AngryFrenchGuy

Inuits at the Water Slides

with 272 comments

Canadian Artic

It sounds like the setup to a bad joke: it’s 33° and I’m driving a bus full of sweaty Inuit teens in their bathing suits to a water park in a place called, of all things, Pointe-Calumet.

The day had not started well. I drove up to the address on my paperwork in the leafy West Island suburb of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue to find out that the street was closed. After some pretty awesome driving that nobody got to witness, I finally made my way to my pick up location where a dozen bored Inuits just stared at me.

C’est vous la gang pour les glissades d’eau? I asked.

English!, some obnoxious fat eskimo girl barked back.

-Français!, I answered.

-English!

I tell you kids these days. English please, maybe?

I was fuming. I was ready to fight the battle of Oka all over again. I was making plans to get on a plane to Kuujuuak right that day and just spend the day walking around yelling Français! every time someone addressed me in Inuktitut.

Driving down highway 40 all the way to the other side of Montreal to pick up the other half of my group at the Cégep Marie-Victorin it occurred to me that my chances of someone addressing a white boy like me in Inuktitut, even in the North, were probably quite slim.  I was tired and cranky.  Maybe my usually cheerful AngryFrenchDisposition had not come across well.

I blame the Jews. Two of them: Jon and Benji who had me out drinking until way passed my bedtime the night before.

So anyway, by the time we reach the East End, I’m considerably less pumped. Another dozen Inuits come on the bus but this time no one speaks to me in the world’s great order-giving language.

Salut!

Bonjour, Monsieur.

It turns out these kids had literally just landed in Montréal and were spending their first few days away from home. They were all from Nunavik, a series of Inuit villages that line the northern shores of Québec, from Hudson’s Bay to the very tip of the province and back down to Labrador.

Québec’s Inuit villages, contrary to popular belief, are not reservations and the Inuits who live there pay taxes even though they receive precious few government services. One of the many services they don’t get is higher education. The kids on the bus were in Montréal to go to Cégep. Half of them we’re studying in English at John-Abbott College in the West, the other half were going to school in French at le Collège Marie-Victorin.

Language politics are obviously completely different in the North—where, at least until further notice, the first language of most people is neither French nor English—but it still struck me how the French and English Inuits reproduced so many of the south’s social behaviour.

Anglo and Franco-Inuits kept apart, with one group occupying the back of the bus, the other the front. If the Anglo-Inuits spoke or understood any French, they weren’t using it. On the other hand, the French-Inuits all seemed to be able to speak English. Indeed, they often used English when addressing the Anglo Inuits. The Anglo-Inuits were (as the morning’s experience illustrated) loud and testy. The Franco Inuits ate poutine for lunch and their women were hotter.

The Franco Inuits also had their token white boy who was able to speak (what seemed to me) fluent Inuktitut, which is pretty cool.

As the sun came down and the humidex level fell,  my white guilt shot up.  I had had negative feelings about native kids.  Micheal Ignatieff would so hate me.

I needed to redeem myself from the morning’s tense encounter with the first group and to demonstrate what a culturally sensitive person that I really am. I asked the big and beautiful First Nation lady who had yelled to me in English if she could teach me how to say Hello in Inuktitut so I could impress the other kids as they came on the bus.  Apparently unaware that we had been fighting, she was glad to teach me.

It turns out that Hello in Inuktitut is Ai, which, with a gringo accent, sounds exactly like English Hi, which left the kids absolutely unimpressed with my linguistic skills.

There is even one of the Franco Inuits who replied with a very dry Bonjour, as if she was annoyed that I assumed she spoke English because she was an Inuit.

Written by angryfrenchguy

September 20, 2009 at 12:00 pm

272 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Today, I went to the beachfront with my kids. I found a
    sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She
    placed the shell to her ear and screamed.
    There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants
    to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off
    topic but I had to tell someone!

    drug rehab

    June 12, 2014 at 4:29 am

  2. Hi, all is going well here and ofcourse every one is sharing data, that’s in fact good, keep up writing.

  3. Hi are using WordPress for your site platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m
    trying to get started and create my own. Do you need
    any coding expertise to make your own blog? Any help would be really appreciated!

    casitablanca flooring

    June 19, 2014 at 4:19 pm

  4. You’d want nothing less than a Norge treatment.
    Escort girls in Oslo are fresh, young, energetic and fascinating.

    You can find a girl the age you prefer. Whenever you order because of these services, you’re going to get a reply
    in real time. Just plan a perfect companion you’ve planned to meet your entire
    entire life. Oslo won’t just offer intriquing, notable
    and excellent tourist hot spots but also hot girls to warm your heart.
    You will need a companion during a stop by at Norway, let Eskorte Jenter Oslo assist you,
    there are enough professional girls for every single visitor.
    Never imagine missing a woman to your fun in Oslo because they’re always
    there and able to present you with company.

    Mallory

    June 24, 2014 at 12:36 am

  5. Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear.
    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say
    great blog!

    escorts Doha escort

    June 29, 2014 at 2:29 am

  6. This design is incredible! You definitely know how to keep a
    reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start
    my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Excellent job.
    I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that,
    how you presented it. Too cool!

    African Mango Oz

    July 1, 2014 at 9:49 am

  7. It may be translated into every language, and
    not only be read but actually breathed from all human lips; — not be represented on canvas or in marble
    only, but be carved out of the breath of life itself.

    Jane is surprised to hear Rochester had traveled to the
    Americas. The first two sentences may be reposted with a link back
    to the original article.

  8. Currently it seems like Expression Engine is the top blogging platform out there
    right now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

    change

    July 3, 2014 at 3:26 am

  9. Hello, I would like to subscribe for this webpage to take most up-to-date updates, therefore where
    can i do it please help out.

    Human Body Muscles

    July 4, 2014 at 12:30 am

  10. Vous y trouverez par des experts agence immobiliere wikipedia à certains concepts dans
    ce monde grâce de la extrêmement difficile à formation ennemie lorsqu’il femmes sont attirés qui avaient été

    agence immobiliere paris 17

    agence immobiliere a bourges

    agences immobilieres a chalon sur saone

    agence immobiliere joinville le pont

    agence immobiliere a tours

    agences immobilieres

    July 4, 2014 at 5:02 pm

  11. This is really interesting, You are a very skilled
    blogger. I’ve joined your feed aand look forward to seeking more of your excellewnt post.
    Also, Ihave shared your site in my social networks!

    esa contact number

    July 5, 2014 at 2:11 am

  12. This paragraph offers clear idea designed for the
    new people of blogging, that actually how to do running a
    blog.

  13. Hello there! This article could not be written any better!
    Going through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He continually kept talking about this. I most certainly will
    send this article to him. Fairly certain he’ll have a good read.
    Thanks for sharing!

  14. This is very interesting, You are a very skilled blogger.
    I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your great post.
    Also, I have shared your site in my social networks!

  15. Hello to every body, it’s my first visit
    of this website; this webpage consists of remarkable and in fact excellent information for visitors.

  16. hi!,I really like your writing so so much! percentage we communicate extra approximately your post on AOL?
    I need an expert in this area to solve my problem.
    May be that is you! Having a look forward to see you.

  17. Anytime you happen to be saving a little money yet still getting
    exactly what you need, you are doing your business a great
    service. After your bankruptcy filing protection for your second time inside last two years a week ago, this southern California-based teen brand is
    holding a going from business sale. One in the main issue in opting the
    candid web hosting service sevices may be the price factor.

    Jacki Lesli

    July 9, 2014 at 7:35 pm

  18. When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three emails with
    the same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service?
    Thank you!

  19. If you are going for best contents like me, only pay a visit
    this site everyday as it presents feature contents, thanks

  20. Hi there, after reading this amazing article i am too cheerful to share my knowledge here with colleagues.

  21. Wow, fantastic blog format! How lengthy have you ever been blogging for?
    you made blogging look easy. The full look of your site is great, as smartly as the content material!

    xtreme no facebook

    July 11, 2014 at 11:55 pm

  22. Hi, I do think this is a great website. I stumbledupon it ;) I’m going to
    come back once again since i have book-marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.

  23. always i used to read smaller articles which also clear their motive, and that is also happening with this paragraph
    which I am reading at this place.

  24. If some one wishes expert view about blogging and site-building
    then i advise him/her to go to see this webpage, Keep up the
    pleasant work.

    Gaming Keyboard

    July 18, 2014 at 4:30 pm

  25. whoah this blog is great i like studying your articles.
    Stay up the great work! You recognize, many persons are
    searching round for this info, you could aid them greatly.

  26. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was
    wondering what all is needed to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like
    yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web savvy so I’m not 100% positive.
    Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks

    Www.Phen375fr.com

    July 21, 2014 at 3:44 pm

  27. Hello to every body, it’s my first pay a visit of this weblog; this web site carries awesome and actually good stuff
    for readers.

    green detox cleanse

    July 25, 2014 at 8:28 am

  28. I tend not to leave a leave a response, however I browsed a few of the responses on Inuits at the Water Slides | AngryFrenchGuy.

    I do have a few questions for you if it’s okay. Is it simply me
    or do a few of the responses come across like they are coming from brain dead people?
    :-P And, if you are posting on other social sites, I would like to follow
    you. Would you list of all of all your shared pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

  29. Howdy! I know this is kinda off topic but I was
    wondering which blog platform are you using for this
    website? I’m getting fed up of WordPress because I’ve had issues with hackers and I’m looking at options
    for another platform. I would be fantastic if you could
    point me in the direction of a good platform.

    www.facebook.com

    July 26, 2014 at 10:18 pm

  30. Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to safeguard
    against hackers? I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on. Any recommendations?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: