Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 485

  Commentary NUNAVUMMIUT SPEAK OUT TO THEIR FAMILIES ‘Feeding My Family’ Organizers Three years ago, communities across Nunavut joined together to speak out against the shockingly high food prices in the north, protesting in front of local grocery stores. This was the first time such actions had been organized in the remote, fly-in communities of Canada’s northernmost territory; Feeding My Family (FMF) is the movement that grew out of these protests. The Facebook site quickly grew to over 20,000 members, and FMF has provided a forum for Nunavummiut to come together to share personal struggles and expose the impacts of hunger in the north. Members have been posting photos of the exorbitant food costs in the north, showing prices as high as $28 for a head of cabbage and $99 for a whole fish. Nunavut is the home of the Inuit, and its small population has survived from hunting, fishing, and gathering. Traditional practices are strong and hunting for sustenance remains an important part of life, but a legacy of colonization (such as the permanent settlements and residential schools) is that Inuit cannot eat as their ancestors did. Many hunters cannot afford the cost of hunting equipment, and country foods harvested from the land must now be supplemented with store-bought foods. There are many statistics on hunger in Nunavut, including estimates that 70% of households are food insecure. But beyond statistics, FMF aims to bring out the voices behind these numbers, serving as a space for Nunavummiut to speak out about how hunger is affecting their families. One member posted, “…saw three kids eating at the dump. [I] told them not to eat at the dump that there going to get sick. [O]ne kid said… price too high mom can’t really buy good food too much. Told the kids hop on my honda we’re going my place I will cook something for you to eat proper food not outdated food from the dump… my heart broke to pieces when I saw them eating at the dump...”. The “Feeding My Family” Facebook Group was founded in 2012 by Leesee Papatsie in Iqaluit, Nunavut.