Received a bit of an education today.

Ever since I heard that the term ‘eskimo’ is a derogatory term I’ve been mostly using the word ‘inuit’ to describe the first nations people up here in the Arctic.

And I just found out today that ‘inuit’ just means ‘the people’ in the Inupiat language.

And oh, by the way, igloo doesn’t mean a dome-shaped house made of snow. It means ‘house’, any house.

So we’re all inuit and we all live in igloos of various kinds.

So the people up here are really called Inupiat.

But the nice thing is that they won’t correct you when you call  them Inuit.

Apparently avoiding conflict is one of their core values.

One of the most fascinating places I saw today was the cultural centre here. I was led on a tour by a lovely elder named Martha Hobson.

The cultural centre included displays on whaling and traditional life here in Barrow. The parkas and the dolls and the bird species were fascinating.

The weirdest thing was that Martha said she saw some polar bears just behind her house this morning. She heard shots then ran  in to wake up her son and he said that someone had fired warning shots to scare the polar bears away.

For the rest of the day we looked up and down the alleyways with our eyes peeled for polar bears.

The Inupiat here are different from many other first nations communtiies.  They received a settlement from the Federal government and are relatively well off because of it. They became share-holders of all their resources and with the oil drilling companies up here, they’re receiving royalties, at least all the families that lived here during the settlement.

When I checked the forecast for Barrow, it was supposed to be -22 edegrees Celsius most of the week.

It hasn’t been that at all! It’s been almost ‘balmy’.

It was about 5 degrees Fahrenheit today. That was about -13 degrees Celsius.

Really not that bad, and it sure didn’t feel that cold but maybe that was because I was really layered up. I had on a thick suit of clothes, an undershirt under that, then a sweater and then my wool coat. Really quite snug.

Didn’t need the long johns even!

Tomorrow I don’t plan to layer that much. It’ll just be in and out of the car, I expect, and I’ll be presenting. Presenting is such hot work!

Went to a Chinese restaurant for breakfast and the most northerly Mexical resaurant there is called Pepe’s.

And then later seeing the sea ice.

And then one of the librarians was kind enough to invite me over for dinner.

She made pilau, or at least she tried to.

I helped, and we eventually made this meat and rice concoction that had some Pakistani spices but I wouldn’t call it pilau. I told them if they ever come to Toronto, I’ll make them some real pilau!

A lovely evening! Good conversation and good company.

Nice end to a lovely day.

Alas no dog sledding, the guy who owned the only dog team in town left on the flight that went out after I came in, and he’s gone for a week. But oh well. Still a lovely day.