January 26, 2007
|She shook with laughter as she held up a pair of men’s boxer shorts with the Kiss Me I’m Irish logo. Strands of her thick black wavy hair shoulder-length hair fell across her honey-coloured cheeks and she pushed them back as she lifted her face. “I love it!”she exclaimed. “I want it!” It reminded me of a family story that I wanted to tell her. Ever since she became a member of our Irish-English family she has made us all even more aware of our genealogy.|
My linguist son is looking into the (Gaelic) Goidelic languages which according to wikipedia have historically been part of a dialect continuum stretching from the south of Ireland, the Isle of Man, to the north of Scotland. They are one of two major divisions of modern-day Insular Celtic languages and Brythonic Goidelic is generally divided into: Irish Gaeilge, Scottish Gaelic Gàidhlig and Manx Gaelg.
I’m uploading my oral and archival family history so my grandchildren present and future will know from where they have come.
Meanwhile my youngest son and his beautiful French wife have sent us the most emotionally-charged images I could imagine. Inter-uterine photography may not evoke wonder and awe in everyone, but when the grandson (we now know it is a boy) is visible thanks to technology and sharable (thanks to email attachments) I am enraptured. But it’s not just the still .jpg images where he looks like a sculpture cast in pure gold, we can see his movements thanks to .avi even though is is only 15 weeks old. I approach him with such reverence and in speechless wonderment because these images are rare images from a world within worlds. There is no comparison between the jolting experience of sketching at Body Worlds 3 in December and the experience of these images on my screen. These are situated somewhere between 13 weeks and 21 weeks but this is so much more real, related and therefore relevant to my own existence. This child will be in our hearts, minds and souls through all the worlds of God.
But more than that . . . he is also related to these Irish, British, French ancestors in Europe, the United Kingdom and Canada. If my father were alive he would be including this lad in his gathering of the clover. Each summer my Irish father would find by his own magic a four-leafed clover — the Irish good-luck symbol — for each of his six children. He only looked in areas surrounding our cottage at Rocky Point, Prince Edward Island. I think of him as I think of this new generation for I have seen his abilities and strengths in my own sons.
How are we measured in the larger scheme of things? If it is by our material possessions then we have not fared well, but if it has anything to do with our children and grandchildren, we are fortunate, deeply grateful . . .
December 8, 2006
I don’t remember when it started. But I know that after this it got worse. A few days after Jennifer was killed my class was canceled because the RCMP had shut down the entire capital of Nunavut — well, they told the taxi service to no longer take calls. Later we found out that someone with a rifle on a snowmobile was riding around town shooting randomly in the air. We were told there was no danger. Jennifer’s murderer was not found during my entire stay that term. When taxis were back in service we would sometimes drive close to her home surrounded by the police yellow tape. An RCMP officer came over to chat with the taxi driver. My route was no where near but taxis are shared in Iqaluit so you never know where you might find yourself. I was not afraid for myself since the violence in Nunavut is Inuit against Inuit. But I was afraid. The death as described by so many people was so violent. It was more like an unpaid drug dealer’s cruel and cowardly threat to someone else. Jennifer was chosen as the victim. There was no explanation. I began to understand why Inuit youth from Iqaluit listened to Tupak and related to the violence described in his rap music from the Hood.
We all sat there in the overcrowded auditorium in Inukshuk High School. We held candles, remembered the women victims of violence in Montreal but everyone thought of Jennifer. In the background was a stretched seal skin, a cultural symbol of the community. Paututiit, the Inuit Women’s association used this as a symbol of unity where each peg serves the purpose of stretching the skin evenly. Each is needed. each has equal value.
If Jennifer had not been so violently killed she would probably not be part of my everyday life years later. There are some images you cannot forget, at least I cannot.
On Friday, Dec. 6, 2002, 13-year-old Jennifer Naglingniq, of Iqaluit, Nunavut, helped her teacher hang Christmas decorations. A few hours later she was dead, xxx murdered in her home. Her mother, CBC Iqaluit program clerk Nicotye Naglingniq, found her body when she returned home shortly after midnight.
Wende Tulk, Jennifer’s home room teacher at Inuksuk high school, says Jennifer was a special student – bright, with high marks and a natural leader. “People listened to her. You know when she graduated she would be doing great things.”; She was an enthusiastic soccer player and just bought new soccer shoes the day before she was killed. Tulk will be haunted by Jennifer’s dyed-orange ponytail, her beautiful voice and her positive attitude. “She was always singing, always happy.” She said that Jennifer – and her final act of helpfulness – won’t be soon forgotten. ” We’re going to leave those Christmas decorations up all year now.”
xxxx, 24, was charged with Jennifer’s murder but was released from Baffin Correctional Centre a few days later, when the charge of first degree murder was stayed.. The Crown decided the case against xxxx wasn’t strong enough to proceed at this time. The Crown has one year to reactivate the case. The RCMP say they are continuing the investigation. Police are not revealing how Jennifer was murdered, saying that only them and the murderer know how she died.
Please support the Jennifer Naglingniq Memorial Fund. A memorial fund has been set up to create an annual award in Jennifer’s name for a student at Inukshuk high school who contributes to making Iqaluit a better place. Donations can be made at the CBC Toronto Credit Union in the Jennifer Naglingniq Memorial Fund account 9879 or through the Bank of Montreal in Iqaluit, account 3635 8040 108. You can also send your donation to: The Jennifer Naglingniq Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 490, Iqaluit, NU X0A 0H0. Please give generously. The deadline for donations at the CBC Toronto Credit Union may be expired (Source 2002?).”
Allison Brewer. 2003. “Troubled ghosts of our sisters.” The Globe & Mail. Saturday, December 6: A19
A year ago, as we in Iqaluit prepared to commemorate the Montreal Massacre, one of our own was added to the list of victims of violence against women. Dec. 6, 2002, dawned cold and clear in Iqaluit. A community not unfamiliar with the subject, it had for years recognized and honoured the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Last year, the 13th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, was no different. As I made my way down the hill on a morning walk to work with Maureen Doherty, the event organizer, there were the usual worries. Had enough coffee and tea been ordered for the expected 50 or so people who usually show up for the event? Would the change of venue from the Arctic College campus to Inuksuk High School work? All matters that seemed of great importance that morning (Brewer 2003:A19).