Nuuk, Greenland – I met a fascinating woman this week. Her name is Olga. She’s a former journalist and she now runs a small shop in town. When I tell her I’ve recently been in Nunavut she gets to talking about identity and how she thinks it’s tough for many Greenlanders.
She told me about growing up in the 50s and 60s and how, back then all teachers were Danish and all text books were Danish. She said whenever she or her friends spoke Greenlandic her teacher would punish them and send them immediately out of class.
She went on to tell me that she was well into adulthood before she learned that there were people – ‘just like her’ – that lived right next door to Greenland. The Inuit of Canada.
“Can you believe that?,” she asked me. “I went to Iqaluit as an adult and there were people there that spoke my language. I had no idea before and I couldn’t believe it. They looked like me and talked like me and were there less than two hours away from Nuuk. But all through school, I’d never heard a word about them.”