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2861#2861 - Tuesday, July 3, 2007 - Editor: Jerry Katz

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  • Jerry Katz
    Jul 4, 2007
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      #2861 - Tuesday, July 3, 2007 - Editor: Jerry Katz
      One: Essential Writings on Nonduality: http://tinyurl.com/2blmhy

      A simple issue consisting of a news story I think you would like. The story reminds me of the kinds of stories on a Canadian tv station called APTN, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. The channel is not yet available outside Canada, but you could learn about it at http://www.aptn.ca.
      In the Fall, APTN.ca will introduce DigitalDrum.ca, which "will encourage on-line and real-world interactivity for youth, Elders, and others by providing access to a User Forum. Tools will also allow user generated creations such as video and audio clips, images and other online community building functionality to aid in storytelling, media literacy, community traditions, activism and music." We look forward to it! 


      Six fish, two birds and four weeks in the wild


      From Saturday's Globe and Mail
      June 30, 2007 at 1:33 AM EDT

      Enoki Kunuk can measure much of the past month in a catalogue of numbers.

      On June 1, he set out alone on a week-long journey to hunt caribou on the Nunavut tundra about 100 kilometres north of his home in Igloolik. He bagged not a single beast. Instead he caught six fish and two ptarmigans, provisions the Inuit hunter had to make last 28 days when his sled and snowmobile got stuck in the spring thaw, leaving him to live off the fat of an unforgiving land until rescue came under the midnight sun Thursday.

      The most impressive number of all is his age. At 81, Mr. Kunuk survived an ordeal his hamlet celebrated, southern folks romanticized and he and his family almost shrugged off as not unexpected.

      “You never give up,” said Zacharias Kunuk, a respected filmmaker who is also Mr. Kunuk's son. “He knows the land like the back of his hand.”

      Mr. Kunuk is a respected elder in the Far North community of about 1,500, which, despite its harsh climate and remote location, has been continuously occupied by people dating back to 2000 BC. Europeans visited in the 1880s, a Christian mission was later set up as well as a Hudson's Bay Company outpost. Since then, the hamlet has steadily been growing and the traditional lifestyle of fishing, sealing and hunting has not fallen victim to progress.

      On June 1, Mr. Kunuk was equipped with food, gasoline, warm clothing, a gun, ammunition, tarps, a kamotiq (sled) and a snowmobile, but no communication device.

      After eight days, when he did not return, his family began to search for their loved one.

      “He got stuck into the slush and he couldn't pull his sled and Ski-Doo out,” Zacharias said. “At his age, he's not that strong.”

      By then, a massive air and ground search was under way. A rescue team aboard Hercules aircraft was dispatched from CFB Trenton and swept the area. So did a Cormorant helicopter, but poor weather kept that machine largely on the ground. Soon melting snow prevented a ground search by snowmobile. Even the many corporate planes busy ferrying goods and people around the north and to mining areas in the region saw no signs of him.Mr. Kunuk.

      By June 18, the military called off the search, but the Iglulingmiut did not. Instrumental in keeping the hunt going was Mayor Paul Quassa, who helped persuade businesses to free up aircraft to continue searching an area the size of Prince Edward Island.

      “We were worried, but after 25 days you start to plan for the worst,” Zacharias said. “With no trace, you didn't know where to look. The area has been covered.”

      Mr. Quassa told CBC Radio that people in his community were beginning to have dreams about where to find their lost soul, one suggesting that he was in a valley near a river. Elders had pointed over and over again to a popular fishing river. The oldest woman in the community, a woman aged 97 or 98, kept spirits high with a story about Mr. Kunuk's mother.

      It was the first time some had heard that she had survived an igloo collapse that left her husband dead and her alone shivering in the snow.

      “This elder was giving us this talk and giving us hope,” Zacharias said.

      On Thursday, the mayor convinced Air Inuit, based in northern Quebec, to lend a Twin Otter for another sweep. This time, searches spied signs of life. A snowmobile. A sled. A tent. Jerry cans. But there was no hint of Mr. Kunuk.
      The pilot followed the landscape down a valley, along the shore of a river where, at around 7 p.m., they spotted Mr. Kunuk about 130 kilometres from home.

      His family, who translated Mr. Kunuk's experiences from Inuktitut, the Inuit language, said he kept hearing planes overhead and snowmobiles in the distance. He said he even found a campsite with recently used tea bags from which he managed to squeeze drinks. All the while, he said, he was never fast enough to catch anyone's attention, but never once was he worried.

      “He said he did a lot of exercise waiting,” said Zacharias, whose acclaimed feature, Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, won the best first feature award at Cannes in 2001.

      “He went by the shore and figured sooner or later people going fishing would have to run into him.”

      Zacharias was on the tarmac filming early yesterday morning as a helicopter brought his father home. The whole community was there too.

      “We were overwhelmed. At the first sight of the helicopter coming in everybody started clapping,” he recalled. “He's fine. He's just tired at his age.”

      Will his father venture out on the tundra alone again?

      “He said not till summer,” Zacharias said laughing, “Not until he can boat.”