David Serkoak

Many of us have changed dramatically, but inside, many of us did not change. Based on what and how we were taught by our parents, we might not know at the time, but when we become adults, everything goes back into the rightful place. Why they told me that, why they—not forced, but made me do things a certain way… now that I’m an adult, I see why.

The hardest part for me was to try to keep up with the changes. Although I like to say that I experienced traditional life, as a young child, and growing up— because all around me, over 30 years ago, there was very little to distract me, or change my lifestyle. Back then, my understanding of the Inuit way was pretty much in place, until they introduced us to the federal government’s day schools. It was very hard, all the way through, right from day one.

Right away, we had lots of difficulty. Lots of barriers. The language barrier, to start with. As we learned a bit more English, they got stricter. “You leave your language outside. You leave your culture outside. In here, you’re learning one culture, one language. ” And that was English.

I remember the time when we were given Christian names. My name is David Serkoak. Back in the ‘60s, we didn’t have surnames. Every member of my family had a different name until the ‘70s. My mother became Mickie, Mary Mickie. My father is Adam Mickie, but my name stuck to David Serkoak. My brother, Sila, and so on.

Back to the change. Many of us went down different paths. Many of my friends moved away. In order to have that comfort, many of them changed their styles and became Christians. I’m not against that. That was their choice; mine was not to change, to stay neutral. I feel that, because of what I believe in, and the advice I was given by my parents, I’ve come to a point where I’ll still join other people, but I’ll always have that inner feeling, “Just be yourself. Just stay who you are, and you’ll find a way to do certain things.” That’s what always comes to my mind. I was baptized as an Anglican. I go to church occasionally. But most of the time I’m just an individual who is aging, having a bit of interruption, and trying to live on, to keep my culture with me, my language in me. I think that’s where my strong beliefs are still today; even though there are changes that affect my family, and affect me.