Chris Fletcher
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
University of Alberta, Canada


Can there be a people more intensively represented in imagery than the Inuit? Imagery that is photographic and filmic but also cognitive. A mental map of the world that defines northern place and people simultaneously and singally. An image so entrenched that we feel it in the body as cold and wonderment. I saw a photograph taken in a rural Zimbabwe elementary school of their alphabet chart: A is for Apple, B is for Baboon, ... E is for Eskimo! Does everyone, everywhere share this image? This photograph was taken at about 3 a.m. in early June 1992 in Kangiqsujuaq, Nunavik (Quebec). It follows in the tradition of stereotype in showing two tents against the huge sky, mountains and water. What the viewer cannot know is that these are located on the strip of beach in front of the community. The tents are fed electricity by extension cords run from the houses on the other side of the road. Inside people are reading, making tea or watching television. If it weren't so late I would guess that the NHL playoffs were on.