Sunday, April 09, 2006

Jamboree Memories, Jamboree Pride

Memories are funny in the way they layer upon each other. This is Muskrat Jamboree weekend in Inuvik, my third up here. I remember the first year, when my roommate and I took our neighbour’s son along with us down by the river, and we each had a caribou burger, our fingers frozen because we had to take our mitts off to eat. Last year, I was a mess during the jamboree, and took in only a few events. I’m in a better emotional state this time around, and partook in the community feast on Friday, went to drum-dancing last night, and went down by the river this afternoon. My memories of the jamboree will forever be a mix of novelty and familiarity, of emotional turmoil and delight.

The drum-dancing will always be one of my favourite events up north. I see the joy in the dancers’ faces, and feel so proud of the youth. One of my students received third place last year, and she competed again this year. All the self-consciousness just dissipates when she dances, and she becomes herself more completely. Although I don’t dance, I see myself in her. Sometimes, we look at others and see ourselves: We see their moments of self-liberation and come to understand both them and ourselves more fully. When I see my student dance, I see her child-like qualities juxtaposed against a wise wonder, a who-gives-a-damn attitude that is different from the unawareness of a child. Those are the moments when a pride wells up inside of me, and I feel proud not only of her grace and talents, but of myself for seeing them in her.

I brought my camera out and about with me, but didn’t end up taking too many pictures of the jamboree. Instead, I took pictures of the town. The Muskrat Jamboree has made me appreciate the town more fully, to see it more fully. This is at ten-thirty at night on Friday, as I was walking home from the feast. The sky was a gentle dusky pink, and the Aurora College windows reflected the hue so perfectly that I just had to capture the view.

These are on the way yesterday to the drum-dancing. There is the Inuvik Ski Club, across from the Food Bank where I’ve done some shifts, and a gorgeous view of the colourful row-houses – all within five minutes from my doorstep.

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