Odyssée Sibérienne and others

August 21, 2008 at 9:49 pm | Posted in Alaska, Scandinavia, Siberia, travel | Leave a comment
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I found my hero! I found a the website of Nicolas Varnier, a French guy who travels the North with a dog sledge! Wow! He has an interesting website, though it is in French. I am quite able to read it but too lazy  to translate it… Anyway you can take a look at it if you want. Wannabe that guy!

Nicolas Varnier

From all his expeditions, my favorite ones are l’Odyssée Sibérienne, l’Odyssée Blanche and the Translaponie:

Translaponie (Hiver 88- 89) de Kiruna à Mourmansk, 1000 km. Le Grand Nord Lapon a été le premier Grand Nord de Nicolas. Il s’y est rendu pour la première fois à l’age de dix-sept ans pour une longue randonnée à pied dans les vastes espaces sauvages du nord de la Finlande. Accessible depuis la gare du Nord de Paris, la Laponie était aussi le seul grand Nord adapté au petit budget qu’un étudiant sans le sous pouvait économiser et consacrer à cela. [Read more]

L’odyssée blanche (1999): depuis Skagway à Québec, 8600 Kilomètres. À l’origine de ce nouveau défi que Nicolas Vanier se lance à lui-même : son attelage, il est au top de sa forme . Formidables coureurs des neiges, puissants, endurants mais également très rapides, ses chiens ont réalisé de belles performances lors de la Yukon Quest , l’une des deux plus difficiles courses de chiens de traîneau auquel Nicolas à participé durant l’hivernage qu’il à effectué au Yukon avec sa famille qui s’est agrandie d’un petit garçon. [Read more]

Odyssée Sibérienne (Hiver 2005/2006): depuis le Lac Baïkal jusqu’à Moscou, 8000 Kilomètres. C’est une aventure dans des paysages époustouflants à la rencontre de peuples rivalisant d’ingéniosité pour vivre dans l’un des endroits jugé par d’autres comme l’un des plus hostiles de la planète. Sur plus de 8000 km de montagne, de taïga et de toundra, Nicolas Vanier et ses dix chiens progressèrent à raison de plus de 80 km par 24 heures sur une piste éphémère tracée une semaine avant son passage par des sibériens, trappeurs, éleveurs de rennes menés par une équipe Franco-Russe qui se relayèrent d’un village à l’autre, d’un campement à un autre depuis Irkoutsk jusqu’à Moscou. Cette Odyssée qui débuta le 2 décembre sur les bords du très mythique Lac Baïkal s’est achevée à la fin de l’hiver le plus froid de la planète, sur la très symbolique Place Rouge de Moscou , spécialement enneigée pour l’occasion, le 19 mars 2005. [Read more]

Yo can also check his movies:

Loup (un film produit par MC4 et distribué par Pathé. Tournage 6 semaines en 2008, sortie sortie la fin de 2009) Nicolas voue une véritable fascination à cet animal dont il a croisé la route plusieurs centaines de fois. Il a toujours rêvé de lui consacré un grand film. L’histoire de ce film est né de la rencontre que Nicolas avait faite avec une famille de nomades éleveurs de rennes au cours de sa longue traversée de la Sibérie en 1990. Pendant près d’un an, Nicolas vivant comme l’un des leurs avait partagé la vie de ces nomades et de leur grande harde, se déplaçant avec eux d’un alpage à un autre, à dos de rennes ou juché sur un traîneau. Il avait alors constaté le lien très fort qui unissait ces hommes au territoire sur lequel il vivait en parfaite harmonie. Territoire qu’ils se partageaient avec les loups qu’ils haïssaient et vénéraient en même temps.

– Le Dernier Trappeur (Long métrage de fiction – Décembre 2004): Norman Winther est l’un des derniers trappeurs à entretenir avec les majestueuses Montagnes Rocheuses une relation d’échanges fondée sur une profonde connaissance du milieu et un grand respect des équilibres naturels. Avec sa femme, Nebaska, une indienne Nahanni, et ses fidèles chiens de traîneau, Norman nous emmène à la découverte d’un autre monde rythmé par les saisons. Randonnées dans la froidure de l’hiver, descentes de rivières tumultueuses, attaques de grizzly et de loups sont le quotidien du trappeur. Norman cultive sa vie comme un art de vivre dans ce monde où les blizzards soufflent parfois plus fort que les mots. Ce film est un hymne aux pays d’en haut et à la magnificence de ces vastes espaces sauvages.

Breathtaking! I like to see that there are still adventurers today!

Avataq Cultural Institute

August 6, 2008 at 4:39 pm | Posted in Canada, History, Language, Organization, Traditions | Leave a comment
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Yesterday I found this interesting website from Avataq Cultural Institute:

Avataq Cultural Institute

Avataq Cultural Institute provides a strong foundation for the living culture of today’s Inuit. Since its inception in 1980, Avataq has built a solid reputation as the cultural leader for Nunavik Inuit and as an important resource for Inuit culture in Canada and beyond. Our goal is to ensure that Inuit culture and language continue to thrive into the future, so that our descendants can benefit from the rich heritage passed down to us through the wisdom of our ancestors.


About Us

Founded in 1980, Avataq Cultural Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and promoting the language and culture of Inuit in Nunavik (Northern Quebec). The organization has its head office in Inukjuak, Nunavik, and an administrative office in Westmount, Quebec.

Avataq receives its mandate directly from Nunavik Inuit at the biennial Nunavik Inuit Elders’ Conferences. Avataq has a board of directors comprising five Inuit members elected for two-year terms.

The programs and services of the Avataq Cultural Institute include: an Inuktitut promotion and preservation program, a genealogy program, a Nunavik museums program, a Nunavik Inuit art collection, an archaeology department, an artists’ support program, a documentation and archives centre, local cultural committees, traditional skills courses, as well as a research and publications service.

Through its language, heritage and cultural programs, the Avataq Cultural Institute is striving to support and preserve Inuit culture for present and future generations.

I have a photographic day, as you see 😉 I copied a lot of nice photos they have on their website. They have a very very interesting section about the Inuit in Nunavik, as well as maps. This will be for another post tonight! As an extra, you can download the Inuktitut fonts for your computer too! The link is here!

CINE, investigating indigenous diet in Canada

August 5, 2008 at 7:04 pm | Posted in Canada, Health, Research | Leave a comment
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A good friend of mine, whose eyes are open and awake even in the 5th of August, found this information for me in the CINE (Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment) website:

GLOBAL HEALTH CASE STUDY – INUIT (BAFFIN REGION) NUNAVUT TERRITORY, CANADA

Introduction

The Territory of Nunavut was formed in 1992, and represents an Inuit self-ruled territory. The Baffin Region of Nunavut is the most traditional of Canadian Inuit Regions and is home to Inuit (Figure 1).

Studies in this region have shown that traditional food has a central role in the life of Inuit. Therefore, with support from the Northern Contaminants Program and with participation and guidance of the Inuit Tapiriit of Canada, the research took place from 1997 -2000 in 5 regions of Inuit communities with the objectives:

– To derive quantitative estimates of traditional/country and market food intake among Inuit in 5 regions (Inuvialuit, Kitikmeot, Keewatin, Baffin and Labrador), representing approximately 50 communities.
– To complete databases of nutrient and contaminant contents of traditional foods.
– To define benefits of traditional foods in terms of nutritional, socioeconomic and cultural significance.
– To define the levels of dietary exposure to contaminants (mercury, cadmium, arsenic, lead and several organochlorines).

A total of 1929 participants were randomly selected for interviews. The information on food consumption took place during fall of 1998 and winter of 1999, using 24- hr recalls, food frequency interviews, and 7-day food records.

The study team was comprised of the following:

Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment (CINE), McGill University, Québec, Canada, H9X 3V9.

1. Grace M. Egeland, Ph.D.
2. Rula Souieda
3. Harriet Kuhnlein, Ph.D., R.D

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Health Office, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

1. Looee Okalik
2. Eric Loring

Notes on food groups

Seventy-nine different foods were identified for use in Baffin region, where Pangnirtung is located and among these are numerous species of fish and shellfish, marine and land mammals, birds, plant and berries as part of the traditional food system. The analyses of all foods were carried out in the CINE laboratory.

Information on 79 foods collected was divided into five groups:

1. Fish and Seafood
2. Sea Mammals
3. Land Mammals
4. Game and Birds
5. Berries

Nutrient composition of Baffin Inuit foods is presented in CINE’s Arctic Nutrient File providing access to nutrient information on traditional food (country food) for Canada’s Northern Indigenous Peoples.

The purpose of this resource is to present a reflection of the usual composition of foods available and/or consumed among Inuit community members. This is a living document and nutrient information will be added and/or updated when available.

Seasonality of use, harvest information, type of procurement and other relevant information were collected through household and key informant interviews.

Notes on food components

Vitamin A values are reported in both Vitamin A retinol equivalents (RE-µg) and in retinol activity equivalents (RAE-µg). These values are calculated and reported for only those foods for which retinol, beta carotene and total carotene values are available. Vitamin A (RAE-µg) values are reported for compatibility with the DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) recommendations.

Folate values are reported in Dietary Folate Equivalent (DFE), in addition to reporting of natural folate present in foods

References

1. Fediuk, K., Hidiroglou, N., Madère, R. & Kuhnlein, H.V. (2002) Vitamin C in Inuit traditional food and women’s diets. J. Food Compos. Anal. 15: 221-235.
2. Kuhnlein, H.V., Receveur, O., Chan H.M., and Loring E. August, 2000. Assessment of Dietary Benefit/Risk in Inuit Communities. Technical report (ISBN # 0-7717-0558-1). Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment (CINE), McGill.
3. Kuhnlein, H. V., Kubow, S. & Soueida, R. (1991) Lipid components of traditional Inuit foods and diets of Baffin Island. J. Food Compos. Anal. 4(3): 227-236.
4. Kuhnlein, H. V. & Soueida, R. (1992) Use and nutrient composition of traditional Baffin Inuit foods. J. Food Compos. Anal. 5(2): 112-126.
5. Kuhnlein, H. V., Receveur, O. & Ing, A. (2001) Energy, fat and calcium in bannock consumed by Canadian Inuit. J. Am. Diet. Assoc. 101(5): 580-581.
6. Kuhnlein, H. V., Chan, H. M., Leggee, D. & Barthet, V. (2002) Macronutrient, mineral and fatty acid composition of Canadian Arctic traditional food. J. Food Compos. Anal. 15: 545-566.
7. 7. Kuhnlein, H. V., Barthet, V., Farren, E., Falahi, E., Leggee, D., Receveur, O. and Berti, P. (2006) Vitamins A, D, and E in Canadian Arctic Traditional Food and Adult Diets. J. Food Compos. Anal. 19: 495-506.

The pity is that this study is not completely available on-line right now, only a part here. I already told about the side effects of the non-indigenous diets on indigenous populations, and it seems that this institute in Canada investigates in this directions. Good to know that, then! They have more information, so I will be posting about them for a while.

Produced by Nutaaq

August 5, 2008 at 12:34 pm | Posted in Canada, Education, Organization | Leave a comment
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Last week I found a production company settled down in Québec, Canada, called Nutaaq. As they explain, they are specialized on multi-cultural and indigenous subjects. This is quite interesting, isn’t it?

Nutaaq Média

Nutaaq Média, Inc. was incorporated in 1991 with the goal of producing both independent and sponsored film, video and interactive media projects.

Although most of Nutaaq productions concern the Arctic or northern issues, Nutaaq has also shot many projects in southern Canada, as well as one project in South America. Our multi-cultural experience is indeed one of our great strengths.
Nutaaq Média represents many years of production experience which allow it to create broadcast programming intended for a mass audience or sponsored projects tailored to a specific few.

Working with a team of talented professionals and state of the art facilities for digital non-linear editing and multi-media authoring, Nutaaq Média produces effective multi-media, sponsored or broadcast programming tailored to client and audience needs in whichever languages are required. In the past, Nutaaq has produced programs in French, English, Inuktitut and Cree, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, German and Italian. Nutaaq can also title and sub-title programs in any language. We also do closed captioning.

Recent Productions

Finding My Talk:A Journey through Aboriginal Languages This one hour documentary follows the journey of Cree filmmaker Paul M. Rickard as he searches for his own language roots and discovers the tireless efforts of many individuals who are promoting, reviving and preserving the use of Aboriginal languages within their communities. Distributed by Mushkeg Media Inc.

Broken Promises: The High Arctic Relocation In the summer of 1953, the Canadian government relocated seven Inuit families from Northern Québec to the High Arctic. They were promised an abundance of game and fish – in short, a better life. The government assured the Inuit that if things didn’t work out, they could return home after two years. Two years later, another 35 people joined them. It would be thirty years before any of them saw their ancestral lands again. Distributed by Nutaaq and National Film Board of Canada.

Nunavik Heritage CD-ROM The photographs reflect the life and people of Northern Québec (Nunavik) from the 1880’s till the present. The flexibility of the CD-ROM software allows the images to be organized and retrieved by thematic categories such as specific individuals or families, geographical locations, time periods, historical events or photograph contents. The disc design maximizes user interaction and allows images to be printed or incorporated into other documents. Distributed by Avataq Cultural Institute.

Running the Midnight Sun To their friends they’re eccentric, to the Inuit they’re bizarre, but they consider themselves just ordinary people who like to push themselves to the limit. They are ultra runners. Once a year, under a sun that never sets, they gather from all over North America to challenge an 84 kilometer gravel road located 700 kilometers above the Arctic Circle. Distributed by Nutaaq.

North to Nowhere: Quest for the Pole In North to Nowhere, nine adventurers from five countries attempt the Polar trek. They include Shinzi Kazama, a motorcyclist from Japan; Pam Flowers, a ninety pound dogsledder from Alaska; Nicholas Hulot and Hubert de Chevigny, ultra-light pilots from France and Dick Smith, an Australian helicopter pilot. As well, a planeload of American tourists fly to the Pole for a very expensive one hour photo opportunity. No Distributer (unavailable).

They produced some documentaries in Inuktitut and Cree, this is interesting. I contacted them since living in Barcelona it is impossible to watch their programs, but the only option was to buy them, and that was really expensive for me too! I may wait when a relative or friend travel there, to see if they find something!

Innu villages at Labrador peninsula

March 20, 2008 at 8:21 pm | Posted in Language, Maps | Leave a comment
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I seems that my research keeps going on, as usually thanks to the Internet. Looking here and there, I have found a website where Innu people speak about their language, which they call Innu-aimun. In that site they teach it, they have some traditional tales, some links, and also some interesting maps with the placement of their villages.

I am a bit confused, because this map doesn’t match with that other one from the same site, where they show all the dialects of Innu-aimun:

mapa-dialectes-innu.jpg

I don’t know if they are different communities, or what. I will have to look for more information. For example, this article where they have a map created with Google Earth which a layer that shows all their villages in Canada.

Survival International: the Innu

March 16, 2008 at 11:50 pm | Posted in Canada | Leave a comment
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After deciding to take charge of this personal project, I soon realized that it would be unfair to do it without taking into account the whole situation of indigenous Arctic people. As I has sensed, I soon confirmed that they have to face heavy adversities to maintain this way of life, and I would consider it a lack of responsibility not to write about it.

As I learned from my last entry, there is a NGO, Survival International, who works supporting tribal people worldwide. They have an excellent website, packed with tones of information. I will tell you what they say about the Arctic people, and then it is up to you to continue learning from them.

Innu

The Innu are the indigenous people of most of the Labrador-Quebec peninsula, in eastern Canada. They were formerly referred to as the Montagnais-Naskapi Indians, and are unrelated to the Inuit (or ‘Eskimo’) who live further north.

How do they live? Their homeland, where they have lived for millennia, is a vast area of sub-arctic spruce and fir forest, lakes, rivers and rocky ‘barrens’. They call this land Nitassinan. Up until the second half of the 20th century, the Innu lived as nomadic hunters. For most of the year, the waterways of Nitassinan are frozen, and they would travel in small groups of two or three families on snowshoes, pulling toboggans. When the ice melted, they would travel by canoe to the coast or a large inland lake to fish, trade, and meet friends and relatives. They hunt animals including bear, beaver and porcupine, and also fish and gather berries – but most of all they rely on the herds of caribou which migrate through their land every spring and autumn. Until recently, the Innu got all that they needed – food, clothing, shelter, tools and weapons – from the caribou, which have a huge cultural significance. Today the Innu have been settled into villages; although many hunt, fish and gather, some have paid jobs as well, or depend on social security.

What problems do they face? During the 1950s and 1960s, the nomadic Innu were pressured into settling in fixed communities by the Canadian government and Catholic church. The transition was difficult and traumatic. Life in the communities is marked by extremely high levels of alcoholism, petrol-sniffing amongst children, violence, and record levels of suicides. Many of the Innu are still fighting to retain much of their traditional lifestyle, increasingly difficult as the government hands out their land in mining concessions, floods the heart of their territory for hydro power schemes, and builds roads which cut up the remainder. In April 1999, the UN Human Rights Committee described the situation of tribal peoples as ‘the most pressing issue facing Canadians’, and condemned Canada for ‘extinguishing’ aboriginal peoples’ rights.

How does Survival help? Survival is calling on the Canadian government to rethink its approach to negotiations with the Innu and other similar groups – currently they will only recognise Innu land rights if the Innu agree to surrender most of their land. Canada must recognise the Innu’s right to own their land, and live on it as they choose.

I know this is little help, but it is just the beginning. You will read more soon 🙂

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