Tuckatuck is the president of the Sakkuq Land Holding Corporation. He is also a ranger for the Canadian Armed Forces helping to keep the true north strong and free.
What are your duties in the Rangers?
We’re an eye and an ear for Canadian defense. We keep an eye on unusual activities around here, like unidentified planes or submarines. It could be UFO’s or anything that is unusual and we report it to the south.
Have you seen any unusual sightings yourself?
Way back in the 50’s, the first plane I ever encountered was a jet with a big red star on the tail. That was 1953.
A year later we were invaded by the United States and they built an Air Force base here. A year after that, in 1955, the Canadian Air Force took over. That was the first impact of the first plane I ever saw. I was just a young punk at that time. I didn’t even speak English then. We’ve come a long way since that time.
What type of changes since that time?
I’ve seen everything. I’ve seen TV coming in. Before that was radio, which was amazing how the people were listening to radio. Then the telephone came out of nowhere. We were able to make a date with our neighbors without going to see them. Then it was TV, which was very bad. Everything seemed to die down. There weren’t many activities going on within the communities. Everyone became more independent rather then relying on other people. It made people more self-reliant which was not too good for the Inuit culture or system. From the beginning the way we worked was like socialists. When one person has something all the people have to have it. But today in the capitalist system it not the same. It’s the other way around from what we used to be. The capitalist and socialist systems are two different stories about how you go about your social activities. Today’s system is making a difference in our society.
Are you trying to make a system that combines socialist and capitalist values? Are you trying to make adjustments to suit Inuit culture?
Not necessarily but we are stuck now with a capitalist system. It doesn’t comply with the older Inuit system, never the less we are coping with what’s happened as much as possible.
New things that came in too. We used to be nomadic, or what they called savages, moving from one place to another where we could survive. Today it’s money. You have to have money in order to live well. It was not the case in the past. You did not need that money in the past as long as you knew how to survive on the land. Today it is a different story. Every step you take you have to have a dollar, [laughter] It’s even worse down south, where it seems every breath you take you have a dollar.
What’s the land-holding corporation for?
It’s to administer Category 1 and at the same time we’re an ethnic group meaning members only. We keep track of our members’ enrollment or de-enrollment. We keep track of the deaths and births.
Land-holding is an non-profit organization, but that doesn’t stop us from having subsidiary companies, in different fields, that are money-making ventures.
What type of money-making ventures?
We have three companies that are running under the land-holding corporation. One of them is the Resto-pub and hotel. That started three years ago and it’s running very well. The Resto-Pub was introduced because we thought Hydro-Quebec was coming. If Hydro was coming our young people would be entrapped with different types of drugs, bootlegging and shopping for booze in the south because of the Hydro road. In order to tackle that, we decided to have the alcohol more accessible to the public at large in order to avoid other substances that were coming. That was very much related to Hydro coming. The Social Club (a private members bar) has different kinds of rules and we wanted a little change in the serving of alcohol to our community. Hydro stopped, but we continued operating the Resto-Pub. It seems to help in many ways. There’s not many people that overorder anymore. Before people used to order their beer or hard liquor. Before it was out of control. We analyzed that the Resto-Pub has had a positive impact. It reduced the over-consumption. At the beginning it was very, very hard to start. There were a few rules and regulations that had to apply to this system and today we are finding that we need new rules. At the beginning it was hard for operators to explain the purpose of the Resto-Pub.
Another money making venture is outfitting Caribou trophy hunts and fishing trophy trips. At this time we have one big camp, with small sub-camps in the territory. At the same time, we are associating with the next Inuit community of Umiujaq. They also have an outfitting camp and we are associating with them to develop this business. We have been in operation for four years and we are looking at a new tourism market. Instead of just caribou hunting or fishing. We are looking at all aspects of tourism.
Our third venture is a helicopter company. That too was developed because of southern interest in developing the territory.