The oldest women says: "our beautiful environment is changing"

We're working through the interview with Pangnirtung's oldest women, Elisapee Ishulutaq. Although no one knows for sure, Elisapee was born sometime around 1925, giving her over eighty years of experiential wisdom. Elisapee is also a very talented and accomplished artist, working as a printmaker and carver for many years, her work has been featured nationally and internationally. Check out the links for some details of:

Elisapee Ishulutaq

Boat Print

Sedna Print

In a caring and thougtful tone, Elisapee commented "out beautiful environment is changing and we, as Inuit, are changing too". Although translating the Inuktitut to Enlish can be challenging, Elisapee spoke of the changes as if it were an evolution, which requires all of Arctic life to adapt to. She discussed with us how the sea ice is breaking up earlier and earlier and the glaciers are disappearing. At one point, she said: "All the glaciers that used to be by the shore, they're all completely gone...we used to get drinking water from those glaciers, but we can no longer do this". Her words were devastating and beautiful. The amount of environmental and cultural change she has witnessed in her lifetime is hard to fathom and, at some level, brings sadness to the listener. Yet, her humble and gentle resolve, the kindness and love in her voice and smile, makes me realize that if we could learn from her, and try to walk the earth as she does, the world would be a much healthier place.


03 November 2009


More from this channel: Ian Mauro's Blog on Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change