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Kugluktuk's Jane Hinanik reflects on good and bad changes

Jane Hinanik, now in her late 70s, was born at Tahiapik near Tree River east of Kugluktuk. Her parents followed the animals but would always spend the winter at Tahiapik.

Kugluktuk Elder Jane Hinanik has seen many changes during her lifetime, but hopes that Inuit can hold on to traditions, values and customs "as we go though this modern world". Rita Pigalak/NNSL photo

Her family lived in a tent frame with the tent made out of caribou hides and was big enough to house four families.

"My mother and the other ladies sewed the tent together, I did not help as I did not know how to sew then. Of course we also stayed in iglus out on the sea ice when harvesting seals," said Hinanik.

Many things were new, the radio, dishes, cutlery and of course the television, "Everything was quite interesting to learn to use, especially to watch the television, I would rush to watch it. Not so much anymore – it has become just another thing everyone has in the house – but it's enjoyable," said Hinanik.

She met her husband Charlie in Coppermine (now known as Kugluktuk). After being together they both spent a number of years at Cam 4, a Dewline Site, then returned to Coppermine for a year before being recruited by Peter Kamingoak.

"We went to Hay River for three years as my husband began work on the railroad that was being built," said Hinanik. "It was a big job and we'd never seen a train before."

There have been some good and bad changes, Hinanik said, "We can only hope for the best for our families and our people as so much has changed.

"Our kids are too much into electronics. School is good and is needed, but there is too much alcohol and drugs and therefore our children are becoming angry children."

Traditions, values and customs of the Inuit is what helped our people survive for many, many years, "I hope that our people can hold on to these practices as we go though this modern world," she said.

"Respect, family values, traditions and neighbourly love need to be practiced and implemented on our children as it once was, the sharing of country food as it should be in our culture has now come to selling of country food among our people.

"Neighbours seem like strangers and it is not the way it should be."