by John Agnew
Northern News Services
NNSL (Feb 10/97) - Each month Northerners turn their calendars to a new month marked by irrelevant and meaningless special occasions.
Groundhog Day is a good example. What is that all about, anyway? Why not change that to Ptarmigan Day and put it in May? If the birds are still white, there will be six more weeks of winter.
While we're at it, how about dropping St. Patrick's Day? According to legend, he chased the snakes out of Ireland. Snakes aren't much of a worry around here.
What we need is our own calendar, one that marks days that have some meaning in the North.
To start with, Jan. 1 could be remembered as the day the NWT got its own capital.
Leo Norwegian of Fort Simpson suggests "officially acknowledging June 21, the longest day of the year, as Aboriginal Day." Not a bad idea.
The time of year that we celebrate Thanksgiving, a holiday scheduled long after the snow has started to fall north of 60, would be better celebrated for the start of the caribou hunt.
October is also the month to acknowledge Joseph-Armand's invention of the snowmachine, which he launched in the fall of 1958. If it wasn't for the snowmachine, we'd have nothing to do when the TV breaks.
A day -- or, more appropriately, a night -- should be set aside to officially honor the Northern Lights. If we picked Dec. 21, the longest night of the year, then we'd have something to do that night.
Inuvik has the right idea in celebrating the return of the sun every Jan. 6.
Peter Ittinuar of the Inuit Cultural Institute thinks it might be appropriate to set aside April 5, the day the first Northerner, Willie Adams, was appointed to the Senate, as a holiday. He could have mentioned that June 4 was the day the first Inuk, Ittinuar himself, was sworn into the House of Commons.
Ittinuar added that, while we are celebrating Northern triumphs in June, why not remember Agnes Semmler and Nellie Cournoyea, the founders of the Committee for Original People's Entitlement?
And finally, let's look ahead a little and put April 1, 1999, on the calendar. That will mark the start of a whole new adventure.