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Igluit could solve housing crisis

Kent Driscoll
Northern News Services

Iqaluit (Dec 04/06) - Eenoapik Sageatook is a living history of Iqaluit.

The 77-year-old elder spends her days at the Iqaluit elders home, and she remembers a time before buildings covered the ground around Frobisher Bay.

"I came with my parents and I've been living here ever since," said Sageatook, through Arctic College translation student Gloria Putumiraqtuq.

"When I moved here, there were no houses, there were tents. I wonder how it would be if there was never a town or city," said Sageatook.

When asked about which traditional ways she would like to see make a come back, Sageatook tackles the Nunavut housing crisis.

"I'd bring back Inuit traditions, and have people live in iglus," she said. "Now we have to pay for houses. We didn't have to pay for anything before we moved to Iqaluit."

Sageatook is disappointed in the Government of Nunavut.

"When they said we were getting our own government, (that) we would never be poor, and that is not happening. They also said that only Inuit would be working, that's not happening. What they said is not coming," said Sageatook.

Nunavut has the youngest population in Canada, but Sageatook is reluctant to dispense any advice directly to the up-and-coming generation.

"I think I'm too old to teach them now, but I want to see our younger elders teach them how Inuit used to live before we had towns, survival skills,' said Sageatook.

Alcohol and tobacco have played a role in aging some elders prematurely, something that Sageatook sees from her position at the elders home.

It makes her sad.

"I see people younger than me that look older than me. I wish they would stop, but it is not up to me, it is up to them," said Sageatook.