Northern comparison
Former students and teachers set sights on Greenland

Malcolm Gorrill
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (May 10/00) - A study of Greenland from afar has turned into a desire to examine it first-hand.

The majority of 15 people enrolled in the adult upgrading program at the Community Learning Centre in Rankin Inlet in 1998-99 are raising money to go to Greenland.

Instructors at the centre such as Janet Onalik are also involved.

"Because Nunavut was coming about, we decided to have a program that would compare the situation in Nunavut to that in Greenland," Onalik said.

Greenland attained home rule in 1979.

"We looked at their education system," Onalik said. "We looked at some of those areas, social, religious, different areas, to see how it was the same or different than Nunavut.

"So it really sparked an interest in people to see how it was over there," she said.

One of last year's students, Esther Issaluk, said everyone's looking forward to the trip.

"I'm just excited to go there because I hear there's a lot of nice people," Issaluk said. "When they have visitors from the North they're happy and they make people feel welcome," said Issaluk.

"Upgrading students often don't have an opportunity to travel, because they usually have family and they're often in entry level jobs," added Onalik.

Besides further comparing the two territories and giving people the chance to broaden their horizons, Onalik says there's another reason for the trip -- Rankin Inlet's sister town in Greenland, called Qaqortoq.

"That relationship was started up a number of years ago, but there's never been an exchange," Onalik explained. "We thought we could play a role in furthering the relationship."

Onalik said her group has found an adult school similar to the Community Learning Centre. The Rankin students will either stay at the centre or be billeted during their stay in Qaqortoq.

Onalik said there are no firm plans yet about when the trip will be made, as they are still raising the necessary funds.

"We need about $70,000. We have about $45,000 now," she said. "Our fund-raising went quite well until about last September, and then we've just been slowly working on it."

The group has raised money by holding bingos and a raffle, and will meet soon to plan another letter-writing campaign .