Boreal Resonances . Inuits

First part of Boreal Resonances, a very long documentary work that combines separate but related series on the complex reality of northern indigenous peoples and their territories in a changing world.

Akunnak, Disko Bay, Greenland: small village of 47 inhabitants.

The break with the way of life of the ancients, the changes in the environment, the food and the economy: the past is so romanticized and stereotyped that it is almost exotic today, even for the Inuit themselves.

But if the traditional way of life has well and truly disappeared, the culture, woven by the social beings who share it, is still as strong. It is transformed, between claim and adaptation.

Between the confined heat of the interiors and the icy cold of the outdoors; between festive community and solitary hunting; between isolation and internet connection; between sled dogs and snowmobiles: an in-between world.

A twilight revealing contrasts; a sincere and sensitive encounter with the inhabitants, a territory and a vision of the world.

Realized during the artistic residency Le Manguier in 2020, with the support of Fujifilm France, this work has been selected for the Rencontres Photographiques Albert Khan and will be exhibited at the festival l’Homme et la mer of Guilvinec, France from June 1 to September 30, 2021.

  • The first missionaries arrived in Greenland in the at the beginning of the 18th century to convert the Inuit to Protestantism. Soon after, Greenland became a Danish colony. The Inuit suffered from imported diseases, the new organization of their living environment and the control exercised abroad by the colonials.
  • Denmark sees itself as a "good" colonizer, thus evading the heart of the problem: the question is not the quality of colonialism, but its existence and its consequences. Today, colonization is thus translated in another way, by a paternalism that keeps the Greenlanders in a future that get away from them.
  • In Denmark, racism against Greenlanders is endemic, feeding on ignorance and misperceptions. Only one third of Danish high school students claim to have received an education about Greenland.
  • Here the diet has totally changed since the last century. Previously almost exclusively composed of the products of their hunting, fishing and gathering, it has been replaced by imported Danish food. Diabetes, previously unknown to the Inuit, has exploded and cancers are the leading cause of death.
  • In the village only three inhabitants still own dogs: for the tradition and the passion of this expensive hobby that has become the dog sledding.
  • In the middle of the 20th century, entire villages were moved to establish American military bases, or simply suppressed because they were considered by Denmark to be too costly administratively. The Inuit did not gain the right to self-government until 1979, and Greenland has only been officially a constituent country of Denmark since 2009. Economically, it is still dependent and the Danish government continues to decide on important matters, including foreign policy.
  • Traditionally the seal was the most abundant food for Inuit, and its fur the main item of clothing, in addition to a source of income in a world of increasing need.
 A good hunter had an important status in the community at that time. Today this hunt is subject to quota and export is prohibited.