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The Akkeagok family returning from a sleigh ride

Looking Ahead

Abraham Okpik
Right now, people of about forty years of age, younger than me, are kind of bewildered, because they never had a chance to show what they could do or what they have learned! … According to studies done by Margaret Mead, if you keep people in a social structure where they are dependent on government for one or two generations, that is where they start to belong. You know, that is what they start to believe and that is very sad! … Well, it will take a long time to change, to change from one set of values to another. … We are a growing population, and we should have similar activities. People like to have something to do where they have to follow the next person. You learn to do certain things at a certain time, like a production line. You can’t change the system, you know, you have to be in that line! These are all things that should be looked at.

Geology is one area they should really study, because they’re going to have a lot of exploration and mining to do. When everything is gone a hundred years from now, when some countries have used up their natural resources, we will still have a lot of potential here to fill up the gap.
Abe speaks in this chapter of the critical importance of looking at the northern make-up of the population overall, and the identities that are rooted in the different geographical, regional, linguistic, and cultural realities. The populations need to learn to draw on their resources and talents, to stop being so dependent on government programs. The population has been divided by language and religion, and there is much resistance to change. At the same time, he realizes that it can take four generations to assimilate that change. As the community enters the information age, Abe believes that their energy should be put into getting rid of the syllabic orthography, which was introduced at the time by the missionaries, for translating the Bible. The Roman orthography is much simpler, and only uses fifteen letters. He believes that simplifying and condensing the language will make it more powerful.