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The swinging '60s

Changing hamlet sparks memories of days gone by

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (Oct 03/01) - Buildings moved to pave the way for a new mini-mall in Rankin Inlet couldn't help but stir memories for Sally Luttmer.

Luttmer and her former husband, Batiste Tootoo, were both working with the Department of Northern Affairs when they moved to Rankin in 1960.

The mother of Iqaluit MLA Hunter Tootoo, Luttmer was working with Bob Williamson at what was then the Rankin Inlet Rehabilitation Institute at Itivia.

The family moved to the old Inuit Broadcasting Corp. building about a year later when the Itivia institute was shut down. They stayed there until August 1963.

About seven years ago Luttmer began to visit Rankin.

To say today's Rankin Inlet is different from when she called the hamlet home would be quite the understatement, she says.

"I had to have Rankin's original, one-and-only street identified for me while out for a drive recently, because I have a very hard time orientating myself every time I visit," says Luttmer.

"The way Rankin was when I lived here certainly seems to have been imprinted in me.

"I have to get rid of that mental image and replace it with a new picture of the community every time I visit."

Luttmer now resides in Calgary, Alta., but still gets a sense of feeling at home whenever she comes to Rankin for a visit.

She says that's especially true after being in Rankin for awhile and meeting people she once knew in the community, their kids and their grandchildren.

"On a day when I'd go for a walk over by Itivia and then go picking berries and stuff, that connection is still there."

Although Rankin still feels like home for Luttmer, there was no feeling of melancholy when her former house was moved.

"I had taken a picture of the building and the church next to it just the day before they jacked it up to move it, so that part felt a bit strange.

"But, if anything, I found the plans for a new mall on the site to be most interesting."