Sunday, June 24, 2012

Planes, Boats and ATVs

I’m back here in the community of Whapmagoostui, Northern Quebec on the coast of Hudson Bay. Around 2000 people live here including both Crees and Inuit. My last experience here was in the 1990’s while underway working for the Crees educational system.

This trip includes introductions to people from different cultures. The plane from Nemaska did a stop over briefly in another Cree community Waskaganish before beginning the northern trajectory past James Bay further into a region known as Ungava bordering Hudson Bay.

While onboard the aircraft I struck up a conversation with Alux an Inuk who during the trip north was looking out the window at the clear view of the coastline below. He let me know that he was on the look out for Beluga whales. The Beluga is a primary source of food for the Inuit people. The tradition involves a crew of men who travel to the whales off the coast aboard their boats; they harpoon and shoot these sea creatures for provision of food for their communities. My idea of seeing these animals cruising the surface shifted to thinking about what the slaughter might be. My introduction to people from distant lands is rich learning and hunting is a way of life foreign to urban societies.

Our stay in Whapmagoostui (Great Whale) has included introductions to many people and visits to many locations. A coastal community Whapmagoostui has the magnificent Hudson Bay ever present as a backdrop. The region includes beachfront, sand dunes combined with hilly terrain mixed with lakes and rivers. The natural terrain has a landscaped look that is picture perfect. A natural splendor, groomed well beyond any man made garden. We’re here in summer and we’ve been afforded almost temperate conditions with fresh breezes purging biting flying insects. Breeze coming from across broken ice flows, over the vast waters of Hudson Bay. This weather is an easy adjustment for our crew of urbanites by comparison to the extreme cold served up for most of the year here in the north.

Another primary mode of transportation here is the ATV (All Terrain Vehicle). These torqued up dune buggies have been used for about twenty years. They’re a multi-purpose utility that provide riders and passenger’s transportation across the spectrum including recreation, hunting as well ATV’s are good for getting the groceries or Sunday driving. A compact personal vehicle with rock proof suspension frames and highly efficient engines make the ATV design the transportation of choice for those living in the community.

Getting from point A to point B is a common aspect of life in the North and different modes of travel keep people together. The ATV provides an exhilarating driving experience, a great option of mechanized travel that further enables living on land.

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