Today started on a high after attending the villages council meeting last night. I had been invited along as I believed it important to introduce myself to the village leaders and seek their approval to film their way of life. After everything I had heard I do not wish to appear as another white man with a camera, taking advantage of the villages problems.
I was very nervous about putting my case forward to the elder council and didn't want to come across in a bad light. I remember thinking, "What are they going to think of me?" I entered the chamber to find a circle of table and chairs, along with the Qikiqtarjuag and Canadian flags on the walls.
A photograph caught my eye straight away next to the Qikiqtarjuag flag, a photograph of the Queen. Of course Canada being a Common Wealth country, why shouldn't she be on the wall. I was just struck by the fact that here I was in the middle of the arctic and yet here was a photo of the Queen, obviously held in high regard. It was not the only one either, another showed her visit to the area a number of years ago.
One of the council members saw what I was looking at and asked the translator, "Did I know the Queen?"
"Unfortunately not" I replied, "she lives in a very big house a long way from my home"
Everyone laughed when my words were translated and I felt more at ease with the elders sense of humor, obviously made to make me feel more welcome. After a number of questions concerning my work and on the basis of my previous trips, the council agreed to allow me to film within their community.
Mayor Audlakiak gave a fantastic interview this morning about the history of Qikiqtarjuag as well as how the climate has changed since the villages founding in the early 1960's. Biggest changes he has seen concerns the ocean, he commented on the fact that there was never really any tide, now there is a very strong current in the bay. This has made some areas of ice dangerously thin making it unsafe too travel over.