Inuit Art of Canada

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Poem by Alootook Ipellie

How Noisy They Seem
Alootook Ipellie

There is irony in the fact that the civilization, which is disrupting the old Inuit culture, also provides the technology, which is the only means of preserving it -- on film. Almost every single person in the Arctic today seems to be a "camera nut". This poem by Ipellie captures some of the feelings that old photographs evoke.

I saw a picture today, in the pages of a book.
It spoke of many memories of when I was still a child:
Snow covered the ground,
And the rocky hills were cold and gray with frost.
The sun was shining from the west,
And the shadows were dark against the whiteness of the
      hardened snow.

My body felt a chill
Looking at two Inuit boys playing with their sleigh,
For the fur of their hoods was frosted under their chins,
From their breathing.
In the distance, I could see at least three dog teams going away,
But I didn't know where they were going,
For it was only a photo.
I thought to myself that they were probably going hunting,
To where they would surely find some seals basking on the ice.
Seeing these things made me feel good inside,
And I was happy that I could still see the hidden beauty of the
And know the feeling of silence.

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