“We’re the smiling Eskimo. We sort of look dumb. But times are changing and we’re learning how the system works”
Award-winning Inuit filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk is excited about this week’s screening of his 2014 documentary My Father’s Land in Ottawa and he’s looking forward to going to the capital to answer questions from the audience when the film is over. But he almost didn’t get there.
Kunuk recently lost his wallet on a January trip to Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival in Toronto, and with it, all his photo identification. To make matters worse, Kunuk’s passport just expired so he now has no photo ID. He was hoping to get a temporary ID from the Igloolik hamlet office so he could fly.
Reached at his home in Igloolik Feb. 23, Kunuk and friends were in the middle of assembling and checking gear for a weekend walrus hunting trip. So worst case scenario, if he couldn’t fly to Ottawa, at least he would have been doing something else he loves.
My Father’s Land is a film nearly three hours long that Kunuk made to document the social, environmental and economic changes occurring in North Baffin as a result of Baffinland Iron Mines’ Mary River mine, roughly halfway between Igloolik, Kunuk’s hometown, and Pond Inlet.
My Father’s Land happens to be about Kunuk’s father Enuki, but Kunuk said it could be about anyone’s father because “it’s all our fathers’ land.” The film, which airs March 2 at Ottawa’s Mayfair Theatre, is part of Carleton University’s “Visions for Canada 2042,” a conference hosted by the university’s faculty of public affairs.
The conference hopes to explore “the ways innovative collaboration among researchers and the community may be the most effective response to Canada’s future challenges,” says a conference news release.
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