Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday April 1, 1999
Canadian Map ReDrawn For First Time in 50 Years
Bitter cold didn’t keep revellers from enjoying traditional Arctic games during festivities in Iqaluit in honour of Nunavut, Canada’s new territory. With games, feasts, pride and hope, people across the eastern Arctic said goodbye to the old Northwest Territories yesterday and took their place as residents of Nunavut, Canada’s new territory.”Let the rest of the world know that we have our own culture, and they’re going to get to know us, ” a beaming Sila Kelly said.
In Iqaluit, the Nunavut capital, about 150 people braved bitter winds that chilled the air to -42 C as they gathered outdoors for traditional Arctic games such as harpoon tossing and nusuuraut, a four-way tug-of-war.
Smiles may have been a bit forced in the teeth of north winds gusting up to 60 km/h. But there was nothing forced about the joy.
“I think our culture and language will be strengthened, ” Ruth Kadlutsiak said, especially for her three children and the next generation of Inuit.
“It’ll build up their self-esteem. Everybody is so proud of what they’ve accomplished here.”
Joelie Sanguya, who travelled to Iqaluit from further up Baffin Island at Clyde River for the celebration, said this is what the Inuit have waited for for years.
“Inuit people have been put aside and have had everything done by the government. This sort of thing is where the Inuit will have some input.
“I’m looking forward to seeing it.”
Nunavut was born out of the 1992 Nunavut Land Claim Agreement, under which the Inuit agreed to give up any future aboriginal rights to their traditional land in return for the power to govern their own territory. The western half of the old territory will continue to be known as the Northwest Territories.
Iqaluit’s celebrations were being mirrored in communities throughout the North in festivals that will last several days.
Pangnirtung will stage a seal hunt. Grise Fjord will have a seal cleaning contest.
On the western shore of Hudson Bay, Arviat will hold dog sled races and an igloo-making contest.
But the main focus will be on Iqaluit. By the time festivities end today, Nunavut will have sworn in its judges and its MLAs, inaugurated its own division of the RCMP, and held its first session of the legislature.
There will also be a full measure of pomp and ceremony. At a community feast, Prime Minister Jean Chretien and Governor General Romeo LeBlanc will get a chance to sample traditional northern delicacies including caribou and raw seal.
The formation of Nunavut is the first redrawing of the Canadian map since the entry of Newfoundland — which celebrated its 50th anniversary yesterday.
The new territory, formed from the eastern half of the old Northwest Territories, will cover 2.2 million square kilometres of tundra, ice cap and rock, frozen coast — more than twice the area of Ontario.
That vast expanse is populated by only about 25,000 people — not even enough to fill a football stadium. About 85 per cent are Inuit who face unemployment, poverty, low education and substance abuse. (Source: Canadian Press)
Part of a traveller Editorial Cartoon Expo organized by the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami called Polar Lines. Profile by the Nunatsiaq News. Post by Guy Badeaux at Bado’s Blog.
Letter to the Editor
April 8, 1999, The Hamilton Spectator
Trivial and Stereotypical Nunavut Cartoon
As social science teachers we frequently use political cartoons as teaching tools.
Students come to appreciate that, in a democratic society such as ours, discussion, dissent and debate are encouraged and that the opinion pages of newspapers provide a forum for public comment.
Whenever students consider an editorial or political cartoon, they assess whether it is fair. In our view, cartoonist Graeme MacKay’s Nunavut cartoon published April 1 provides a prime example of unfair and inappropriate commentary.
As teachers, we must always strive to provide a balanced view of events while demonstrating a sensitivity to all those involved; this certainly is essential with the present situation in Kosovo.
Unfortunately, all that MacKay has accomplished in his cartoon is to provide a tired stereotype of Canada’s North as a barren and frozen wasteland (eg. Gawdforsaken Island) of little value (eg. affordable beach-front property) and only suited for “Eskimo Pie” making and “cryogenic cadaver storage.”
To trivialize the historic Nunavut agreement regarding land settlement and aboriginal rights in this manner is insensitive and insulting. In the final analysis, MacKay has provided students with an example of how some political cartoons can be humourless and tasteless.
K. Darby, J. Kerr-Wilson, J. Lindeman, S. Lindeman, M. Livadiotakis, D. Patterson, P. Shuttleworth, BZamojc, Social Science Department, M.M. Robinson High School, Burlington.
Commentary, By Graeme MacKay, August 2, 2006
I’ve always been fascinated by maps. When I was a kid I declared to anyone who would listen that when I grew up I was going to work as a “mapmaker”. To train myself I would copy maps out of atlases and try to squeeze as many place names and geographic features as possible. Then I later found out that the correct name for “map making” was “cartography” and that in order to become a cartographer you had to be a whiz in mathematics. Knowing myself to be one of world’s worst math students on record I knew my dream of drawings maps for a living would never pan out.
Cartoonists have followed in the steps of previous generations who have found amusement in combining satire with maps. So I can only admire them as an observer. Some examples of maps be found through these Pinterest pages. Many of the example are, or inspired by the engravings of William Harvey, an English satirist working in the 1860’s. Upon their first publication, the artist described these maps as “humorous outlines of various countries, with an introduction and descriptive lines,” intended to make geography enjoyable and accessible to children. By today’s standards, some of these pictures might appear stereotypical, and even slightly offensive. However, at the time, they were quite popular, and they reflect the contemporary conceptions (or misconceptions) of these countries. Here are my maps drawn in the past 6 or so years, inspired by the works of artists like William Harvey: