Reel Duration: 13’06
Inuit people have always traveled long distances through the vast ice fields of their territories of Northwest Greenland, mostly for hunting and sometimes spiritual quests.
These scenes were filmed in the Siorapaluk Fjord while traveling to Siorapaluk settlement, the northernmost inhabited settlement in the world, located in the mythic region of Thule in North Greenland.
The Thule people were whale and seal hunters and were the first people to bring dogs into Greenland thus inaugurating the cultural history of dog sledding in Greenland, which is still a main mode of transportation today.
For more on Inuit, please see:
Inuit perspectives on Climate Change
Rasmus Avike (Hunter, Qaanaaq)
During my stay in Greenland ( 2012/ 2013) I spent a lot of time with hunters in the northern part of the country (Qaanaaq).
On dogs sleds I travelled with them, long distances on the vast fields of ice, sometimes for many days.
One of the hunters I travelled with, was Rasmus Avike who lives in Qaanaaq.
A fierce hunter with a very sweet personality and a beautiful family.
In this excerpt (5′ 59″) from INUIT LANDS, The Melting Point, Rasmus gives his own account of the melting of the ice and how that affects the livelihoods of Inuit hunters in the far north.
A stark reminder of climate change based on close and concrete experience.
A sequel of the film INUIT LANDS is in development for 2022.
The U.S Air base of Thule ( 1950 - 1953)
The Thule U.S Air Base was constructed in secret under the code name Operation Blue Jay but the project was made public in September 1952.
Its construction began in 1951 and was completed in 1953.
It forcefully relocated the Inuit community of the Thule region to new Thule village today called Qaanaaq.
This was during the time of the cold war and nuclear times,
between Moscow, Beijing and Washington.
Jean Malaurie and his Inuit companions (hunters) witnessed the arrival of the big metallic birds, landing in Inuit territory in 1950.
With the Thule Air base the displaced Inuit pass from the harpoon age to the nuclear age over night.
More in the film: https://patrickmorell.com/films/#inuitlands
This excerpt was made in collaboration with the US National Archives in College Park, Maryland.
excerpt from INUIT LANDS The Melting Point
The U.S Thule Air Base
Reel Duration: 3′ 03″
Greenland is a modern, western society.
For better or worse.
But it is also a country undergoing a process of strong readjustment.
From sustainable hunting to industry, from settlement life to information society, from colony to self governance, from local villages with their own values to national, parliamentary democracy, enormous development has taken place in just a few decades.
This fast paced change caused by modernity coming into this very traditional society still results in broken families exacerbated by alcoholism, domestic violence and suicides.
The Uummannaq Children's Home
One of the few places that takes care of the victims from these broken families is the Children’s Home in Uummannaq.
The children’s home in Uummannaq is one of the world’s most northerly 24-hour care centres for children and young people with social problems.
It is beautifully situated in this North Greenland town – 500 km north of the Arctic Circle.
It is the oldest 24-hour care centre in Greenland and also one of those that has the best results.
This is due to its broadness and its focused pedagogy.
In all, approximately 30 people are employed at the children’s home – all of them with wide professional experience.
Aside of the basic education the programs includes many extra curricular activities such as music, paintings, writings, photography, films and specific Inuit activities whose goals is to re connect the young men and women to traditional activities such as hunting and fishing.
In 2020, it shelters 36 children and young men and women.
It has been directed by Ann Andreasen, (Danish) for over 30 years.
“Children should not just be born. They should be carried into the world.”
Finn Jørn Jakobsen.
Footage filmed at the Uummannaq Children’s Home
Duration of reel # 1: 2′ 36″
Duration of reel # 2: 3′ 49″
Ann Andreasen, (righ of the photo) director of the Children’s Home in Uummannaq received in 2013 the Ebbe Munck Award from the Queen of Denmark, Margrethe, for her outstanding work with children in Greenland. The Ebbe Munck Award is given to people, who have done outstanding work, including Greenland research in traditions and customs, activities abroad, arts, journalism and education.
Jakob Løvstrøm, Uunartoq 1942- 2019
Jakob Løvstrøm, or Uunartoq (Inuit name) was Inuit and lived in Saattut settlement located on the small Saattut Island in Northwest Greenland, northeast of Uummannaq in the Uummannaq fjord system. Uunartok was a hunter most of his life.
His knowledge of the ice was very deep and took good care of his dogs in a very affectionate way.
The photographer Cyril Jazbec and I travelled several times with Uunartok leading the 12 dogs sled across the icy fjords between Uummannaq and Saattut and each time it was an unforgetable adventure.
Aside of the film: “Inuit Lands, The Melting Point” Uunnartok was also featured in several documentaries such as:
“Ice School” (2001) “The Long Track” (2003) and in the feature film “INUK” in 2012
by Mike Madison and Jean Michel Huctin and co produced by Ann Andreasen at the Uummannaq Children’s Home.
Uunartok was married to Annie and they had many children.
This excerpt (3’11”) from “INUIT LANDS, The Melting Point” was totally non scripted.
Uunartok and his wife Annie are ice fishing.
They cannot be more authentic actors.
For me, this moment of true “Inuit” time was particularly precious and I was happy to be there at that moment, with the camera .