  side.	
  	
  Lydia	
  began	
  to	
  poke	
  me.	
  The	
  class	
  burst	
  into	
  laughter.	
  	
  I	
  did	
  not	
  move.	
  	
  She	
  poked	
  me	
  harder	
  and	
  harder	
  everywhere,	
  my	
  face,	
  my	
  breasts.	
  Her	
  pokes	
  turned	
  into	
  punches	
  into	
  my	
  stomach.	
  	
  She	
  was	
  hurting	
  me	
  but	
  I	
  refused	
  to	
  move.	
  	
  As	
  she	
  was	
  hitting,	
  I	
  remembered	
  asking	
  for	
  help	
  in	
  my	
  mind.	
  	
  I	
  had	
  to	
  be	
  strong.	
  	
  I	
   	
   41	
   must	
  have	
  finally	
  given	
  up	
  and	
  called	
  the	
  office,	
  or	
  maybe	
  I	
  didn’t	
  call,	
  but	
  the	
  Inuit	
  vice-­‐principal	
  appeared,	
  momentarily	
  stopping	
  the	
  escalating	
  violence…Our	
  pain	
  was	
  mutually	
  understandable;	
  so	
  we	
  hurt	
  each	
  other	
  more,	
  not	
  knowing	
  any	
  better.	
  (p97-­‐98)	
  	
  Pedagogy	
  of	
  the	
  lukuapik	
  Civil	
  servant	
  Qallunaat	
  identity,	
  and	
  by	
  extension	
  teachers	
  as	
  professionals,	
  locks	
  individuals	
  into	
  either	
  “on-­‐duty”	
  (public)	
  or	
  “off-­‐duty”	
  (private)	
  as	
  Paine	
  (1977)	
  has	
  observed.	
  	
  While	
  on-­‐duty	
  teachers	
  may	
  wish	
  to	
  maintain	
  an	
  image	
  of	
  being	
  organized,	
  confident	
  and	
  in	
  control,	
  such	
  as	
  Desautels	
  was	
  trying	
  to	
  enact,	
  but	
  things	
  can	
  back	
  fire.	
  	
  From	
  what	
  I	
  learned	
  in	
  the	
  village	
  where	
  I	
  worked,	
  teachers	
  are	
  frequently	
  considered	
  by	
  Inuit	
  to	
  be	
  lukuapik,	
  which	
  means	
  perfect	
  or	
  strict.	
  	
  “The	
  worst	
  feeling,”	
  comments	
  David,	
  a	
  teacher	
  featured	
  in	
  Mueller’s	
  study	
  “is	
  about	
  proving	
  myself.	
  	
  It	
  would	
  be	
  a	
  lot	
  easier	
  for	
  me,	
  and	
  a	
  lot	
  easier	
  for	
  them	
  if	
  we	
  didn’t	
  have	
  this	
  kind	
  of	
  relationship.	
  	
  They	
  always	
  tell	
  me	
  that	
  I	
  am	
  “lukuapik”	
  [strict]”	
  (2006a,	
  p.245).	
  	
  Within	
  a	
  school	
  there	
  are	
  varying	
  degrees	
  of	
  lukuapik	
  among	
  Qallunaat	
  teachers.	
  	
  	
  I	
  found	
  my	
  own	
  positionality	
  fluctuated	
  over	
  the	
  years	
  depending	
  on	
  the	
  class	
  and	
  the	
  time	
  of	
  year.	
  	
  Like	
  Tompkins	
  (1998)	
  and	
  Desautels	
  (2008)	
  I	
  shared	
  a	
  belief	
  that	
  students	
  “misbehave	
  due	
  to	
  problematic	
  planning”	
  (Tompkins,	
  1998,	
  p.72).	
  	
  I	
  would	
  reflect	
  and	
  readjust	
  my	
  lessons	
  endlessly	
  but	
  this	
  would	
  not	
  necessarily	
  change	
  the	
  outcome.	
  	
  Here	
  is	
  an	
  excerpt	
  from	
  my	
  journal	
  written	
  after	
  my	
  second	
  year:	
     	
   42	
   Aug.09/09  I want to reflect about this coming school year and what I may have learned from the past two years that will help me navigate this year. The question of motivation and learning comes to mind.  Last year’s class was difficult to motivate.  I think the reason why depends as much on them as it does on me.  My planning was weak and mostly short sighted- we did not do project work with the exception of the imovie we made in the final month of school… Planning needs to be emphasized this year.  I need to have monthly, weekly, term goals.  Both for myself and for the kids to have so they can see the progression- if you dare to call it that.”	
  	
  	
  In	
  order	
  to	
  improve	
  motivation	
  I	
  believed	
  I	
  needed	
  to	
  be	
  more	
  organized	
  and	
  planned	
  out.	
  	
  I	
  was	
  one	
  of	
  “[t]hose	
  same	
  teachers	
  who,	
  in	
  August	
  …	
  talked	
  about	
  child-­‐centred	
  learning	
  and	
  creating	
  a	
  positive,	
  nurturing	
  environment	
  where	
  every	
  child	
  can	
  learn,	
  [slowly	
  turn	
  into]	
  the	
  [one]	
  wanting	
  the	
  school	
  to	
  become	
  tougher	
  in	
  discipline,	
  and	
  to	
  start	
  expelling	
  children”	
  (Tompkins,	
  1999,	
  p.96).	
  	
  My	
  style	
  was	
  becoming	
  “controlled	
  but	
  ineffective.”	
  	
  My	
  on-­‐duty	
  teacher	
  identity	
  of	
  being	
  organized	
  and	
  confident	
  and	
  in	
  control	
  was	
  ineffective.	
  	
  My	
  off-­‐duty	
  identity,	
  which	
  was	
  private,	
  concealed	
  vulnerabilities	
  and	
  flaws,	
  which	
  I	
  felt	
  were	
  not	
  beneficial	
  to	
  my	
  professional	
  identity.	
  	
  	
  The	
  two	
  conflicted	
  and	
  I	
  found	
  it	
  hard	
  to	
  justify	
  them.	
  	
  I	
  felt	
  I	
  needed	
  to	
  maintain	
  a	
  flawless	
  persona	
  in	
  the	
  classroom,	
  which	
  just	
  wasn’t	
  the	
  case.	
  	
  I	
  knew	
  it;	
  the	
  problem	
  I	
  encountered	
  was	
  that	
  the	
  classroom	
  extended	
  beyond	
  the	
  confines	
  of	
  the	
  school.	
  	
  I	
  realized	
  there	
  was	
  no	
  distinction	
  between	
  who	
  I	
  was	
  in	
  the	
  class	
  and	
  who	
  I	
  was	
  at	
  home	
  or	
  in	
  the	
  village.	
  	
  All	
  that	
  changed	
  was	
  the	
  image	
  I	
  wanted	
  my	
  students	
  to	
  see.	
  	
  Being	
  in	
  a	
  small	
  place	
  you	
  are	
  never	
  off	
  duty.	
  	
  	
  	
   	
   43	
   Transformation	
  through	
  crisis	
  	
  I	
  remember	
  one	
  day	
  in	
  the	
  first	
  term	
  of	
  my	
  first	
  year	
  I	
  snapped.	
  	
  I	
  screamed	
  at	
  the	
  class	
  and	
  threw	
  a	
  piece	
  of	
  chalk	
  across	
  the	
  room	
  hitting	
  the	
  far	
  wall.	
  	
  I’d	
  become	
  exasperated	
  and	
  frustrated	
  with	
  my	
  student’s	
  apathy	
  and	
  resistance	
  to	
  my	
  tutelage.	
  	
  	
  After	
  that	
  incident	
  I	
  realized	
  I	
  had	
  gone	
  too	
  far	
  and	
  was	
  becoming	
  someone	
  I	
  didn’t	
  want	
  to	
  be.	
  	
  I	
  didn’t	
  like	
  this	
  person	
  I	
  was	
  turning	
  into.	
  	
  I	
  began	
  to	
  see	
  my	
  role	
  differently	
  after	
  this	
  incident	
  and	
  my	
  identity	
  as	
  a	
  teacher	
  began	
  to	
  shift.	
  	
  As	
  Desautels	
  (2008)	
  noticed	
  in	
  her	
  own	
  practice,	
  “Suddenly,	
  my	
  stories	
  of	
  neat	
  line	
  ups	
  and	
  keeping	
  insubordinate	
  children	
  from	
  going	
  to	
  recess	
  became	
  symptomatic	
  of	
  a	
  problem	
  and	
  were	
  no	
  longer	
  signs	
  of	
  success”	
  (p.	
  72).	
  	
  This	
  realization	
  becomes	
  for	
  some	
  a	
  very	
  disorientating	
  “crisis	
  of	
  identity”	
  (Mueller,	
  2006a,	
  p.	
  247)	
  and	
  leads	
  teachers	
  to	
  question	
  their	
  role	
  in	
  the	
  North.	
  For	
  some	
  it	
  makes	
  them	
  more	
  controlling,	
  while	
  for	
  others	
  it	
  makes	
  them	
  apathetic	
  and	
  unengaged.	
  	
  Personally,	
  I	
  found	
  I	
  became	
  more	
  focused	
  on	
  connecting	
  with	
  my	
  students	
  and	
  learning	
  from	
  them.	
  	
  I	
  wanted	
  to	
  learn	
  about	
  their	
  language	
  and	
  culture	
  and	
  make	
  this	
  a	
  part	
  of	
  the	
  classroom.	
  	
  I	
  used	
  contextual	
  experiences	
  in	
  their	
  life	
  as	
  starting	
  points	
  for	
  learning	
  and	
  teachable	
  moments.	
  	
  When	
  a	
  beluga	
  was	
  caught	
  and	
  the	
  whole	
  village	
  participated	
  in	
  the	
  catch	
  and	
  harvest	
  this	
  became	
  an	
  opportunity	
  for	
  my	
  students	
  to	
  write	
  about	
  the	
  experience	
  from	
  their	
  perspective.	
  	
  I	
  tried	
  to	
  integrate	
  Inuktitut	
  into	
  the	
  classroom	
  rather	
  than	
  exclude	
  it.	
  	
  Where	
  some	
  teachers	
  felt	
  it	
  was	
  a	
  distraction	
  from	
  learning	
  English	
  I	
  felt	
  it	
  allowed	
  students	
  to	
  scaffold	
  their	
  learning.	
  	
  I	
  found	
  myself	
  sharing	
  more	
  of	
  who	
  I	
  was	
  personally.	
  	
  My	
  interests	
  in	
  the	
  land	
  became	
  a	
  shared	
  topic	
  between	
  us.	
  	
  I	
  had	
  much	
  to	
  learn.	
  	
  I	
  included	
  my	
  teaching	
  assistants	
  in	
  team	
  teaching	
  of	
  lessons	
  and	
  began	
  to	
  learn	
  by	
  observation	
  how	
  they	
  interacted	
  with	
  students.	
  	
  	
   	
   44	
   I	
  became	
  less	
  committed	
  to	
  my	
  southern	
  best	
  practice	
  pedagogical	
  methods.	
  	
  	
  My	
  imagined	
  professional	
  identity	
  as	
  “perfect	
  teacher”	
  flawless	
  and	
  complete	
  began	
  to	
  shift	
  and	
  I	
  consciously	
  began	
  seeing	
  my	
  vulnerabilities	
  and	
  imperfections	
  as	
  a	
  learner	
  of	
  Inuit	
  culture	
  in	
  this	
  place	
  as	
  opportunities	
  for	
  connecting	
  with	
  my	
  students.	
  The	
  need	
  to	
  be	
  perfect	
  was	
  let	
  go	
  of.	
  	
  	
  	
   The	
  need	
  to	
  fix	
  my	
  perceived	
  deficiencies	
  in	
  both	
  my	
  students	
  and	
  self	
  shifted	
  to	
  one	
  of	
  being	
  more	
  aware	
  of	
  our	
  shared	
  struggles.	
  	
  It	
  sounds	
  cliché	
  but	
  I	
  looked	
  to	
  walk	
  with	
  my	
  students	
  rather	
  than	
  guide	
  them.	
  	
  The	
  process	
  became	
  more	
  important	
  than	
  the	
  outcome.	
  In	
  many	
  respects	
  I	
  began	
  to	
  allow	
  my	
  students	
  to	
  teach	
  me	
  how	
  to	
  teach	
  them.	
  	
  In	
  a	
  constructivist	
  way	
  I	
  saw	
  my	
  role	
  as	
  embracing	
  the	
  cracks	
  rather	
  than	
  paving	
  over	
  them.	
  	
  I	
  became	
  less	
  attached	
  to	
  a	
  rescuer	
  identity,	
  which	
  Rasmussen	
  (2001)	
  attaches	
  to	
  Euro	
  Canadian	
  government	
  officials	
  and	
  educators	
  self	
  perceived	
  role.	
  	
  My	
  crisis	
  in	
  identity	
  lead	
  me	
  further	
  into	
  self	
  reflexivity	
  and	
  further	
  away	
  from	
  wanting	
  to	
  “help”	
  or	
  change	
  people.	
  	
  Rather	
  than	
  constraining	
  or	
  unprofessional	
  I	
  found	
  this	
  approach	
  to	
  be	
  liberating.	
  	
  Seeing	
  your	
  own	
  life	
  as	
  problematic	
  is	
  humbling.	
  Allowing	
  others	
  to	
  see	
  it	
  is	
  stepping	
  into	
  vulnerability.	
  	
  Sharing	
  this	
  vulnerability	
  with	
  others	
  is	
  the	
  essence	
  of	
  intimacy.	
  	
  	
       	
   45	
   Journal Entry October 7, 2007 I went to a party with [my wife] on Friday night.  All the teachers were there and a few Inuit teachers.   The place was bopping-everyone was drinking and dancing and smoking.  Outside the cold stars dotted the sky, silently, patiently twinkling.  I only drank five beer and was loaded.  The next morning I woke up hung over.  I blame the latitude on my intolerance. Last night we went up stairs to Luc and Josie’s for a fondue.  We talked mostly in English and though I enjoyed their company I could feel their strain of speaking in a second language and the ease with which they could switch back and forth with one another- it made me sad that I could not speak to them in French. The tide is out.  The muddy Bay is glistening still wet.  The orange tamarack line the perimeter of the shore.  The Inuit are a mystery.  They live in another realm- they communicate with the seal and caribou and talk to the Nigli [geese] as they fly overhead.  My students make birdcalls with their hands almost as much as they speak English.  They are living closer to an unspoken truth than we white men can ever dream.  We, I envy their magic. I envy the unspoken knowledge they carry in their DNA, in their sinew and in the ribosome of their cells.  They are not different they are just different, just as the landscape and sky and ever changing Tundra is different.  My job is to change them?  To educate them?  To give them language- to teach them to express themselves?  But they already have all this.  How is my world relevant to theirs?  We are two worlds colliding and some of my kids just know better.  A torn blue tarp flaps in the wind- held in place on a roof of a shed by a rusted nail.  It flaps against the black shingles in the cold north wind.  Inside the Inuit families are asleep dreaming of caribou and booze and distant hunting grounds their ancestors once lived off of.  The caribou don’t come to George River any more- they don’t have to – the Northern and Co-op have taken their place. Why	
  do	
  I	
  frame	
  Inuit	
  in	
  this	
  romanticized	
  poetic	
  light?	
  	
  	
  Why	
  do	
  I	
  envy	
  them?	
  	
  Their	
  connection	
  to	
  the	
  land	
  and	
  nature	
  that	
  I	
  observed	
  echoes	
  a	
  way	
  of	
  life	
  that	
  appeals	
  to	
  my	
  romantic	
  sensibility.	
  	
  It	
  awakens	
  my	
  own	
  childhood	
  memories	
  of	
  living	
  on	
  the	
  land	
   	
   46	
   in	
  Northern	
  Ontario.	
  	
  But	
  I	
  know	
  this	
  sentimental	
  image	
  isn’t	
  entirely	
  real.	
  The	
  noble	
  savage	
  living	
  in	
  a	
  pristine	
  tabula-­‐	
  rasa	
  wilderness	
  is	
  disrupted	
  by	
  the	
  allusion	
  to	
  alcoholism	
  and	
  the	
  image	
  of	
  a	
  land	
  where	
  the	
  Northern	
  and	
  Co-­‐op	
  have	
  replaced	
  subsistence	
  hunting.	
  	
  Like	
  the	
  torn	
  blue	
  tarp	
  flapping	
  in	
  the	
  wind,	
  life	
  here	
  is	
  tenuous	
  and	
  fragile.	
  	
  It	
  could	
  blow	
  away	
  at	
  any	
  moment,	
  held	
  only	
  by	
  a	
  single	
  rusted	
  nail.	
  Why	
  is	
  it	
  I	
  want	
  to	
  objectify	
  Inuit	
  and	
  know	
  their	
  dreams?	
  	
  What	
  do	
  I	
  know	
  of	
  them	
  after	
  living	
  here	
  for	
  only	
  two	
  months?	
  Why	
  am	
  I	
  so	
  ready	
  to	
  abandon	
  my	
  own	
  abilities,	
  my	
  own	
  world	
  view.	
  	
  I	
  assume	
  I	
  know	
  my	
  Inuit	
  neighbours	
  but	
  the	
  truth	
  is	
  I	
  haven’t	
  spent	
  any	
  time	
  in	
  any	
  of	
  their	
  homes	
  at	
  this	
  point.	
  	
  I’m	
  a	
  stranger	
  here	
  and	
  yet	
  I	
  assume	
  a	
  role	
  of	
  knowing.	
  But	
  what	
  do	
  I	
  know	
  of	
  the	
  Northern	
  and	
  Co-­‐op?	
  	
  What	
  is	
  the	
  history	
  of	
  this	
  village?	
  	
  Where	
  have	
  I	
  constructed	
  this	
  knowledge	
  of	
  alcoholism	
  after	
  only	
  a	
  couple	
  of	
  months?	
  	
  Have	
  I	
  seen	
  it?	
  	
  Am	
  I	
  a	
  part	
  of	
  it?	
  	
  What	
  is	
  the	
  colonial	
  legacy?	
  Do	
  I	
  even	
  know	
  the	
  word	
  colonialism?	
  	
  In	
  my	
  journals	
  I	
  never	
  see	
  it	
  used.	
  	
  	
  In	
  fact	
  before	
  coming	
  to	
  The	
  University	
  of	
  British	
  Columbia	
  I	
  never	
  contemplated	
  colonialism	
  and	
  yet	
  my	
  journal	
  is	
  riddled	
  with	
  descriptions	
  of	
  the	
  effects.	
  	
  At	
  one	
  point	
  I	
  suggest	
  my	
  students	
  who	
  are	
  resistant	
  to	
  my	
  Southern	
  role	
  as	
  teacher	
  in	
  the	
  North	
  are	
  so	
  because	
  they	
  don’t	
  see	
  the	
  usefulness	
  of	
  my	
  teachings.	
  	
  They	
  know	
  better	
  than	
  to	
  follow	
  my	
  ways	
  in	
  this	
  place.	
  	
  I	
  don’t	
  blame	
  them.	
  	
  I	
  begin	
  to	
  question	
  my	
  own	
  role	
  in	
  light	
  of	
  this	
  belief.	
  	
  Do	
  I	
  believe	
  this	
  place	
  has	
  no	
  place	
  for	
  my	
  Southern	
  ways?	
  	
  If	
  so	
  why	
  am	
  I	
  still	
  here?	
  	
  My	
  impressions	
  recorded	
  in	
  my	
  journal	
  after	
  less	
  than	
  two	
  months	
  of	
  being	
  in	
  the	
  village	
  reveal	
  the	
  combined	
  duality	
  of	
  knowing	
  and	
  being	
  a	
  stranger	
  that	
  Susan	
  Dion	
  suggests	
  is	
  inherent	
  amongst	
  non-­‐Indigenous	
  teachers.	
  	
  We	
  confess	
  a	
  perfect	
  stranger	
  identity,	
  which	
  conceals	
  a	
  constructed	
  knowledge	
  based	
  on	
  dominant	
  discourses.	
  	
  I	
  had	
   	
   47	
   come	
  to	
  the	
  North	
  thinking	
  I	
  didn’t	
  know	
  Inuit	
  or	
  about	
  their	
  culture	
  and	
  history;	
  that	
  I	
  was	
  a	
  stranger.	
  	
  In	
  truth,	
  I	
  was	
  unconscious	
  of	
  the	
  beliefs	
  I	
  had	
  already	
  constructed	
  based	
  on	
  what	
  I	
  had	
  read	
  in	
  the	
  paper	
  or	
  heard	
  on	
  the	
  news	
  or	
  seen	
  in	
  popular	
  culture.	
  Dion	
  (2007)	
  writes,	
  	
  “Dominant	
  stories	
  that	
  position	
  Aboriginal	
  people	
  as,	
  for	
  example,	
  romanticized,	
  mythical,	
  victimized,	
  or	
  militant	
  Other,	
  enable	
  non-­‐Aboriginal	
  people	
  to	
  position	
  themselves	
  as	
  respectful	
  admirer,	
  moral	
  helper,	
  protector,	
  of	
  law	
  and	
  order”	
  (p.334).	
  My	
  journal	
  reflects	
  this	
  early	
  connection.	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
   	
   	
   48	
   Section	
  5:	
  	
  Qallunaat	
  problems	
   	
  In	
  this	
  section	
  I	
  explore	
  my	
  own	
  problems	
  with	
  living	
  in	
  this	
  place	
  in	
  relation	
  to	
  other	
  Qallunaat.	
  	
  Much	
  of	
  the	
  literature	
  speaks	
  to	
  cultural	
  difference	
  as	
  the	
  reason	
  why	
  teachers	
  leave	
  communities.	
  	
  I	
  want	
  to	
  expand	
  on	
  this	
  and	
  look	
  at	
  other	
  possibilities	
  from	
  my	
  own	
  experience	
  such	
  as	
  isolation	
  and	
  relations	
  among	
  White	
  teachers.	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  Isolation,	
  cabin	
  fever	
  and	
  cliques	
  Harper	
  (2000)	
  touches	
  on	
  the	
  social	
  relations	
  among	
  Qallunaat	
  teachers	
  quoting	
  one	
  as	
  saying,	
  “	
  ‘When	
  I	
  got	
  here,	
  there	
  were	
  several	
  other	
  teachers	
  I	
  had	
  gone	
  to	
  teachers’	
  college	
  with.	
  	
  It	
  was	
  all	
  our	
  first	
  year	
  and	
  we	
  knew	
  each	
  other	
  so	
  that	
  it	
  was	
  a	
  nice	
  support	
  system.’	
  However,	
  one	
  teacher	
  offered	
  a	
  cautionary	
  note,	
  warning	
  that	
  this	
  support	
  system	
  can	
  become	
  too	
  insular:	
  ‘Now	
  I	
  know	
  that	
  the	
  teachers	
  have	
  little	
  groups,	
  and	
  they	
  isolate	
  themselves…They’re	
  very	
  ‘into’	
  their	
  own	
  little	
  groups”	
  (p.147).	
  	
  Although	
  Harper	
  introduces	
  the	
  notion	
  of	
  clique	
  and	
  how	
  new	
  teachers	
  bond	
  together	
  and	
  socialize	
  together	
  furthering	
  the	
  stereotype,	
  in	
  the	
  literature,	
  of	
  happy	
  groups	
  of	
  teachers	
  keeping	
  to	
  themselves	
  she	
  ignores	
  the	
  tensions	
  that	
  exist	
  within	
  the	
  Qallunaat	
  community	
  preferring	
  instead	
  to	
  maintain	
  an	
  oppositional	
  Qallunaat/Inuit	
  binary	
  much	
  as	
  Mueller	
  (2006a;	
  2006b)	
  does	
  with	
  her	
  discussion	
  around	
  social	
  distancing	
  or	
  John	
  Taylor’s	
  (1995)	
  views	
  on	
  culture	
  shock	
  or	
  Fuzessy’s	
  (2003)	
  cultural	
  dissonance	
  theory.	
  	
  Over	
  and	
  over	
  again	
  the	
  binary	
  message	
  is	
  reproduced.	
  	
  One	
  that	
  says	
  Qallunaat	
  and	
  Inuit	
  or	
  non-­‐Indigenous	
  and	
  Indigenous	
  are	
  too	
  different	
  culturally,	
  and	
  this	
  is	
  what	
  causes	
  teacher	
  ineffectiveness	
  and	
  ultimately	
  their	
  leaving	
  the	
  North	
  after	
  one	
  or	
  two	
   	
   49	
   years.	
  	
  	
  I	
  don’t	
  discount	
  or	
  refute	
  the	
  claims	
  by	
  these	
  scholars.	
  	
  However	
  much	
  of	
  there	
  work	
  focuses	
  on	
  new	
  teachers	
  or	
  teachers	
  in	
  their	
  first	
  year	
  or	
  two	
  of	
  teaching	
  in	
  the	
  North.	
  	
  	
  This	
  is	
  not	
  to	
  say	
  that	
  cultural	
  differences	
  automatically	
  disappear	
  over	
  time,	
  but	
  rather	
  the	
  differences	
  may	
  become	
  more	
  complex	
  over	
  time	
  as	
  both	
  individual	
  Qallunaat	
  and	
  Inuit	
  get	
  to	
  know	
  one	
  another	
  beyond	
  “molded	
  images”	
  as	
  Dion	
  (2007)	
  calls	
  it.	
  	
  	
  Margaret	
  Himley	
  (2004)	
  in	
  her	
  work	
  entitled	
  Facing	
  (up	
  to)	
  the	
  stranger	
  applies	
  Sara	
  Ahmed’s	
  (2001)	
  theories	
  on	
  Stranger	
  fetishism	
  to	
  explain	
  relations	
  between	
  ethnographers	
  and	
  community	
  members	
  in	
  service	
  learning	
  settings.	
  	
  Himley	
  writes:	
  	
  Perhaps	
  this	
  dance	
  of	
  distance	
  and	
  proximity,	
  dis-­‐identification	
  and	
  identification,	
  disrupts	
  the	
  fetishizing	
  of	
  the	
  stranger	
  because	
  there	
  is	
  time	
  for	
  relationships	
  to	
  form,	
  for	
  all	
  of	
  the	
  participants	
  to	
  exceed	
  their	
  initial	
  constructions	
  of	
  each	
  as	
  they	
  get	
  to	
  know	
  each	
  other	
  in	
  situated	
  and	
  particular	
  and,	
  perhaps,	
  surprising	
  ways.	
  (2004,	
  p.	
  427)	
  	
  	
  She	
  illuminates	
  how	
  going	
  beyond	
  these	
  molded	
  images	
  is	
  predicated	
  on	
  both	
  the	
  researcher	
  and	
  participants	
  developing	
  mutual	
  understandings	
  of	
  each	
  other	
  and	
  relationships.	
  	
  I	
  share	
  in	
  her	
  view;	
  as	
  I	
  have	
  tried	
  to	
  illustrate	
  in	
  this	
  paper,	
  I	
  believe	
  the	
  reasons	
  for	
  teachers	
  leaving	
  the	
  North	
  are	
  far	
  more	
  complex.	
  	
  Research	
  points	
  mainly	
  to	
  the	
  cultural	
  difference	
  model	
  as	
  the	
  reason	
  ignoring	
  the	
  stratification	
  with	
  in	
  the	
  Qallunaat	
  communities.	
  	
  The	
  deficiency	
  model	
  and	
  problems	
  between	
  ethnicities	
  have	
  been	
  cited	
  but	
  what	
  of	
  the	
  problems	
  with	
  and	
  among	
  Qallunaat	
  in	
  the	
  North?	
  	
  Eva,	
  a	
  new	
  teacher	
  in	
  Mueller’s	
  study	
  (2006a),	
  confesses	
  during	
  her	
  initial	
  five	
  weeks	
  of	
  living	
  in	
  the	
  North,	
  “I’m	
  just	
  a	
  bit	
  lost…I	
  just	
  feel	
  up	
  and	
  down.	
  	
  I	
  am	
  starting	
  to	
  lose	
  myself…Sometimes	
  I	
  wonder	
  if	
  it	
  is	
  not	
  because	
  [Inuit]	
  finding	
  themselves	
  lost	
  that	
  we	
   	
   50	
   are	
  lost	
  in	
  what	
  we	
  have	
  to	
  do”	
  (p.248).	
  	
  Could	
  it	
  be	
  a	
  more	
  productive	
  statement	
  to	
  suggest	
  that	
  maybe	
  it	
  is	
  because	
  Qallunaat	
  are	
  lost	
  that	
  Inuit	
  are	
  lost	
  in	
  what	
  they	
  have	
  to	
  do?	
  	
  Again	
  the	
  dichotomy	
  between	
  Qallunaat	
  as	
  unproblematic	
  and	
  Inuit	
  as	
  problematic	
  is	
  presented	
  by	
  Eva’s	
  comment.	
  	
  With	
  time,	
  teachers	
  may	
  be	
  willing	
  to	
  move	
  past	
  this	
  representation.	
  	
  Perhaps	
  some	
  are	
  never	
  willing	
  to	
  see	
  themselves	
  as	
  deficient	
  or	
  flawed	
  and	
  prefer	
  to	
  make	
  that	
  someone	
  else’s	
  identity.	
  	
  	
  In	
  The	
  White	
  North	
  (1977)	
  Paine	
  asks	
  why	
  aren’t	
  Qallunaat	
  getting	
  along,	
  instead	
  of	
  asking	
  the	
  more	
  common,	
  why	
  are	
  Qallunaat	
  and	
  Inuit	
  not	
  getting	
  along?	
  Here	
  we	
  have	
  a	
  much	
  more	
  complex	
  picture.	
  	
  We	
  see	
  cliques	
  among	
  Qallunaat	
  as	
  being	
  comprised	
  of	
  “old	
  timers”	
  and	
  “new	
  comers”	
  and	
  a	
  dialogue	
  amongst	
  them,	
  which	
  is	
  described	
  as	
  “gossip.”	
  	
  “Old-­‐timers”	
  generally	
  did	
  not	
  take	
  new	
  comers	
  seriously	
  before	
  they	
  managed	
  to	
  get	
  through	
  their	
  first	
  winter	
  and	
  return	
  after	
  their	
  first	
  summer	
  holiday”	
  (Koster,	
  1977,	
  p.159).	
  	
  From	
  my	
  experience	
  I	
  found	
  veteran	
  teachers	
  took	
  an	
  initial	
  interest	
  in	
  new	
  comers	
  but	
  quickly	
  decided	
  upon	
  their	
  initial	
  deductions	
  whether	
  or	
  not	
  to	
  invest	
  energy	
  in	
  getting	
  to	
  know	
  them	
  further.	
  	
  While	
  many	
  teachers	
  and	
  other	
  Qallunaat	
  maintained	
  a	
  public	
  identity	
  that	
  appeared	
  unproblematic,	
  “off-­‐duty”	
  or	
  within	
  their	
  private	
  sphere,	
  things	
  are	
  often	
  very	
  different.	
  	
  Teachers	
  may	
  experience	
  marital	
  or	
  relationship	
  problems	
  as	
  well	
  as	
  professional	
  conflicts	
  with	
  other	
  Qallunaat	
  teachers	
  that	
  for	
  the	
  most	
  part	
  are	
  concealed	
  from	
  view,	
  while	
  Inuit	
  student	
  and	
  family	
  problems	
  are	
  openly	
  on	
  display.	
  	
  Paine	
  explains:	
  	
  rather	
  than	
  the	
  (not	
  unrelated)	
  occurrence	
  of	
  cabin	
  fever,	
  that	
  marks	
  sociologically	
  the	
  small	
  white	
  communities	
  in	
  the	
  north.	
  	
  By	
  this	
  reduction	
  (socially)	
  of	
  the	
  already	
  small	
  number	
  of	
  white	
  persons	
  who	
  are	
  available	
   	
   51	
   to	
  each	
  other,	
  the	
  spaceship	
  conditions	
  become	
  still	
  more	
  accentuated,	
  and	
  white	
  relations	
  across	
  a	
  settlement	
  become	
  injected	
  with	
  the	
  animus	
  of	
  hostility	
  and	
  secrecy.	
  (1977,	
  p.	
  89)	
  	
  	
  Paine’s	
  use	
  of	
  the	
  spaceship	
  metaphor	
  to	
  describe	
  life	
  for	
  many	
  Qallunaat	
  in	
  the	
  North	
  is	
  predicated	
  on	
  the	
  reality	
  that	
  much	
  of	
  people’s	
  time	
  during	
  the	
  winter	
  months	
  are	
  spent	
  indoors.	
  	
  Paine	
  also	
  notices,	
  as	
  I	
  have,	
  how	
  one	
  clique	
  forms	
  around	
  the	
  administrator.	
  	
  In	
  my	
  village	
  this	
  was	
  true	
  but	
  other	
  cliques	
  involved	
  linguistic	
  French	
  and	
  English	
  as	
  well.	
  	
  Members	
  who	
  crossed	
  over	
  cliques	
  and	
  in	
  between	
  cliques	
  generally	
  maintained	
  positions	
  relative	
  to	
  the	
  centre.	
  Those	
  who	
  had	
  been	
  in	
  the	
  village	
  teaching	
  more	
  than	
  ten	
  years	
  formed	
  an	
  old-­‐timer	
  clique,	
  which	
  then	
  splintered	
  into	
  other	
  cliques	
  when	
  disagreements	
  or	
  jealousies	
  arose	
  between	
  them.	
  	
  “Whites	
  [arrange]	
  each	
  other	
  in	
  an	
  invisible	
  hierarchy	
  with	
  positions	
  determined	
  by	
  whether	
  or	
  not	
  [Inuit]	
  like	
  them…	
  They	
  frequently	
  denigrate	
  colleagues	
  by	
  saying,	
  ‘The	
  [Inuit]	
  don’t	
  like	
  him,	
  you	
  know’”(Paine,	
  1977,	
  p.87).	
  The	
  “in”	
  clique	
  in	
  our	
  school	
  was	
  grouped	
  around	
  an	
  administrative	
  old-­‐timer	
  couple;	
  he	
  was	
  Qallunaat	
  she	
  was	
  Inuit.	
  	
  Together	
  they	
  maintained	
  a	
  social	
  circle	
  that	
  maintained	
  the	
  relations	
  between	
  cliques	
  but	
  also	
  communication	
  between	
  the	
  community	
  and	
  the	
  school.	
  	
  Living	
  in	
  the	
  village	
  I	
  felt	
  I	
  was	
  positioned	
  on	
  the	
  edges	
  of	
  a	
  number	
  of	
  teacher	
  and	
  in	
  general	
  Qallunaat	
  cliques.	
  	
  The	
  English	
  Canadians	
  clique.	
  The	
  new	
  teacher	
  clique	
  and	
  later	
  experienced	
  teacher	
  clique.	
  	
  The	
  men’s	
  clique.	
  	
  The	
  Family	
  clique.	
  The	
  elementary	
  clique.	
  	
  In	
  a	
  generalized	
  sense	
  it	
  felt	
  as	
  if	
  these	
  social	
  relations	
  were	
  experiencing	
  an	
  “arrested	
  development”.	
  	
  Many	
  of	
  the	
  “old	
  timers”	
  who	
  had	
  arrived	
  from	
  the	
  South	
  after	
  teacher’s	
  college	
  had	
  not	
  developed	
  beyond	
  what	
  I	
  recognized	
  as	
  teenager	
  or	
  undergraduate	
  behaviour.	
  	
  Earlier	
  I	
   	
   52	
   described	
  a	
  night	
  out	
  of	
  socializing	
  in	
  which	
  this	
  behaviour	
  becomes	
  epitomized.	
  	
  I	
  felt	
  comfortable	
  among	
  all	
  my	
  colleges	
  but	
  more	
  so	
  among	
  those	
  not	
  in	
  the	
  inner	
  clique.	
  	
  I	
  always	
  felt	
  that	
  our	
  friendship	
  was	
  predicated	
  on	
  this	
  loyalty	
  to	
  power	
  and	
  hierarchy	
  maintenance	
  of	
  which	
  I	
  never	
  felt	
  comfortable	
  adhering	
  to.	
  	
  As	
  a	
  result	
  my	
  social	
  network	
  was	
  limited	
  and	
  lacking	
  intimacy	
  among	
  other	
  Qallunaat	
  teachers.	
  	
  This	
  is	
  not	
  to	
  say	
  I	
  wasn’t	
  on	
  speaking	
  terms	
  just	
  that	
  I	
  never	
  felt	
  particularly	
  close	
  to	
  anyone.	
  	
  I	
  began	
  to	
  seek	
  other	
  friendships	
  outside	
  the	
  Qallunaat	
  teacher	
  cliques,	
  which	
  further	
  positioned	
  me	
  on	
  the	
  periphery	
  of	
  the	
  Qallunaat	
  social	
  world.	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  It	
  is	
  important	
  to	
  consider	
  causes	
  for	
  teacher	
  failure	
  and	
  reasons	
  for	
  leaving	
  the	
  North,	
  which	
  go	
  beyond	
  the	
  obvious	
  cultural	
  differences	
  model.	
  	
  Improving	
  Inuit	
  education	
  may	
  benefit	
  equally	
  from	
  addressing	
  concerns	
  with	
  in	
  the	
  Qallunaat	
  world.	
  	
  In	
  this	
  section	
  I	
  have	
  tried	
  to	
  address	
  these	
  concerns	
  from	
  my	
  own	
  experience.	
  	
  In	
  the	
  next	
  section	
  I’ll	
  continue	
  with	
  addressing	
  in	
  detail	
  other	
  reasons	
  why	
  we	
  left	
  the	
  North.	
  	
  My	
  wife	
  had	
  begun	
  to	
  suffer	
  from	
  isolation	
  both	
  socially	
  and	
  geographically.	
  	
  Cabin	
  fever	
  caused	
  tension	
  in	
  our	
  relationship.	
  	
  The	
  ambiguity	
  of	
  our	
  situation	
  and	
  the	
  pressure	
  we	
  felt	
  from	
  friends	
  and	
  family	
  to	
  relocate	
  to	
  the	
  South	
  also	
  contributed	
  to	
  our	
  decision.	
  But	
  it	
  was	
  our	
  two	
  sons’	
  education	
  that	
  worried	
  us	
  most.	
  	
  Were	
  we	
  being	
  negligent	
  in	
  depriving	
  them	
  of	
  their	
  own	
  socio-­‐cultural	
  background?	
  Should	
  we	
  return	
  home?	
  Was	
  there	
  a	
  home	
  to	
  return	
  to?	
          	
   53	
   Today we love what tomorrow we hate; today we seek what tomorrow we shun; today we desire what tomorrow we fear, nay, even tremble at the apprehensions of.   -(Robinson Crusoe)  Journal entry from my third year in the village. 	
   Leaving	
  	
   “The	
  other	
  side	
  of	
  culture	
  shock	
  was	
  the	
  fear	
  of	
  a	
  few	
  teachers	
  that	
  they	
  might	
  adjust	
  too	
  well	
  to	
  life	
  in	
  the	
  remote	
  North…several	
  worried	
  about	
  their	
  ability	
  to	
  readjust	
  to	
  life	
  in	
  the	
  South”	
  (Harper,	
  2000,	
  p.151).	
  	
  Certainly	
  there	
  was	
  a	
  time	
  when	
  we	
  shared	
  this	
  same	
  fear;	
  that	
  we	
  might	
  adjust	
  too	
  well	
  to	
  life	
  in	
  the	
  North.	
  Over	
  time	
  it	
  became	
  clear	
  that	
  staying	
  wasn’t	
  a	
  sustainable	
  option.	
  	
  We	
  needed	
  to	
  return	
  to	
  what	
  we	
  called	
  at	
  the	
  time,	
  “our	
  own	
  culture.”	
  	
  Leaving	
  the	
  North	
  however	
  was	
  harder	
  than	
  getting	
  there.	
  	
  Finding	
  a	
  teaching	
  position	
  in	
  the	
  South	
  had	
  not	
  gotten	
  any	
  easier.	
  	
  Being	
  geographically	
  separated	
  made	
  it	
  harder.	
  	
  We	
  chose	
  British	
  Columbia	
  because	
  of	
  the	
  proximity	
  to	
  nature	
  and	
  the	
  city.	
  	
  We	
  liked	
  the	
  urban	
  and	
  wilderness;	
  both	
  were	
  familiar	
  places	
  to	
  us.	
  	
  We’ve	
  considered	
  UBC	
  a	
  transition	
  place	
  for	
  our	
  family.	
  	
  I’ve	
  gone	
  to	
  school	
  full	
  time	
  while	
  my	
  wife	
  has	
  been	
  teaching	
  locally	
  full	
  time.	
  	
  Our	
  boys	
  re-­‐entered	
  Southern	
  school.	
  	
  Tom	
  is	
  eight	
  now	
  and	
  Jesse	
  twelve.	
  	
  So	
  far,	
  a	
  year	
  later	
  the	
  plan	
  has	
  worked	
  out	
  but	
  it	
  hasn’t	
  been	
  as	
  easy	
  as	
  I	
  thought.	
  	
  Returning,	
  I	
  found	
  I	
  had	
  changed	
  after	
  four	
  years	
  of	
  life	
  in	
  the	
  North.	
  	
  In	
  fact,	
  we	
  all	
  had.	
  	
  We	
  weren’t	
  the	
  same	
  people	
  before	
  we	
  left,	
  which	
  is	
  strange	
  that	
  I	
  would	
  think	
  this.	
  	
  I	
  miss	
  the	
  village.	
  	
  I	
  miss	
  my	
  Inuit	
  friends	
  and	
  students.	
  	
  I	
  miss	
  the	
  land.	
  	
  And	
  yet	
  to	
  read	
  my	
  last	
  journal	
  entry	
  you’d	
  never	
  guess	
  it	
  was	
  true.	
  	
      	
   54	
   Journal Entry June 19, 2011 The school year has come to an end.  Tomorrow is hotdog day.  This is the last act of our time in the village.  [My wife] is stretching after her run-the rain is dripping on the roof. I’m feeling disconnected from events.  We’re moving, we’re starting over again in a new place and I don’t feel anything.  I’m tired from the past year- spending ten months with this class. I’m ready for a change.  Where we’ll live is an uncertainty. I may have to go to Vancouver early and find us a place.  I just feel like I have a thousand things to do before leaving.  I just want to take things slowly and not get over whelmed.  I’d like to say I’m going to miss this place. Unfortunately, apart from the land and a couple of people I don’t really feel like I will.  I think what I found up here was myself-mainly.  I’d lost touch with that and now I’d like to return from this self-imposed exile with some kind of focus certainty, belief in life and myself. I’m sure about that.	
  	
   	
   This	
  last	
  line	
  reads	
  with	
  naïve	
  self-­‐assuredness.	
  	
  I	
  am	
  not	
  really	
  sure	
  I	
  have	
  returned	
  from	
  self-­‐imposed	
  exile.	
  	
  Geographically	
  maybe,	
  but	
  I	
  am	
  not	
  so	
  sure	
  about	
  the	
  rest	
  of	
  me.	
  	
  It	
  is	
  true	
  I	
  went	
  through	
  feelings	
  of	
  guilt	
  around	
  leaving.	
  	
  I	
  have	
  questioned	
  at	
  different	
  times	
  throughout	
  the	
  year	
  the	
  choice	
  I’d	
  made	
  and	
  whether	
  it	
  was	
  the	
  right	
  one.	
  Having	
  been	
  away	
  and	
  coming	
  back	
  I	
  was	
  more	
  aware	
  of	
  my	
  own	
  white	
  culture	
  and	
  the	
  hidden	
  curriculum	
  it	
  embodies.	
  	
  Margaret	
  J.	
  Somerville	
  (2010)	
  quotes	
  her	
  Indigenous	
  participant,	
  Rose,	
  who:	
  	
  describes	
  this	
  sense	
  of	
  embodied	
  connection	
  between	
  people	
  and	
  place	
  as	
  ‘ecological	
  connectivity’,	
  based	
  on	
  ‘dialogical	
  interpenetration	
  between	
  people	
  and	
  place’.	
  She	
  believes	
  this	
  dialogical	
  relationship	
  between	
  people	
  and	
  place	
  opens	
  Aboriginal	
  and	
  non	
  Aboriginal	
  people	
  alike	
  to	
  the	
  embodied	
  materiality	
  of	
  places:	
  	
   	
   55	
   ‘The	
  country	
  that	
  gets	
  into	
  people’s	
  blood	
  invariably	
  contains	
  the	
  blood	
  and	
  sweat	
  of	
  Aboriginal	
  people	
  as	
  well	
  as	
  settlers.	
  	
  (p.337)	
  	
  In	
  this	
  sense	
  I	
  feel	
  as	
  if	
  my	
  time	
  in	
  the	
  North	
  was	
  worthwhile	
  and	
  necessary	
  for	
  my	
  own	
  development,	
  and	
  that	
  through	
  relationships	
  with	
  my	
  students	
  and	
  people	
  they	
  learned	
  as	
  much	
  from	
  me	
  as	
  I	
  learned	
  from	
  them.	
  	
  I	
  hope	
  my	
  Inuit	
  students	
  and	
  friends	
  benefited	
  as	
  much	
  as	
  I	
  have	
  felt	
  I	
  have	
  benefited	
  from	
  them.	
  	
  I	
  hope	
  that	
  my	
  blood	
  has	
  soaked	
  into	
  the	
  land	
  and	
  blood	
  of	
  those	
  I’ve	
  had	
  the	
  privilege	
  to	
  live	
  beside,	
  and	
  I	
  say	
  this	
  unequivocally	
  of	
  both	
  Qallunaat	
  and	
  Inuit.	
  	
  As	
  I	
  finish	
  my	
  degree	
  and	
  look	
  to	
  the	
  future	
  I	
  realize	
  my	
  experience	
  with	
  the	
  “cultural	
  interface”	
  as	
  Martin	
  Nakata	
  (2002)	
  understands	
  it	
  has	
  altered	
  and	
  influenced	
  my	
  perceptual	
  horizon.	
  	
  	
  	
   Conclusion	
  My	
  challenge,	
  as	
  I	
  see	
  it,	
  is	
  not	
  to	
  replace	
  what	
  I’ve	
  learned	
  in	
  the	
  North	
  with	
  what	
  I’m	
  learning	
  in	
  the	
  South	
  but	
  to	
  “maintain	
  the	
  continuity	
  of	
  one	
  when	
  having	
  to	
  harness	
  another…This	
  notion	
  of	
  the	
  Cultural	
  Interface	
  as	
  a	
  place	
  of	
  constant	
  tension	
  and	
  negotiation	
  of	
  different	
  interests	
  and	
  systems	
  of	
  Knowledge	
  means	
  that	
  both	
  must	
  be	
  reflected	
  on	
  and	
  interrogated”	
  (Nakata,	
  2002,	
  p.5-­‐6).	
  Joanne	
  Tompkins’	
  (1998),	
  Teaching	
  in	
  a	
  Cold	
  and	
  Windy	
  Place,	
  gives	
  principals	
  and	
  educators	
  numerous	
  examples	
  of	
  positive	
  change,	
  which	
  occurred	
  during	
  her	
  four	
  years	
  of	
  being	
  a	
  principal	
  in	
  an	
  Inuit	
  school.	
  	
  Although	
  these	
  are	
  beneficial	
  recommendations	
  for	
  educators	
  and	
  many	
  of	
  them	
  I	
  used	
  myself	
  and	
  had	
  witnessed	
  among	
  other	
  teachers	
  on	
  staff,	
  they	
  ultimately	
  suggested	
  that	
  change	
  occurs	
  through	
  this	
  professional	
  process	
  of	
  best	
  practices.	
  	
  It	
  is	
  appealing	
  to	
  educators.	
  	
  It	
  was	
  to	
  me	
  when	
  I	
   	
   56	
   first	
  attempted	
  reading	
  it	
  as	
  a	
  new	
  teacher	
  in	
  the	
  North.	
  	
  I	
  think	
  it	
  appealed	
  to	
  me	
  because	
  it	
  gave	
  clear	
  unambiguous	
  answers	
  to	
  a	
  very	
  a	
  complex	
  reality.	
  	
  Teaching	
  is	
  a	
  complex	
  reality	
  not	
  in	
  spite	
  of	
  place	
  but	
  precisely	
  because	
  of	
  place.	
  	
  Teaching	
  defies	
  neat	
  and	
  clean	
  easy	
  decisions	
  and	
  solutions.	
  	
  I	
  have	
  tried	
  to	
  use	
  the	
  writing	
  of	
  this	
  paper	
  to	
  make	
  sense	
  of	
  my	
  own	
  positionality	
  as	
  a	
  teacher	
  in	
  the	
  North.	
  Where	
  I	
  connected	
  most	
  with	
  Tompkins’	
  (1998)	
  work	
  wasn’t	
  with	
  her	
  assuredness	
  and	
  successes	
  as	
  much	
  as	
  with	
  her	
  struggles	
  and	
  uncertainty.	
  	
  She	
  writes	
  in	
  her	
  final	
  chapter:	
  	
  When	
  you	
  hire	
  a	
  teacher,	
  you	
  hire	
  someone	
  who	
  is	
  fully	
  trained,	
  and	
  if	
  they	
  show	
  any	
  signs	
  of	
  hesitancy,	
  then	
  they	
  must	
  not	
  be	
  very	
  good.	
  	
  In	
  principal	
  jargon	
  this	
  is	
  called	
  making	
  decisions	
  from	
  the	
  high	
  moral	
  ground.	
  	
  They	
  are	
  usually	
  much	
  neater	
  and	
  cleaner	
  decisions	
  than	
  those	
  made	
  in	
  the	
  ‘swampy	
  ground’.	
  (p.	
  121)	
  I	
  wished	
  I	
  could	
  have	
  heard	
  more	
  of	
  Tompkin’s	
  story	
  from	
  the	
  ‘swampy	
  ground’	
  because	
  it	
  was	
  a	
  position	
  I	
  was	
  familiar	
  with	
  teaching	
  in	
  the	
  North.	
  	
  I’ve	
  tried	
  to	
  write	
  my	
  story	
  from	
  the	
  swampy	
  ground	
  as	
  a	
  way	
  of	
  discussing	
  some	
  of	
  these	
  complexities	
  of	
  experience:	
  	
  My	
  reasons	
  for	
  going	
  North;	
  My	
  relationship	
  to	
  the	
  land;	
  The	
  hidden	
  curriculum,	
  stratification	
  and	
  problems	
  with	
  Qallunaat	
  teachers.	
  	
  Rather	
  than	
  present	
  myself	
  as	
  unproblematic	
  I’ve	
  tried	
  to	
  examine	
  the	
  tensions	
  in	
  my	
  personal	
  journal	
  entries,	
  art	
  work	
  and	
  excavation	
  of	
  memory	
  because	
  it	
  is	
  here	
  that	
  I	
  feel	
  the	
  most	
  learning	
  can	
  take	
  place	
  for	
  teachers.	
  	
  If	
  my	
  story	
  can	
  be	
  of	
  any	
  use	
  to	
  other	
  non-­‐Indigenous	
  teachers	
  considering	
  or	
  currently	
  teaching	
  in	
  the	
  North,	
  it	
  is	
  that	
  they	
  will	
  feel	
  compelled	
  to	
  remain	
  in	
  the	
  “swampy	
  ground”	
  with	
  all	
  of	
  its	
  inconveniences,	
  ambiguities	
  and	
  discomforts	
  than	
  try	
  to	
  seek	
  a	
  higher	
  moral	
  ground	
  that	
  necessitates	
  clear	
  cut	
  solutions	
  to	
  complex	
  realities.	
  	
  Dion	
  (2007)	
  and	
  Strong-­‐Wilson	
  (2008)	
  offer	
   	
   57	
   teachers,	
  myself	
  included,	
  models	
  to	
  examine	
  their	
  own	
  positionality	
  in	
  relationship	
  with	
  Indigenous	
  people.	
  	
  My	
  experiences	
  both	
  in	
  the	
  North	
  and	
  the	
  Academy	
  attest	
  to	
  a	
  shift	
  in	
  positionality	
  from	
  the	
  perfect	
  stranger	
  to	
  one	
  of	
  increased	
  ethical	
  awareness.	
  I	
  am	
  cognizant	
  after	
  17	
  months	
  of	
  graduate	
  study	
  that	
  my	
  memories	
  are	
  imbued,	
  enriched,	
  obscured,	
  filtered	
  and	
  altered	
  by	
  what	
  I’ve	
  studied	
  and	
  learned.	
  	
  I	
  had	
  little	
  scholarly	
  knowledge	
  of	
  Indigenous	
  education	
  in	
  Canada	
  and	
  the	
  North	
  before	
  coming	
  to	
  The	
  University	
  of	
  British	
  Columbia	
  in	
  the	
  fall	
  of	
  2010.	
  	
  Helen	
  Harper	
  (2000)	
  reminds	
  us	
  that	
  a	
  number	
  of	
  documents	
  going	
  back	
  to	
  the	
  Royal	
  Commission	
  on	
  Aboriginal	
  Peoples	
  (1996),	
  and	
  since	
  then,	
  are	
  available	
  for	
  teachers	
  to	
  give	
  them	
  a	
  background	
  in	
  the	
  social	
  and	
  political	
  history	
  of	
  First	
  Nations	
  peoples.	
  Yet,	
  she	
  makes	
  clear	
  that	
  “these	
  teachers,	
  like	
  many	
  other	
  educators,	
  are	
  evidently	
  unaware	
  of	
  these	
  documents	
  or	
  of	
  the	
  history	
  that	
  informs	
  them.	
  	
  They	
  seem	
  to	
  be	
  working	
  in	
  a	
  void,	
  without	
  a	
  sense	
  of	
  the	
  larger	
  picture	
  and	
  processes	
  from	
  which	
  to	
  frame	
  a	
  sense	
  of	
  themselves	
  and	
  their	
  work”	
  (p.147).	
  I	
  admittedly	
  was	
  one	
  of	
  these	
  teachers.	
  	
  Of	
  course	
  Harper	
  was	
  making	
  this	
  comment	
  just	
  as	
  Linda	
  Smith’s	
  (1999),	
  Decolonizing	
  Methodologies,	
  was	
  being	
  released,	
  and	
  today,	
  now	
  twelve	
  years	
  later,	
  there	
  is	
  an	
  abundance	
  of	
  scholarship	
  available	
  on	
  the	
  topic.	
  	
  My	
  assumed	
  bystander	
  role,	
  or	
  as	
  Dion	
  (2007)	
  has	
  identified	
  it	
  “as	
  the	
  perfect	
  stranger”	
  identity	
  in	
  relation	
  to	
  Indigenous	
  people	
  has	
  since	
  been	
  disrupted.	
  	
  This	
  does	
  not	
  mean	
  that	
  I	
  now	
  have	
  some	
  kind	
  of	
  monopoly	
  of	
  understanding	
  of	
  Indigenous	
  people.	
  	
  All	
  it	
  means	
  is	
  that	
  I	
  am	
  no	
  longer	
  a	
  stranger	
  to	
  the	
  larger	
  political	
  and	
  sociological	
  history	
  and	
  ongoing	
  struggle	
  between	
  Indigenous	
  and	
  non-­‐Indigenous	
  people	
  and	
  more	
  importantly	
  my	
  personal	
  connection	
  and	
  role	
  in	
  this	
  relationship.	
  	
  	
  Living	
  in	
  British	
  Columbia	
  has	
  opened	
  my	
  eyes	
  to	
  a	
  completely	
  different	
  set	
  of	
   	
   58	
   relationships	
  between	
  Indigenous	
  and	
  non-­‐Indigenous	
  people.	
  	
  As	
  I’ve	
  studied	
  about	
  the	
  history	
  of	
  the	
  local	
  cultural	
  interface	
  I	
  realize	
  these	
  complexities	
  prohibit	
  me	
  from	
  presuming	
  any	
  kind	
  of	
  expert	
  knowledge.	
  	
  Only	
  through	
  relationships	
  and	
  getting	
  to	
  know	
  people	
  and	
  them	
  getting	
  to	
  know	
  me,	
  will	
  my	
  knowledge	
  of	
  this	
  place	
  expand	
  and	
  grow.	
  	
  As	
  a	
  non-­‐Indigenous	
  teacher	
  I	
  see	
  my	
  role	
  as	
  continued	
  learning	
  from	
  Indigenous	
  people	
  about	
  the	
  local	
  experience.	
  Not	
  the	
  imagined	
  world	
  of	
  dominant	
  discourses	
  but	
  the	
  world	
  as	
  it	
  actually	
  exists	
  through	
  embodied	
  experience.	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  	
   	
   59	
   References	
  	
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  L.	
  	
  (2006).	
  	
  Visible	
  Identities.	
  Oxford	
  University	
  Press.	
  Ahmed,	
  S.	
  (2001).	
  	
  Strange	
  Encounters:	
  Embodied	
  Others	
  in	
  Post-­‐Coloniality.	
  New	
  York:	
  	
  	
   Routledge.	
  Anderson,	
  B.	
  (2006).	
  Imagined	
  Communities.	
  London:	
  Verso.	
  Aylward,	
  M.	
  L.	
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  Discourses	
  of	
  Cultural	
  Relevance	
  in	
  Nunavut	
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  Journal	
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  in	
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  M.W.	
  (2002).	
  	
  People	
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  to	
  Themselves:	
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   Basso’s	
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  26(3),	
  460-­‐478.	
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  Maintaining	
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  Reclaiming	
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  The	
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  Needs	
  of	
  Qallunaat	
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  in	
  Nunavut.	
  	
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  16	
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   Canadian	
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  Prepare	
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  Teaching	
  in	
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   Nations	
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  in	
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  Ontario-­‐Issues	
  and	
  Concerns.	
  	
  Canadian	
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   of	
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  M.	
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  Facing	
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   College	
  Composition	
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  (1977).	
  	
  ‘Why	
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  :	
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  Gossip.	
  	
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  Paine	
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  Arctic.	
  	
  	
  	
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  144-­‐165).	
  	
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  Toronto:	
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  of	
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  and	
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  Research,	
  	
  	
   Memorial	
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  Press.	
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  M.	
  (2003).	
  Indigenous	
  voice,	
  community,	
  and	
  epistemic	
  violence:	
  The	
   	
   61	
   	
  ethnographer’s	
  “interests”	
  and	
  what	
  “interests”	
  the	
  ethnographer.	
  	
  	
   Qualitative	
  Studies	
  in	
  Education,	
  16	
  (3),	
  361-­‐375.	
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  S.	
  (1962).	
  	
  Roughing	
  it	
  in	
  the	
  Bush:	
  or	
  Forest	
  Life	
  in	
  Canada.	
  Toronto/	
  	
  	
   Montreal:	
  McClelland	
  and	
  Stewart.	
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  (2010).	
  	
  Inuit	
  Education	
  and	
  Schools	
  in	
  the	
  Eastern	
  	
   	
   Arctic.	
  Vancouver:	
  University	
  of	
  British	
  Columbia	
  Press.	
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  D.	
  &	
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  L.A.	
  (2009).	
  	
  Antiracism	
  and	
  the	
  abolition	
  of	
  whiteness:	
  	
  	
   Rhetorical	
  strategies	
  of	
  domination	
  among	
  “race	
  traitors”.	
  	
  Communication	
  	
   	
   Studies,	
  51	
  (2),	
  97-­‐115.	
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  C.	
  	
  (2006a).	
  	
  Breaking	
  the	
  Ice:	
  	
  Qallunaat	
  Teacher’s	
  Journeys	
   	
   To	
  Nunavik.	
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  Dissertation).	
  	
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