As I have mentioned, my wife and I are living and teaching in a small Inuit village in northern Quebec for the year. It has been an amazing experience so far and we know the rest of the year will continue to be just as exciting – as well as very cold!
One of the reasons for traveling here to teach was, of course, the cultural experience. The idea of living in the north among some truly original Canadians and getting away from urban life was a very compelling thing to us. No more commuting to work. No more traffic. No more Wal-Mart. No more cell phones. We have replaced those annoying city things with a 90 second walk to work, four-wheeling, hiking, and trips to the locally owned Co-op.
Of course there are many things that are the same up here as they are down south (yes, Montreal, Halifax, Toronto, etc., are now “down south” to us) – people love their iPods and iPads. Everyone plays and loves hockey. And Christianity is the religion of choice. The last one of course was a bit surprising to us.
Turns out, the northern communities have been Anglican since the early 20th Century. It’s interesting, as well as kind of surreal, seeing and hearing the Christianity up here. These amazing people with such a fascinating past and wonderful culture being Christian is really not something I have gotten used to. I can’t figure it out. Why? Well for the most part their story of Christianity is the same as every other culture that Christianity has invaded – Christians arrived and scared everyone into being Christian. And to this day, religion is still taught in public school – the school board got a special exemption from the province so that religion class would have to be taken by all public school children.
Now, of course, not everyone here is Christian – a large number of teachers here (the ones born outside of our village) fall somewhere in the spectrum of secularism – from being apathetic towards religion all the way to atheism. This was also somewhat surprising to me. Once I learned of the Christianity in the village I began to think that the teachers here may mostly be Christians who traveled here so they could teach as well as promote their faith – obviously I was wrong. This wonderful reality is another strong example of secular morality.
But the teachers are not the interesting part. I have discovered that there are local, born and raised, Inuit who are atheist and one of them has agreed to speak to me about his lack of faith and the religion in his village so I can write about it here.
I am telling you this in advance because I am looking for some help from the bloggers and readers of Canadian Atheist. I do not have much of a journalistic mind; so, I would appreciate any and all question ideas. This is a unique opportunity I believe, so I am sure everyone has questions they would like answered. Please, don’t be shy, let me know what’s on your mind and I will do my best to get an answer to your question(s)!
He and I will be talking sometime in the next couple of weeks so if you can’t think of any questions right now, take your time, I’ll keep checking this thread until the day of the interview.
Thanks for the help!