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Trying to keep up

Jillian Dickens
Northern News Services

Resolute (Apr 17/06) - Hearing her friends were up to speed on the information superhighway, Nangat Idlout, 74, didn't want to miss out.

Idlout was born near Repulse Bay and spent close to 30 years living in tents in the summer and igluit in the winter, when electricity in the home was as foreign as trees on the land. She moved to Resolute in 1992.

NNSL Photo/graphic

Resolute elder Nangat Idlout, 74, is learning how to use the computer so she can e-mail her daughters in Iqaluit and order items online. Delilah Manik, the community access program site manager at Qarmartalik school, is showing her how to do so. - photo courtesy of Tracey MacMillan

"They didn't know what computers were a long time ago," said Karen Inootik, a language specialist translating for Idlout in her Resolute home. "But right now she sees how useful computers are and that other elders in Nunavut are using them, so she wanted to learn."

Qarmartalik school staff were happy to help show Idlout the ropes. In late March, the school's community access program site manager Delilah Manik gave Idlout her first introduction to computers.

"She learned how to type in Inuktitut and work the mouse," said Inootik.

She's not surfing the net yet, or sending off e-mails, but that's her goal.

"She's looking forward to e-mailing her daughters in Iqaluit and ordering big items that we can't buy in the community."

Idlout favours the internet to the telephone, saying "it's way faster to just type an e-mail rather than having to contact someone over the phone."

Since she hasn't learned internet skills yet, she had to order a computer to be shipped to her home the old fashioned way - by using the telephone.

But with regular instruction from Manik, Idlout will be tackling technology with the best of us sooner than you can press send.