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Inuit Knowledge & Climate Change: Therese Mattaq

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22 November 2010

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Therese Mattaq of Pond Inlet speaks about Inuit teaching: "They wanted me to know the environment. They wanted to me to know the stars. Things that are not made by Inuit but made by things we do not know. God made them from the beginning. That was our teaching."

 

Full English Transcript:

They wanted me to know the environment. They wanted to me to know the stars. Things that are not made by Inuit but made by things we do not know. God made them from the beginning. That was our teaching.

I remember setting up camp with my mother and the wind and snow were blowing. It was spring time. I was sitting and snow was falling on me. My mother said to me: "Don't get covered with snow because people have been buried by it recently and some of them died". She was scared that I would be covered with snow. She would come and take the snow off me.

I was told to be nice and not to steal. Don't lie. Don't starts fights. Be honest. Don't judge other people. That was told to me.

Don't start a fight. Don't ever fight back. These teachings were always close to my heart.

Never talk back to an elder. Don't talk about family matters. If I had a boyfriend besides my husband, never unload my problems to him. Always talk to my husband. Those were the rules. Because they love you.

I had a hole in my kamik. I never had a mother. They were soaking skin that was going to cover the hole. I took off the sole of my kamik with an ulu. By accident, I started sewing the patch on instead of the sole, and I couldn't even put my kamik on because they were so small. I did it in the middle of the night. I remember we were moving to another place. We would catch caribou in the spring time. In those days, all skins were dried. I wanted to have my own sleeping bag. I envied my uncle having one. Before we started moving again, I started sewing two dry caribou skins into one. After we moved and set up the tent, I was making my bedding in the "guest spot". My sleeping bag was too small and I went back to my step parents. Those were my first sewing experiences.

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