Two weeks ago, a group of students and a few adults from Greenland came to visit Chewonki. In exchange for a place to stay, they showed us a movie they had created. The main character in the film was a native Inuit boy named Inuk. He was having family troubles and many nights stayed in the “children’s home” in Upernavik, the city where he had lived most of his life. A lady who worked at the home had a discussion with Inuk’s mother and him about his welfare. This same lady from the movie was also one of the adults who came to visit. Before the movie started she sang a native Inuit song. In the movie she convinced Inuk’s mother that it was best for him to move north for a while. He would live with other teenagers facing difficulties but also live a life similar to that of his parents and grandparents. Unexcited about leaving Upernavik he joined the group and embarked on an excursion through artic territory to hunt seals. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to meet the boy who played Inuk, but we did get to meet the character that played one of Inuk’s friends on their trip. Her name in real life is Sarah. After helping the visitors unload their things into Chewonki cabins, I walked up to where the movie was being played with Sarah and a few other girls who played smaller parts in the movie. Sarah told me they had been to Europe and now were coming to the United States to spread the word of their movie. She also said she hated watching it. I was surprised because she did such an excellent job. It was really amazing how none of the people we met had any acting experience but had created such a great film.
We are all fretting the cold that is soon to come in our wood stove heated cabins. However, ten degree nights seem like nothing compared to their negative thirty degree nights completely exposed on a dog sled. When Willard came to check us in at Ranch, we chatted even more about the Inuit’s and their life style. Many of us wishing to have an adventure like theirs across hundreds of miles of ice on a dog sled. The Inuit’s visit made me think back to our initial discussions about our sense of place here on Chewonki neck. As we said goodbye to them we all seemed really grateful for the amount of life that surrounds us, in the woods, on the farm and in the ocean.
-Emily Hollyday, Cape Elizabeth, ME