Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleWrite letter to editor  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad
Maggie Gordon: 35 years and counting

Chris Puglia
Northern News Services

Iqaluit (Apr 21/03) - Maggie Gordon has been working for the government in Iqaluit for the past 35 years.

She was recognized at a recent long service award ceremony held at the Cadets Hall. Over the years Gordon has seen a lot of changes.

NNSL Photo

Maggie Gordon was honoured for serving 35 years as a territorial government employee. - Chris Puglia/NNSL photo

Iqaluit has grown, a new territory was born and a new government formed. Gordon is unilingual Inuktitut and she spoke to News/North with the help of translator Doris Tautu.

News/North: What jobs have you performed for the government in your 35 years of service?

Maggie Gordon: I started in the laundromat. When the laundromat closed down I moved to the school to do janitorial work. I've been doing that ever since.

N/N: Which school is that?

MG: Joamie school.

N/N: Do you enjoy your job?

MG: I enjoy my job very much.

N/N: Have you lived in Iqaluit all your life?

MG: No. I lived in Kugaaruk before. I moved to Iqaluit in 1963 and I started working in 1965 at the laundromat. From 1965 to 1970 the laundromat was looked after by the federal government. In 1970 the regional government took over the dry cleaners and they opened a little store at the highrise. From 1970 to 1987 I started working for Joamie school, until now.

N/N: What sorts of changes have you noticed in the school in your time there?

MG: There haven't been a lot of changes in my daily tasks. There seems to be more Inuktitut spoken in the school. I notice Inuktitut written around the school a lot more on signs and things.

N/N: What does that mean to you, to see the Inuktitut language being more widely used at school?

MG: It's important. The younger students need to learn the Inuktitut language.

N/N: What kinds of changes have you noticed in the city itself?

MG: There's a lot of changes. Nunavut seems to be growing too fast.

There are a lot more taxis around too.

N/N: What sort of impact on local culture has the fast growth had?

MG: I never really thought about it.

N/N: How has life changed since you were a child?

MG: There have been big changes. We didn't live in houses with running water. We would have to use a wood stove. When I was living in Kugaaruk we would have to go out and get wood. We would have to use ice for water.

N/N: Do you prefer that way of life to what we have now?

MG: I wouldn't want to go back because I am much older now. I don't know if I would be able to do it.

N/N: How old are you now?

MG: I am 64.

N/N: How long do you expect you will continue working at the school?

MG: I'm not sure when I'll stop. I'll stop when I want to. Maybe I will work until I am too old to work any more.

N/N: How old is too old?

MG: The government says 65. I am 64, so I have one more year to go.

N/N: Do you have a large family?

MG: There is my oldest son, a daughter and another daughter and seven grandchildren.

N/N: Do they all live here in Iqaluit?

MG: No. Most are all living down South. My son lives in Dawson City.

My daughters live outside of Toronto. One of them was here for Toonik Tyme.

N/N: Do you get to see them very often?

MG: My one daughter comes up almost every year.

N/N: Why did you decide to stay up North, instead of following your family south?

MG: Because I am not Qallunaak. I'm a Northerner. I enjoy it here. It's never too warm.

N/N: What do you like about Northern living?

MG: I really enjoy going out fishing, clam digging and picking berries.