Friday, April 2, 2010

Allan's Retirement Party

As some of you may know, our store manager, Allan Hart, has decided to retire after 34 years of working for the North West Company. Of those 34 years, he spent the last 28 of them as store manager in Baker Lake.

This is an amazing fact in itself when you consider two things about the way people go about their careers these days. Personally, I don’t see anyone working for one company for 34 years ever again as people do not have the same loyalty as they did years ago. Also what is amazing about this is that for those 28 years that Allan was manager here is that the customers and the people of Baker Lake respected him, and still do respect him.

With that said, the Hamlet threw a community feast and square dance in his honour on March 27th.

It was a surprise to Allan that the party was being thrown. Everyone sat in the community hall and waited for Allan to arrive, and when he did, everyone in the room gave him a long standing ovation. It was a great thing to see – something that you think you would only see in a movie.

After that, the food began to pour out.

The feast consisted of a big chunk of caribou, rice with raisins in it, and macaroni salad. The meal was delicious!

After the meal, there were some speeches and Allan was presented with some gifts from families and organizations in the community. Allan then gave his little speech, which was somewhat unprepared as you could expect, and was translated into inuk by his wife Nancy.

And then, in Inuit tradition, LET THE SQUARE DANCE BEGIN!

Grace and I had never seen the Inuit square dance before, and it was pretty cool to watch! However, they had some other plans, and the next thing we knew, we were square dancing!

Now, this isn’t square dancing in the AM 920 CKNX kind of square dancing that we would know in the south. And quite frankly, you are never in the shape of a square for that matter. We expected a dance to last around five minutes, you know, the average length of a song…


The dance was about 15 minutes long, and was one song in length. There was eight people total in our square (four groups of two) and since there was three white people in our square who had never danced before, Grace got dragged around by Mellow (who used to work at the store and is an overall awesome guy) and I got dragged around by Pam (who works at the store). We did spins, circles, jigs, and a bunch of other things that we can’t seem to remember at this point in time, but it was a lot of fun and was very tiring!

The really cool part about the square dance though is that in the hall there were elders, teenagers, adults, and kids… and they all knew how to square dance and they all enjoyed doing it! Down south you would not see that at all!

It was a great experience for us to have, and we won’t forget it!

Below are some pictures for your enjoyment!