Friday, January 13, 2017


     Not long after our landing a couple of motorized canoes gingerly approached the pitching aircraft and attached themselves. They were to be our taxi to the shore. It was a challenge to get luggage and ourselves transferred from a bouncing plane to a canoe that was bouncing the opposite way. We were about .5 km offshore and since the swells were a factor we slowly moved toward shore where people were waiting to grab the pitching canoes.

     The trusty G 5 was there to load our baggage and take us up to our house. The G 5 was a small tracked vehicle that was like a small pick up truck. No roads, just ruts.

     Kangiqsujuaq was a village of 188 Inuit and 10 others. The school had been open for 5 years. The Hudson Bay trading post had been there for 40 or so years. the Catholic mission had been there about 30 years. Inuit had lived in the area and came to the trading post from time to time and pitched tents or made snow houses while they stayed a few days and visited. In the 1920's there had been a radio station for airplanes as they crossed to Europe. A few Inuit had worked at those places.

     However the government in its wisdom had decided it was an improvement to have the Inuit live in settlements and so provided housing and schools. Hunters were expected to hunt from the settlement which wasn't going to work. These people were nomadic for a good reason. They had to travel far and wide with the seasons to successfully obtain their food,

    So here I was in my house with all my baggage around me. We had to unpack quickly and get organized . We couldn't go to the local restaurant for dinner. We had to make that ourselves.

    Also, here I was , the principal of a one room school and the administrator of the settlement. My feet had to hit the ground running. I had responsibility for all federal government activity in the settlement. We had an engineer and power plant and assistant. There was a large warehouse with extra food. There were people who had government business.

    There were about 20 students in 2 classrooms. One girl was 20 and she had been in school for the five years. The kids had a pretty good grasp of English but most of the adults knew very little English. I used an interpreter to conduct business.

    We had decided to order our  years's supply of food. It was a huge job but worked out well.  The food was sent in by ship. The ship dropped off many other supplies. We had some fresh vegetables such as potatoes, carrots etc. We had frozen meat. We probably had a greater variety of meat than we've ever had since. We had lamb chops! There was only one problem . They put our potatoes in the freezer on the ship. They told me when the potatoes were thrown off the ship it was like a sack of pool balls.

    We had to make all of our own food. This time we did bake bread and fresh homemade bread was wonderful. Many days I came home from school for coffee and fresh bread.

    We did get settled in and got to work. It was a steep learning curve.