Monday, September 14, 2009

Thanks Christa for making me think

I read something today that has really stuck with me. Christa in Gjoa Haven wrote, "I was told that Southerners come North for one three main reasons. To be a missionary, and save the North. To be a mercenary, and get something out of it for themselves. To be a misfit, or perhaps because they are a misfit."

I'm not sure why but I just can't shake this statement from my brain. My first thought was that it's soooo true. I'll be the first to admit I'd fall under the mercenary category. We decided to come north as a quick fix for our debts and hopefully the ability to choose our next posting. Having said that, I hope that I came with an open mind and the desire to learn about the local culture. I hope that I contribute to norther society and give back at least a little. After thinking about it for a while this is what I've come up with. I think it's possible to come here for one reason and end up being happy here for others. Money won't keep you sane for the years you're here. Save the north? If that means imposing southern standards, it's not going to happen. And I don't know that it should. Misfits are just people who look at life from a different angle than most.

Why are you here?


Matt, Kara, Hunter and Cavan said...

We heard that statement when we moved north as well.

I don't think anyone should feel bad about saying they moved there to make some money. How is it any different than moving across southern Canada to take a job that moves you up the ladder a bit?

Moving there to fix things is not the right approach at all. Communities have to be ready and willing to lead the change on their own feet.

Now misfits... they are everywhere!! :)

Anonymous said...

I was going to comment on Christa's blog but just decided to leave it, but now it seems to becoming a meme of sorts I think I'll wade in.

The problem with a statement like this (and I know it's meant mostly in fun) is that it implies that communities up here have no value in and of themselves. That no one could possibly move to them because they are worth living in, but only because of some other motive.

Its similar to the statement that southerners who live here can't make it in the south. Personally, I moved here because it was a long time goal to police in the High Arctic, admittedly because it held the promise of something out of the ordinary. I fully intended on staying here longer than the four years I was committed to, and quite frankly didn't expect to be here permanently. But I fell in love, and with someone who can not see herself living anywhere else. There are a lot worse reasons to live somewhere.

Morena said...

Kara, you're right. On both counts. I cast of my guilt!

Clare, I think love is the best reason to stay. For some it's love of someone, for others it's love of the north itself. But I'd bet most who stay for love came here for another reason. Maybe a pure adventure should be added to that quote. Is there a M word for that? Meanderer? That's the best could come up with

Indigo said...

Meanderer, interesting word.

Adventurer and traveller are also good fits althought not beginning with an M. I agree with Clare that the original statement is probably meant to be funny. I recall one time in Iqaluit, David and I sat on a skidoo in Northmart and had our photo taken as a lark. A young non-Inuit boy who could not have been more than ten sneered "newbies." It made me wonder what the dialogue was like in his home.

Some of us who came north and then left and then came again and then left and yet still keep coming back are in that in between category of the original three: came for the adventure, fell in love (in my case with the landscape, flora and fauna, arts and crafts and most importantly, the people in the communities) and now the north sings a song in your head that cannot be denied.

The money was not very important to me in the early years. I left it all in the communities anyway, i.e. grassroots economic developemnt as I like to call it.

For me the communities, those that I have been fortunate enough to live in, all have intrinsic worth of their own and I'd relocate there in a heartbeat as long as I had housing. Housing is the big catch for us southerners, either comes with the job (and you pay a price for that, not a dollar price), you buy one or like Clare, build one.

My 3 cents worth as I load my bags to wing north again this morning.

Lindsay Niedzielski said...

I have to say that we came north for the adventure....we left Saskatchewan, and that is where we hope to go back to, so placement wasn't an issue. Nor was the money really an issue as we didn't have a great understanding of how much you can make (although it really is a nice bonus) - we came for something different, to experience something that no one we knew had experienced before. I came with some hesitations, but have grown to love it here. We have had many discussions about staying in the north for longer, but think we will probably end up down south at some which time I know I will miss the north like crazy!! But there are so many reasons for coming north, and that's why you get such an interesting array of 'characters' in the north (and I include myself as a 'character' so not trying to offend anyone!!!)...

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