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The Keewatin Echo: Issue 67, February 1974

The latest addition to our Arviat archives is the November 1974 issue of the Keewatin Echo. It's available for readers to download and view by clicking here.

Energy Conservation

Commissioner Stuart Hodgson today urged Territorial Government employees to embark on an energy conservation program.

He said that although existing fuel supplies in the north are adequate, “we are extremely vulnerable to severe problems if the supply in the future is not sufficient to meet our requirements.”

Mr. Hodgson, in a written directive, urged staff members to turn off lights at home and at work when rooms or buildings are not in use and encouraged them to bank their homes with snow to conserve heat.

In addition, he stated all staff members should be encouraged to turn down the heat in their homes at night and when they are away from home.

“The N.W.T., particularly those areas above the tree line, are almost totally dependent on petroleum products for light and heat. I cannot over emphasize the problems that would be created in the North if we are faced with an oil shortage.”

Mr. Hodgson said Canada has been fortunate to date in that the current energy crisis has not yet reached the point where rationing of oil products is required.

“But just because the situation is not severe at this time is no reason why we should be lulled into a false sense of security and a feeling that this world-wide problem does not directly affect us,” he explained.

(From: N.W.T. Information)

Snowmobilers Still Pressing On ….

It’s not easy to measure the Bill Coopers of this world. They fit no mold and do not follow the laws of living for ordinary men. Dreams are the things they chase while common people remain bored with reality. And they appear anywhere. Willow River, Minnesota, population 343, has Bill Cooper. Two years ago he identified his dream – to lead a Trans-World Snowmobile Expedition to Moscow via the Arctic Circle. Perhaps some fools bet against him but a payoff is unlikely.

Last June 22, Cooper, 43, and two crew members quit riding their snowmobiles some 250 miles northeast of Greenland on ocean ice to finish the second leg of their journey. “We wanted to go as far as possible (out of the ocean ice) so no one could claim we skipped anything,” said Cooper. It was almost too far. “In May we lost all our equipment through the ice. But three of us (out of a team of six) returned to finish the trip.

Finally we had to quit. There was ice breaking up all around us and we sat for three days waiting and looking for a place to be picked up. The pilot finally landed on an ice floe about 3,600 feet long and about 1,200 feet wide,” he said.

Crossing the Arctic’s shifting ice was most treacherous. “For one things you can’t call AAA for road conditions. The ice changes constantly, moving about 7 miles every 24 hours east of the North Pole,” said Cooper.

In early May, Cooper was leading the crew and breaking trail about 5 miles ahead when the ice parted behind him.

“I was stranded for three days and three nights on an ice floe. The rest of the crew thought I was dead for sure. That’s when we had a little morale problem because some of them wanted to turn back.

I finally got off the floe but I had to leave my machine and walk back to our last camp.”

Cooper’s crew consisted of Dick Lucken, Little Falls, Deputy leader and mechanic; Bill Soltis, Willow River, mechanic; Frank Larson, Surgeon Lake, logistics; Rob Goodman, St. Cloud, medic; and Tony Kanter, Minneapolis, photographer. “There were times when I said to myself ‘What the hell are you doing here now’ but I wouldn’t give it up for anything. The most serious accident we’ve had was when Kanter froze his feet. We flew him out for treatment. “We dress mostly in caribou skins and wear special boots made in Red Wing. I’m not sure why Kanter froze his feet but maybe he wasn’t wearing the right socks.

Cooper said the Arctic is a desert of ice and little snow. “But there’s lots of wildlife. We lived for many days on caribou and fish and ptarmigans and arctic hare. And we saw many polar bears. In fact several polar bears came into camp. They never bothered the tents and we didn’t go out to make trouble.”

To pinpoint their location, the crew took a sextant reading every day at noon and then navigated by the sun. “When we couldn’t see the sun we didn’t move,” he said.

Cooper’s dream – his expedition – will resume early next year, starting from the shores of Norway, crossing Sweden and Finland, to Russia’s border. “We’re about 3 to 5 weeks of travel time away from Moscow. Right now we’re having some problems with clearance into Russia but we’ll go to the border anyway. I think they’ll let us in.

So far, the expedition has cost about $130,000 largely financed by snowmobile related companies. Two of 11 original snowmobiles still are operating after 8,000 miles. One machine is in a museum; others are on the ocean’s bottom.

“Because of the gas shortage, I’ve heard some criticism about continuing the trip. But I can’t quit now. It will take about 1,300 gallons of gas to finish. Heck we would burn that much fuel by staying home.” His wife Lorraine, would be the last to talk him out of going.

“It wouldn’t do any good. He’s a determined man. But I will be glad when it’s over.” Bill Cooper may be glad when it’s over, too.

Chasing dreams does strange things to the mind. Out on Arctic flatlands, Cooper would suddenly see hotel buildings or telephone poles, illusions still unexplained. “For a while, I was afraid to say anything to the other guys about what I saw. Finally it came out we were all seeing it.”

Home Maintenance Course

A home maintenance course is being run in Eskimo Point from January 7 to February 15. First phase of this course is the Oil Burner Mechanics.

There are 9 students enrolled. 2 from Eskimo Point; Charlie Malla, 7 from surrounding Keewatin David Papik and Peter Tapatai; Baker Lake, Cyris Nanout and Martin Kreelak; Chesterfield Inlet, Joe Netser, Coral Harbour; Lucasie Ekidlak, Belcher Islands; Pierre Nipisar, Rankin Inlet. Oil Burner instructor is Carl Georgian from A.V.T.C. Fort Smith.

The Course is being run out of the Adult Education Centre in Eskimo Point. The boys are preserving oil burners here for the local Housing Association. We hope that when they finish this course they can go home and carry on in their own settlement as oil burner maintenance men. As this course is a continuous one the boys will be returning each year for another phase or take Oil Burner again.

ITC President Resigns

The Inuit Tapirisat of Canada are bringing a number of grievances before the Minister of Northern Development this week and the Baffin Island National Parks is one of them.

The President of the ITC, Tagak Curley, says the Federal Government is proposing great economic gain for the communities of Pangnirtung and Broughton Island but he charges these promises are based on falsehoods.

The President of the ITC has resigned. He says he’s leaving the ITC because he wants to spend more time personally with young people.


Alcohol Workshop to be held in Chesterfield Inlet

A community Alcohol Workshop will be held in Chesterfield Inlet next month. The Workshop will be sponsored by the Settlement Council and financed by the Department of Social Services under the Alcohol Education Program.


How many Employed?

There are 92 Indians employed by the Territorial Government for a total of 4.2%. Inuit workers number 259 or 11.8% and there are 162 Metis people employed for 7.4%. The total non-native workforce stands at 1,679 or 76.7%.


Territorial Councillor Address Speech in Eskimo

YELLOWKNIFE (Jan. 30) – An elected member of Territorial Council addressed her colleagues in the Eskimo language Tuesday.

Lena Pederson, a Coppermine housewife and member of Council for the Central Arctic, stated she had obviously been unable to explain herself properly in the English language since she was elected to office three years ago.

Her address lasted over 10 minutes but no one except Willie Adams of Rankin Inlet, understood what she said. Paul Koolerk, the only other Eskimo member of Council, was not in the chamber.

Mrs. Pederson gave no advance notice of her intention and did not request the services of a member of the N.W.T. interpreter-translator corps to provide an interpretation for other members of council.

Inuit Land Use and Occupancy Project Starting in Keewatin

On January 18th, 1974, Jean Chretien, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development said there will be a negotiated land settlement with the Inuit. He is ready to negotiate immediately but said he is waiting for the Inuit to prepare a land claim. Inuit Tapirisat of Canada is now working hard to prepare this claim.

A large part of the preparation for a land claim is based on research into land and water traditionally used and occupied by Inuit.

Tony Welland from Ottawa is working with Inuit in each settlement in the Keewatin to get land use information. The information needed will be put on maps for each hunter. Tapes will be made to find out the Inuit view of the land.

What’s Alcohol For?

What’s alcohol for? That’s what the older and some younger people are asking themselves.

It seems in the north the accidents are caused by alcohol. The people who drink it don’t think about it but the people who don’t drink think about it a lot.

When they start drinking they think they will be happy but it doesn’t make them happy, it just makes them worse. When they drink , the first thing that happens is that they start to get dizzy and also sleepy. It is because alcohol is damaging their brain.

Alcohol can cause many problems like starting up a fight, ski-doo accidents, skilling and many other things that is caused by alcohol.

Why do people drink? It had never helped them and never will help them. It also cost lots of money which should have been spent by getting food and also some clothes.

The law in the north is “people under 19 are not allowed to drink.” I think everybody knows that, so if you’re a minor don’t drink or else you’ll end up in court and be given a fine. Those older people who drink, don’t give a minor a drink or you’ll end up in big trouble or in jail where you have nothing to do. Let’s start thinking about it now. I think it won’t help us people and it never had and never will help.

Why do you drink? Is it because you want to be happy? No, that’s not it. It is because you want to make trouble.

In a settlement where I live, there’s no bar and I’m hoping not to get a bar or anything that causes trouble in my settlement in Belcher Islands.

If you drink, you’re not going to solve your problem, you’re just getting yourselves into trouble, and nobody can help you if you are drunk to solve your problem.

Alcohol takes away your money for nothing. So let’s start thinking about it and also start talking about it. I’m writing this because to me the biggest problem in the North is caused by alcohol. Don’t drink. Start thinking of your future children.

Caroline Meeko
Sanikiluaq Harbour
Belcher Islands, NWT
Nuiyak School

Migratory Birds

The Council has agreed on a motion by the member for the High Arctic, Paul Koolerk, to change the hunting season for migratory birds.


Dear Editor

Oil and Mining Exploration

In 1969 or 1970, officials from Ottawa came up to meet with the Inuit about oil and mining exploration. They came up to understand how Inuit feel about it and asked if we wanted it to go ahead or not. No one had anything to say at that time so they suggested we let them know if we had something to say after they had gone back to Ottawa. By now most of what they said, no doubt, have been forgotten and I am certain no none sent any letters to them.

Among the group that came to visit our community, there was the interpreter and someone who is engaged in game matters and someone who is involved with getting employment for the people. They advised us to let them know if there was something going on against the wishes of the Inuit.

They also told us that a mineral deposit has been found in the Central Arctic and oil has been discovered in the Central Arctic area. They also said that people would like to go ahead to mine the deposit if the Inuit agree for a go ahead. We were told that if the mineral deposit were opened, it would be something like Rankin Inlet. Only the mining area would be drilled and not the whole land.

They told us if an oil deposit was drilled, they would leave the drill in and just suck the oil out through a tube in the drill.

Personally, I feel it would not be a bad thing to do since I’ve heard rumours of oil shortage. I am wondering why we should be so reluctant for them to go ahead, whom we constantly receive help from. Perhaps we think we’re independent because of the tremendous assistance from the White people. Because of our false sense of independence we refuse to give up what we value. We cannot even refine the oil in our land.

If the oil was made available, it would benefit the Inuit, because now oil is our only source of light and many other things. So, why should we be reluctant to give a go ahead? Because of this action, I think Inuit are just being plain foolish.

Paul Siusaarnaaq
Repulse Bay, N.W.T.

Five Beans

We sat home doing nothing because the weather is too cold, even our children are afraid of the bitter cold and refuse to play out doors.

Later on in the evening our two sons started to play on the floor. I heard them throwing something. The objects could be heard quite distinctly as they touched the floor (as though something small and hard). I didn’t have to wait long to find out what they were because my son, Kippaq, came to our bedroom and left something on the floor. As he left the room I looked down and examined what the objects were. I discovered they were beans. Putting the bean in my hand I began to talk to it in my imagination.

I asked, “What are you doing on the floor, are you for food or for garbage?”

The bean replied, “What are you going to do with me? Don’t you see I’m from a warm country, from the Whitemen’s land? Do you intend to throw me in the garbage, or do you want to save me? If you place me in wet soil I can grow to be 10 inches in a few days and have green leaves.”

I placed the bean in soil and sure enough it began to grow like a plant in less than a week.

With this in mind, perhaps we can see something begin to grow in the land of the Inuit which has never grown before. We can make something grow by using our imagination and deciding how best it could be done.

Eric Anoee
Eskimo Point, NWT

Dogs are Dangerous

This is Muckpah writing.

I have not written a letter before, but I am concerned enough to write about dogs. Dogs are extremely dangerous when you have many kids. They are dangerous because they do not perceive as humans do. They can easily bite a child or an adult anytime.

It is difficult to constantly watch over kids when they are at school. Often, people are quite far from school. Children do not know the dangers and infectious diseases. We cannot constantly watch over our children. Children often play outdoors for recess and it is difficult for adults to continually watch over them when they are playing outside. It is extremely dangerous to leave dogs untied. It would be really frightening experience if a child was bitten by an infectious dog. I’m extremely perturbed about this matter. There are just too many loose dogs running around that are a real threat to small children who play outdoors. I don’t think too many people are least concerned about loose dogs. That is all I have to say. Thank you.
* From Whale Cove

School Page

Many of the advisory Boards had special trips for the school children last summer and fall. The children went out on the land and did some hunting and fishing. Here are some stories about these trips. One from Coral Harbour and the others from Repulse Bay.

Our Trip to Coats Island

This summer we were out to Coats Island with nine Boy Scouts including me. We each got one caribou and Moses got three. Then we went to Mansel Island and we saw killer whales. We put eight barrels on land. All of the Boy Scouts helped and the men helped. It was hard work. Then we were going back and we saw a mother polar bear and two very small cubs. The mother polar bear touched the Peterhead with its nose and it growled at us. In the middle of Mansel Island and Coats Island there was no sign of land. Then we went to Coats Island. Then we stayed on an island because it was very windy. We caught more caribou. It was a little bit windy, but we went back to Coral Harbour.

By: Billy Nakoolak

Our trip to Niakungut

One day our teacher said the boys could go hunting and so all the girls wanted to go with them. We wanted to go fishing. The teacher said that we would have a meeting first with the Education Advisory Board. They already had a meeting and they said “YES.” On Saturday we left Repulse Bay and some boys were going caribou hunting at the same time. The girls went fishing to Niakungut. There were two women, two boys and eight girls at the camp. It took us two hours to get to the river. Many people went that first day. On Monday most of them went away.

I caught two fish in the net but they were eaten by the shrimp before I could get them out of the net. One day the girls and I went picking flowers and the old lady told us their Eskimo names. At night the ladies told us stories. It was fun.

On Saturday Elizabeth, Monica, Levi and I went in a little boat to look at the nets. It was fun. We saw all the nets and the old lady’s net caught a big fish. We couldn’t get it off. We went back to shore and told the old lady. She came back with us and took the fish off.

When we were ready to come back to Repulse Bay, Luke’s father came for us in the big boat. It was fun going back. We saw lots of seals.

The Caribou Hunt

After we shot the five caribou we started to skin them. We skinned three caribou and put some of the meat in a cache and the other meat we took home. Laurent and Luke started to go home. Laurent carried some meat and one skin and Luke carried one gun and one caribou leg.

My dad and I started to go to another caribou that Luke shot. We finished skinning the caribou before they came back. My dad and I started to make a cache. When we finished the cache we put some meat into it. My dad said the caribou had only one eye. Luke had shot a caribou that had only one eye.

When Lorne and Luke came back they had two other guys with them. They were two men from Hall Beach. Luke decided to carry some meat and caribou fat. The caribou that I shot was in the lake. When we got to the lake the caribou was still in the water. My father decided to have supper. I agreed. When we got back to camp many people were there. We drank some tea. When we finished our tea, the Hall Beach people left. We then went back to my caribou. It was still in the water. We decided to skin it.

Luke and Johnny K.

Poems and Stories

Eskimo Point has sent us lots of really fine stories and poems. It is too bad we cannot print them all, but here are some we hope you will like:


I am old now, I must die.

Me in my chair.

My body is tired I worked so hard
Old age is coming to kill me

I cannot work for now I am old.
Me in my chair.
Death is waiting for me outside.

Old I am, Old I am.
Death is here.
Old I am, Old I am.
Me in my chair.

- By Dorothy


I am filled with happiness in my heart,
My brothers said that I am going to play ski-doo,
Now I am filled with joy …

-Martha A.

Hunting Trip

One Monday it was a holiday. My dad told me I was going with him seal hunting. We put our Coleman stove and our food and our gas and our motors and our guns into the canoe. Because my brother John didn’t want to go, I went with my father. So we put all our things in the boat and my brother pushed us. We went far from the point.

“I thought I saw a seal.” I said to my father.

My father said, “Where?”

“Near that rock.”

So my father went closer. It was a rock. So my father tried to look all around.

He saw one, when he shot he missed so it went under the water.

So we went closer to the land. I looked. There was a seal sleeping on a rock. So my father shot the seal and we were tired of looking for seal so we went back to Eskimo Point. My mom skinned the seal. She sold it at the store and got $25.00 and we were happy.



Wolves are huntful
They can kill caribou
and any animals


About this issue:

The Keewatin Echo was published monthly by the Keewatin Region Adult Education Staff of the Government of the Northwest Territories. This particular issue was published in February 1974 in Eskimo Point, N.W.T. (now Arviat, Nunavut) and was edited by Mark Kalluak of Arviat.

This issue was digitized by the Nunavut Arctic College Learning Materials Centre in Arviat to ensure the stories, writings, history and content contained within will be archived, preserved and accessible for future generations to discover. We hope you, and our fellow residents in Arviat enjoy reading it.

Download the complete February 1974 edition of the Keewatin Echo:

Click here to read the complete, original issue of the February 1974 Keewatin Echo in English and Inuktitut (PDF).


Last modified on
Jamie Bell

Jamie Bell is the Public Affairs Officer for Nunavut Arctic College. He can be reached in Arviat at 1-867-857-8625 or by e-mail at


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