Y is for Yonder Yukon Yoke-fellowship & Yarn-listening–A to Z Blog Challenge

Inuit boy by SashaY imageWe are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/).  The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Kindness Across Cultures: Stories to Prove We Care.  Each post highlights present-day andfolktale examples.

Yonder Yukon are the Northwest Territories and Nunavut of Canada where the majority of people from the Inuit Tribe live.  Though, Yukon itself is called home by some Inuits.  Traditional Inuits believe in spirits found in all living beings, which reflects on the value of sharing and reaching out in kindness to all–from the smallest of insects to the mightiest of animals and to people of all backgrounds.  Here is a picture of an Inuit boy taken by Sasha Leahovcenco.

Present-Day Yoke-fellowship & Yarn-listening

Tungasuvvingat Inuit is a not-for-profit organization that has a majority of Inuit who provide the service to fellow Inuits of urban or non-urban areas.  These people are made aware of their rights legally and what can help them economically.  The Board of Directors are all volunteers and have a passion for helping the Inuit people from schooling, hospital needs, lawyers, and employment.  You can learn more about this organization here:  https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/tungasuvvingat-inuit/.

Past Yoke-fellowship & Yarn-listening (Folktale)

This Inuit tale is found in the picture book “The Orphan and the Polar Bear” retold by Sakiasi Qalinaq, published by Inhabit Media, Inc.

Although not shared in summary form here, another story of interest is called “Old Woman who was Kind to Insects.”  Find that link to the story here:  https://www.learningtogive.org/resources/old-woman-who-was-kind-insects.

Here is a summary of “The Orphan and the Polar Bear”:

An orphan lived with his grandmother though often went out with the men to hunt along the ice.  Each time, the men left the boy behind and the boy had to find his own way home.  One day, the boy heard someone behind him and it was a huge polar bear that then transformed into a man that spoke to the boy.  This man felt pity for the boy and wanted to show a kindness by teaching the boy how to be independent and be able to have skills to survive.  The man changed back into a polar bear.  The polar bear took the boy to his village of bears and gave the boy a harpoon and taught how to use it.  As time went on, one of the bears in the village would wait for the boy to catch a seal and steal the catch.  The kind polar bear told the boy that he needed to confront the bear and use his harpoon.  The boy followed the instructions and stood up for himself the next time his catch was to be stolen.  The boy returned to the polar bear village and went to his kind friend.  The mean polar bear roared for the boy though the kind polar bear told the boy to stay inside the igloo and not to go out until the mean polar bear was done yelling.  Finally, the boy was encouraged to face the mean polar bear and by then the mean polar bear had great respect for the boy and gave back the harpoon that the boy had used against this polar bear.  The boy was never bothered by this polar bear or any other polar bear again.  When the boy learned all that he could from the kind polar bear, the polar bear journeyed with the boy back to the human world.  The boy grew to be a strong young man who could survive and choose to be kind than to be cruel.

Interesting Notes on Kindness  

  • The polar bear had love for the boy and offered skills to improve the boy’s chances of survival
  • The kind polar bear knew it was better for the boy wait than to face the angry polar bear so that respect and peace could be had
  • The polar bear continued to teach for an undetermined amount of time until he felt like the boy could be successful
  • The polar bear was willing to sacrifice and part with the boy as he knew it was best for the boy to be back in the human world
  • The boy grew to be a man which included the ability to be kind

What stories of kindness do you know associated with Yukon or Yonder with the Inuits?  Anywhere in the world – past or present?  Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.

While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings including the culminating Festival on May 23, 2018 with free performances May 21-24, 2018 (see schedule here: https://storycrossroads.com/2018-schedule/).  

We thank our funders such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, the Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, the City of Murray, the South Jordan Arts Council, Utah Valley University and many other individuals. Join us in the support by attending or donating or both! (Click here to donate or get tickets.

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