We've just arrived in Qausuittuq - Resolute Bay - which means "the place where day never comes". It's the second highest Inuit settlement in the Arctic, next to Grise Fjord, and is a place where winters are very long and dark.
However, we're now approaching the summer months, and its twenty four hour daylight. Indeed, between the daylight and our suspecting that we flew across a time zone, we really don't know what hour it actually is. The crew is wandering around the lodge right now trying to determine the time using the tv and internet. Ah ha, Aaron Kunuk just walked in to the room and clarified, we are actually one hour behind Iqaluit, and on central standard time.
This is all pretty funny, having been out on the land in Pangnirtung with elders like Jamesie Mike (photo) who could tell you the exact time by the height of the sun or moon in the sky, and we're having trouble figuring out the time with all the tools of the modern world. In this context, traditional and technological approaches seem divergent and incompatible - but are they?
On the flight over, I was reading today's Globe and Mail and asked Zacharias his birthday so I could read him his horoscope. It stated the following:
"You may be at the cutting edge of new ideas and new technologies but sometimes the old ways of doing things are best and what happens today will give you the chance to put an old method to good use. If it gets the job done it's the right tool"
It was a telling passage. Using video and internet, our project is merging tradition AND technology to help the world understand how Inuit knowledge can inform society about climate change and its impacts. Importantly, this video-based methodology allows Inuit to speak about their rich lived experience, which is a respectful approach for this orally-based culture. In this way, the tradition of storytelling is enriched through digital technology as it allows the message of elders in remote regions of the world to be shared with a global audience. Tomorrow we begin meeting with the elders of Qausuittuq and we will share this with you here on the internet. Stay tuned...