It was like a piece of you was missing

It was like a piece of you was missing

My name is Sophie Pamak, and I work as Home Care Nurse with the Home and Community Care Program of the Department of Health and Social Development, Nunatsiavut Government, here in Hopedale.

My favourite childhood memory of caribou is just seared in a frying pan, with some, um, seal fat. But to prepare it for my family it would probably have to be fried caribou meat with onions and gravy.

I grew up eating it, my family grew up eating it, my children grew up eating it, until it was banned. That was a, a staple, that was probably maybe three, four, six times of the week would have been a meal of caribou in some preparation.

So, it was a huge, huge loss not to be able to have caribou meat.

But, a couple years ago I had the opportunity to travel for a meeting with an Inuit, National Inuit organization. So, during the break time the hotel brought out the usual fruit, cheese, crackers, granola, yogurt and as well the organizers had brought out the traditional foods. So there was seal meat, there was char, and there was caribou meat. So I, I was like a kid in a candy store–the chance to eat caribou meat again.

So I sat there and I was eating and just savouring and loving the taste, and it…I was surprised by my reaction. It had just like a, it was like a piece of you that was missing, such a huge piece of you that was missing, that you didn’t even realize was missing until you started to eat and then it was like, “Oh my.” Like...

I really thought I was myself, but until I got to finally eat some caribou meat again I didn’t realize how much of myself really wasn’t there.

It’s, it’s hard. It’s tough.