Ingrid Picanyol Studio.

Project Diary: Torelló Mountain Film Festival 23

11 October 2023
10 min


Project Diary: Torelló Mountain Film Festival 23

I have read that Greenland is a huge island located in the extreme north of North America, although politically it is part of the Kingdom of Denmark. That its name is one of the oldest known marketing operations to try to attract Viking settlers more than a millennium ago, but that the natives do not call it Greenland, but Kalaallit Nunaat. That Kalaallit Nunaat means “land of the Kalaallit”, that the Kalaallit constitute the largest group of Greenlandic Inuit and that they are concentrated in Kitaa. That this territory is one of the most virgin places in the world with a unique landscape full of fjords, icebergs and enormous glaciers, and that from there you can see the famous northern lights. That the northern lights are nothing more than the result of the interaction of the solar winds with the earth’s magnetic field, that a glacier is a thick mass of ice and snow, and that a fjord is an ancient glacial valley that has been flooded by sea water. That 80% of Greenland’s surface is covered in ice and only the southern area is habitable. That it is one of the largest islands in the world—it measures more than four times the size of the Iberian Peninsula—and that less than sixty thousand people live on it. And this makes it one of the lowest population densities in the world. That 88% of the population is Inuit and the rest of European origin. That generally the territory is below 1,500 meters high, but that the Watkins mountain range, on the west coast, reaches 3,700 meters with the summit of Gunnbjørn Fjeld. That although there are towns separated by thousands of kilometers, there are no trains or roads to get from one place to another. That the alternatives to traveling on foot are the helicopter, the plane, the boat, the snowmobile or the dog sled. That houses are painted in colors to be recognized when the snow partially covers them in white. But this system stops working when they are completely covered. If we enter one of these homes we will not find much difference compared to ours, but we will find a difference in what is in the fridge.

According to a recent study using eDNA from soil samples, it has been seen that two million years ago the landscape was not ice, but a lush boreal forest full of vegetation and animals such as the mastodon, which cannot equal to no other ecosystem we know.

Also that the most beautiful and largest granite mountains and walls in Greenland are found in the Tasermiut Fjord, which are called Ketil and Ulamertorssuaq, and which are considered one of the ten wonders of the Arctic. That there can be icebergs as tall as a fifteen-story building and that what we see on the surface is only 10% or 20% of its real size. That the writer Hemingway and the psychoanalyst Freud focus on that proportion as a metaphor for their respective iceberg theories. The first to explain that a story only has to show a minimal part of the story, the second to explain that only 20% of our decisions are conscious while the rest are unconscious. That icebergs attract seals and birds because they can use them as platforms to rest for a while while they scan their surroundings looking for food. Although there is a great wealth of marine fauna in their surroundings, nothing lives inside an iceberg. But that “nothing” is actually a “nothing” in quotes, because this mass of ice contains nutrients and minerals that are beneficial for marine life. And as the ice melts, many organisms benefit from minerals such as iron, which is essential for them to carry out photosynthesis and breathe, in addition to being one of the most important nutrients for the growth of phytoplankton. That phytoplankton is the base of the marine food chain and is responsible for approximately half of global photosynthetic activity. That the thaw contributes to fixing the atmospheric CO₂ altered by the same global warming that causes it to melt. That in Greenland there are no trees or forests. But according to a study recently carried out with the eDNA of soil samples, it has been seen that two million years ago the landscape was not ice, but a lush boreal forest full of vegetation and animals such as the mastodon, which cannot be compared to any another ecosystem that we know. And this, according to Kurt H. Kjær of Københavns Universitet, opens a door to a practically lost past.

I have also read that much of the year the territory remains frozen and that there are hardly any hours of daylight. But in summer the luminosity is incredible, because of all the light reflected by the ice and snow. They don’t have a hundred words to refer to snow. Not a hundred, not fifty. Nor for referring to the color white. That snow igloos were not invented there either, nor did the majority ever build them. And the Inuit neither kiss with their noses, nor do they give you their wife as a gesture of hospitality. That there are up to fifteen different species of whales and that some can live up to two hundred years. That due to the effects of climate change, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has officially classified the polar host as a vulnerable species. That his hair is not white, but transparent. And there they do not call it ‘polar bone’ but ‘tornassuk’, which means ‘teacher who helps the spirits of the Inuit people’. What inuit means human. That referring to them as ‘Eskimos’ connotes contempt, because it is a word created by the Native Americans who entered the villages and killed them all. That ‘Eskimo’ means ‘raw meat eater’. And since 1977 the word ‘inuit’ has been established as the only valid and official word to be used in most texts and dictionaries around the world. That there are three kinds of Inuit, each with its own language. That the Kalaallit speak Kalaallisut, the Tunumiit speak Tunumiit Oraasiat and the Inughuit speak Inuktoun. That the poor Inuit believes that the tongue is the only instrument that sharpens with use. And who, like us, consider that this is closely linked to their culture. That they never say goodbye, but see you soon, because they always hope to see you again. That with the arrival of the white man to their territories, tobacco, alcohol and weapons also arrived. That they do not have any word that means war, nor have they practiced it. They resolved internal conflicts, except murder, by practicing singing duel, because for them it has always been more important to reestablish peace and order than to administer justice. That during these duels satirical songs and poems were improvised and insults were called such as piece of ice, fox tail, fox nose, crazy reindeer and other witticisms that were received by the public with enormous laughter. That these duels revealed the inventive capacity of a people that was capable of solving a conflict in a cruel, but peaceful way. That in the 1934 film ‘Palos brudefærd’, by Knud Rasmussen and Friedrich Dalsheim, Paulus and Samu represent a sung duel that they had already done in 1920. That on June 26, 1906, on the east coast of Greenland, the Danish philologist William Thalbitzer managed to photograph a sung duel between Nujaqpik and Kuitse. And this is one of the few images we have of this ancient tradition. That Anda Kuitse was a hunter and shaman from Kulusuk, on the east coast of Greenland, and that he was one of the last people to perform a singing duel before the Danish authorities banned them. That Kuitse had inherited the drum dance tradition from his grandfather and his father, and that he is one of the last people alive to have memorized some of these duels. And, according to anthropologist Francesc Bailón, Anda is the authentic poet of the Arctic. That when they asked a Greenlandic Inuit named Upaluk Poppel what the dream of his people was, he responded: independence to maintain our land and identity.

That they don’t have a hundred words to describe snow. Not a hundred, not fifty. Nor to refer to the color white. That the snow igloos were not invented there either, nor did the majority ever get to build them. And that the Inuit neither kiss with their noses, nor give you their wives as a gesture of hospitality.

That US researchers point out that the Vikings abandoned the island, not because of the cold, but because of the drought. That since this year the highest temperatures in the last millennium have been exceeded, the glaciers could be melting a hundred times faster than expected. That Greenland could be the only country to see advantages to climate change, because it would allow it to boost agriculture, fishing and its farms. Because with the warming of the planet, many species of fish are arriving there as they notice how the waters in which they currently live are warming. Because there is a type of rock flour rich in minerals generated by melting ice that is a problem for the Greenland fjords, but which could serve as fertilizer for the arid and depleted soils of Africa and South America. And because, since Greenland’s soil contains microorganisms that protect potatoes from the fungi that potato farmers around the world fight against, this country could become the main potato exporter worldwide. But perhaps all of this should not even be highlighted because Francesc Bailón told me that climate change poses a terrible threat to the territory. He says that recently, to give just one of many examples, hunters have lost all their dogs when ice weakened by high temperatures broke just as they were passing over it.

I have also read that the majority of people in politics there are women. That traditional food is based mainly on the meat of marine mammals such as seals and whales. That private property does not exist because the sun belongs to the state and you ask them for permission to plant your house and they give it to you. And here’s a curious fact: I read that the iceberg that the Titanic collided with came from Greenland.

Also, I heard a man on a video say that you never know when a glacier will melt. Which is something uncontrollable. You can see that there is a moment when you start to hear thunder, closer and closer, until boom, there is a moment, which for whatever reason, is the moment, and the glacier collapses creating a great spectacle. Francesc also told me that the collapse of a glacier sounds like ‘wild’ thunder. And in Greenland one realizes that human beings are very small and that nature is immense. That there one becomes aware of what really is in the last place where our species can live. He says that only getting off the plane, if the weather is good, one realizes that there is the last vital human frontier and that silence has its own sound. And although I couldn’t quite hear the audio of the sound of silence that he played for me while we were talking, I began to imagine it. He also told me that what the country expresses is the capacity of a people that lives in perfect symbiosis with its environment and that this is what those who visit also end up perceiving. On the Internet I found a website that explains that the myths and legends of Greenland are impregnated with the country’s natural landscape, the darkness and harshness of the hunter’s life. He explains that because nature has always had enormous power and a decisive force in the lives of the Inuit, it has been personified and given tangible life in many stories and myths. That as much as this territory may seem like a frozen and arid landscape to us, for the Inuit it is a territory full of stories, creatures and spirits. It is traditionally believed that all animals have a soul and that they are not hunted, but rather allow themselves to be hunted. That is why, when a hunter captured prey, it was necessary for him to thank him for giving him his life. And failure to do so would create an imbalance that could cause many misfortunes.

Francesc told me that the collapse of a glacier sounds like thunder ‘a lo bestia’. That just getting off the plane, if the weather is good, one realizes that there is the last vital human frontier. And that silence has its own sound. And even though I couldn’t quite hear the audio of the sound of the silence he gave me while we were talking, I began to imagine it.

There, and on other pages and YouTube videos, I have met Arnakuagsak (‘old woman of the sea’) or Sassuma Arnaa (“mother of the depths”), which is one of the best-known mythological creatures in Greenland. These two, there are other names to refer to her, as well as many other versions of her story, that she is considered the most important goddess and sea spirit of the Arctic and that, like all the spirits of the Arctic, she is a force nature of tragic origin associated with animals that ensures the order and balance of nature, this myth has been transformed over the years until it has become a symbol against global warming, massive hunting and fishing, and in In favor of respect and preservation of the oceans, I have found a version that says that it was about a young woman who lived with her father at a time when marine animals did not yet exist. That when she was old enough to be married, a young hunter appeared and decided to leave with the hope of a good life. But then, since instead of meat and skins he gave her fish to eat, she discovered that her husband was actually a seabird. That her father went to help her with the kayak, but when they returned, the sea birds began to attack them to knock them off the boat. That is when her father decides to throw her daughter into the sea to return her to her husband and thus save himself from her. That while she desperately tries to climb back into the kayak, her father decides to cut off her fingers joint by joint so that she does not succeed and that these pieces, when falling into the ocean, become mammals such as seal, walrus or whale. That, in the end, the girl sinks and transforms into a spirit with a fish tail that will forever protect the animals that live in her long hair, which is the sea. But in another version I read that instead of a young hunter, the husband is a dog. Or in another that she marries a dog to get away from her father and that it is he who throws her into the sea to punish her. Or in another, the storm that knocks them down comes after the father refuses to let his daughter marry a grandfather. Or in another that she marries the dog, but that the children they end up having together are the ancestors of white, Native American men. All versions agree that from this episode onwards, when any human commits acts that do not contribute to preserving nature and marine life, their mane will become tangled and, angry, the goddess will prevent the animals from reaching the surface because humans they will die of hunger. I have read that it is believed that after her, only an Angakooq or a shaman can pacify her by making a spiritual journey to her and combing her until she releases the animals again.

 I have also seen another video where they tell the story of Erlaveersinioqq, a terrifying reminder that when he travels alone in the wild nature, he must watch himself. They say that this woman attracts lost travelers to her cabin. That she sometimes appears as a beautiful woman and other times as a grotesque old woman. That what she intends, while she is beating her drum with an ulu, is to make whoever she meets laugh. And when he smiles at her, even a little bit, she jumps on top of him and guts him with a cut in her belly to remove her liver and intestines. That she then puts it all on a big plate and that, if one wants to survive, she must eat it all again before she does. I have read that an ulu is a knife traditionally used by Inuit, Yupik and Aleut women, used to skin, clean animals, cut children’s hair, cut food, to defend oneself against someone, or even everything, to cut ice blocks.

The myth of the Sassuma Arnaa has been transformed over the years to become a symbol against global warming, mass hunting and fishing, and in favor of respect and preservation of the oceans.

I have also discovered the figure of Qivittoq. I have read that it is present throughout Greenland and that it appears when someone leaves their community in shame, out of anger or pain, so as not to bother those around them with whatever is disturbing them. And I have also discovered Ikusik: an armless corpse that crawls on its elbows at high speed to catch those who try to flee. That she hunts and eats live humans who desecrated his grave or who died in great anger and regret. That it has many different names and that stories about this creature can be found in both large and small cities. And today it has ended up becoming an urban legend in stories about tunnels and summer camps to alert young people that they should be aware of their surroundings at night.

Joan Salarich, director of this festival, has shared with me a document with information that he has also been collecting about this territory. There I read that in the year 982 the Viking navigator and explorer Erik Thorvaldsson, also known as ‘Erik the Roig’ for the murders committed in Iceland, arrived on the coast of Greenland and baptized it Grönland, “green land.” That the culture called Thule, the modern ancestor of the historical Inuit, arrived in Greenland between 1100 and 1200 from the Bering Strait and taking advantage of a period of warmer climate. That from 1200 onwards a climatic cooling began that culminated between 1650 and 1850 in the so-called Little Ice Age. That the Thule had to adapt to the new changes, but that they did so in different ways depending on the area where they were established, as a consequence of meteorological conditions, economic resources or geographical scope of each area. That for this reason, Inuit groups different from each other appeared. Whether due to changes in the climate, the drop in the price of walrus ivory or other circumstances, the Norwegian settlements began to disappear and the territory remained in the hands of Inuit groups. However, Denmark did not renounce its claim to the island that it had inherited from the Norse. That at the beginning of the 18th century Denmark asserted its sovereignty. That until 1940 Greenland had been a protected and very isolated society. That in 1953, after the consequences of World War II had been overcome, Greenland became a county of the Kingdom of Denmark, thus overcoming its colonial status. That Danish policies towards Greenland consisted of cultural assimilation. That the Danish government promoted the exclusive use of the Danish language at the official level and required Greenlanders to go to Denmark for post-secondary education. That in 1979 Denmark began to seek a differentiated status for Greenland. That as of 2009, Greenland gained self-government, assuming powers in justice, police and resources, but that Denmark maintains its control of foreign affairs and defense. That Greenlandic is the only official language in Greenland. And that these advances are considered a decisive step towards the possible total independence of Denmark. Also in Juan’s document I read that Greenland was the playground used by the Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen to test his theories on polar exploration, and that in 1888 he organized an expedition to cross Greenland and put them into practice. That he did it with a group of only six members, selected and well prepared, and they left the east coast to go to Nuuk, thus crossing the island from east to west. That this made it easier for them to find a boat to return to their country, but on the other hand, it made it impossible for them to go back. The fact that he crossed it on skis, more than 400 km, required forty-nine days of effort and an ascent of 2,720 meters. This helped them to verify that, as Nansen maintained, the center of the island was not inhabited. That back in Oslo he was received as a hero, but that, far from settling in, he began a new project: reaching the North Pole. That although he was aware of the problems that had affected previous expeditions, he began to design a revolutionary boat in terms of form and materials. With this new design he intended to avoid damage caused by the pressure of the ice and experiment with the theory of polar drift, allowing the currents to drag the ship towards the North Pole. That the ship had a crew of only twelve men and adequate provisions to avoid the problem of scurvy. Who left Christiania – now Oslo – in June 1893 heading to Siberia. And from there, at the height of the New Siberian Islands, Fram entered the ice. Since the currents did not take the ship where it was planned, Nansen decided to try to reach the North Pole by crossing the ice, accompanied by Hjalmar Johanssen and dog sleds.

That in the spring of 1895 the two expeditionaries left in the direction of the North Pole, but that the ice conditions, initially good, began to deteriorate. When they were at a latitude of 86°14′ and 386 km from the objective – a record at the time – Nansen decided to return. That then both men began a heroic journey of 670 km to reach the Francisco José archipelago. That for weeks they fed on polar bones that they hunted or on their own dogs. That they were finally able to reach the archipelago, where they were rescued, and that in 1896 the Fram, freed from the ice, returned to Norway. That apart from standing out as an explorer, Fridtjof Nansen also stood out in politics when he intervened in the dissolution of the Union between Sweden and Norway. That starting in 1918 he worked for the displaced people of the First World War. That he organized aid to refugees from Russia, Armenia and Greece, as well as reintegrating 450,000 prisoners of war home. And that in 1922 he received the Nobel Peace Prize. There I have also read that Robert Edwin Peary, an American civil engineer, wanted to be the first to reach the North Pole to obtain fame and money. That during visits to Greenland he meets several Inuit who train him in survival techniques. That his mission fails several times, but that, during his stay, he forges friendship with the Inuit who share with him knowledge to explore the region. That, as they also explain to him how to make knives and harpoon tips, he extracts iron from some meteorites and he decides to settle in New York in 1895 with two meteorites: one of three tons and another of four hundred kilos. That this vein of meteorites led him to collaborate with the city’s Museum of Natural History to study them, but that one day he also decided to appear with a group of ‘Eskimos’ so that New Yorkers could enjoy the spectacle of contemplating them. That less than eight months after his arrival, four of the Inuit he brought had died from diseases against which they were not immunized. That a fifth is deported to Greenland and that Minik, the last, was gradually integrated into American society. That he discovered that the burial of his father Qisuk, one of the six Inuit who arrived in 1897, had been a farce and that his body was exhibited in the History Museum. That Peary’s attempts to reach the North Pole continue to fail and that he refuses to return Minik to Greenland taking advantage of one of these trips. That he finally reached the North Pole in 1909, but that he had not been the first. And that it is during that year that Manik manages to return to Greenland but that, after living for twelve years in the United States, he finds himself completely lost. Fortunately, Peary’s luck changed and his investigations were classified as false. And the derogatory treatment he had towards the indigenous communities and their culture was revealed, in addition to his personal enrichment: he sold the meteorites to the History Museum for 40,000 dollars at the time, while the Inuit hunter who accompanied him to the place where they were, he received, in exchange, only a rifle. That the race to reach the North Pole continued, not only by land means. That there were attempts by Gregoriy Sedov in 1913, by Roald Amundsen and Lincoln Ellsworth by seaplane in 1925, and by Rober Evelyn Bird also by plane in 1926. And that finally, in 1926, Roald Amundsen, Lincoln Ellsworth are the first humans to see the North Pole, traveling with the Norge airship. That Roald Amundsen, possibly the most important explorer in history, added the North Pole to the other two great conquests that he had carried out: finding the desired Northwest Passage in 1906 and being the first man to reach the South Pole in 1911. That in 1948 , under the instructions of Josif Stalin, a Russian scientific expedition under the command of Aleksandr Kuznetsov was the first to set foot. And that in 1969 the British explorer Wally Herbert was the first man not only to reach the Pole, but also to cross the polar ice sheet.

That Greenland has been a Danish colony until 1953. That Danish colonialism has been so strong that many Greenlanders have not been allowed to speak Greenlandic. That they have made them afraid to speak their language to make speeches, sing and create music. But finally now the Greenlanders have lost their fear.

Joan, apart from this text, also sends me an article from May 16, 2023 from Vilaweb with the title “Aki-Matilda Høegh-Dam: We will hold an independence referendum in Greenland peti qui pete”, and the subtitle “Interview in the Grenland representative, who has gone viral in recent days for having refused to speak in Danish in parliament.” The article, written by Alaaddine Azzouzi, describes Aki-Matilda Høegh-Dam (1996, Hillerød, Denmark) as the youngest member of the Danish parliament and also the youngest elected from Greenland. It says that the parliamentarian from the center-left Siumut party is known for her activism in favor of children’s and indigenous rights. That she has mixed ancestry: Greenlandic and Danish, but she considers herself Greenlandic. That she Høeg-Dam has gone viral lately because she starred in an unprecedented scene in the Danish parliament when she refused to speak in Danish and expressed herself in her native Inuit language, Greenlandic, thus disobeying the president of the camera. She states that “people were so surprised to see me speaking Greenlandic to the Danes, that many told me that they had cried when they saw my speech.” In the interview responses she explains that the relationship between Greenland and Denmark has a historical significance that cannot be overlooked. That Greenland has been a Danish colony until 1953. That Danish colonialism has been so strong that many Greenlanders have not been allowed to speak Greenlandic. That they have been afraid to speak their language to make speeches, sing and create music. But now the Greenlanders have lost their fear. She believes it was essential to make her speech in Greenlandic to recognize the cultural identity of Greenland and preserve the language and its heritage. That in the last four years a large number of historical facts that Denmark had kept secret have come to light, which demonstrate that the Danish government attempted to commit genocide against the people of Greenland. That the oppression of Greenlanders has become a political debate. And this has encouraged many Greenlanders to speak even more Greenlandic because it is very important for their sense of belonging. That languages are much more than a means of communication because they are the very essence of cultural identity, shaping a vision of the world. And furthermore, in Greenland there is a recovery of cultural heritage also through facial tattoos and tattoos on their hands, because they are becoming more and more common. The journalist highlights a fragment of Høeg-Dam’s speech where mention is made of what she considers one of the most notorious atrocities of Danish colonialism: the forced sterilization of Greenlandic women during the 1960s and 1970s. And she answers yes. That a former Danish minister declared in parliament, exactly where she made her speech, that he was happy that he had thereby managed to reduce the Greenlandic population in order to save a lot of money. That her heart broke when she saw how proud she was, because many were little twelve-year-old girls who are now sixty and haven’t been able to have children. That these contraceptives were illegal in Denmark, but they used them on Greenlandic women. She also says that in Greenland there are about 55,000 Greenlanders and it is said that around 90% of the population speaks Greenlandic. And that in Denmark there are about 14,000 Greenlanders, but it is not known how many speak Greenlandic. It is clear that Danish still has a strong influence in Greenland, but she believes that a lot of effort needs to be made to protect the language. That for this he believes that it is necessary to extend the use of Greenlandic and that this begins in public places, such as parliament. And that more educational programs need to be implemented in schools to ensure that future generations also embrace their linguistic heritage. Beyond the language, she says that her party is pro-independence because they believe that, to have truly egalitarian societies, egalitarian frameworks for action must be created. That this throughout the world is done through the formation of states. And becoming a state means being respected by countries around the world and collaborating face to face, respecting linguistic differences. She says Denmark still considers them inferior. And that with independence they would ensure that their relationship with the world is based on equality. That today Denmark is still a colonial government because it is currently neither a confederation nor a federal government. That they will hold a referendum for independence ‘peti qui pete’. If Denmark tries to stop it, the United Nations can intervene, because the UN already announced in 2009 that the Greenlandic population is its own people protected by international law to hold a referendum. And since they have every right, they will do it.

There is a dish called kiviak which consists of cooked seal meat stuffed with seaweed and marked with its own fat. To prepare it, the head of the seal is cut off, the inside is cleaned and the bodies of hundreds of algae are inserted inside. After that, the seal’s torso is buried in the cold earth and left to ferment for about seven months.

I have also read that in traditional Greenlandic gastronomy we do not find a great variety of ingredients or preparations. They have always fed on what they had on hand and with what the climate allowed them. That in their diet we do not find bread, potatoes, or cereals, and that they hardly consume dairy products, fruits or vegetables. That today there is a great love for French fries and other less healthy dishes that have arrived from Europe and Canada. Although the diet is practically based on fat and protein, they extract from all parts of the animals many of the vitamins that we obtain from fruits and vegetables. That, for example, to get vitamin C they consume raw organs, seal viscera and collagen from the skin of animals. That there is a dish called mattak that consists of whale skin with part of the last layer of subcutaneous fat, which is eaten by biting to extract the taste, but swallowing quickly because it is not very pleasant in the mouth. That other vitamins such as A, D and A are obtained from animal fat. There are no cows, no pigs, no chickens there. The animals they eat are reindeer, musk ox, seal, whale, walrus, fish such as halibut or cur, snow crab or shrimp. That the national dish is called suaasa, which means soup, and that it can be either whale or seal. That there is a dish called kiviak that consists of cooked seal meat stuffed with auks and marked with its own fat. To prepare it, the seal’s head is cut off, the inside is cleaned and the bodies of hundreds of algae are introduced inside. After this, the seal’s torso is buried in the cold earth and left to ferment for about seven months. This dish is usually accompanied by mattak and hárkarl (toxic shark meat that is cured for months). And finally all this is also accompanied by a typical brandy called brennivín. Harkarl is consumed in the decomposition phase because its content of urea and trimethylamine oxide makes its fresh consumption very inadvisable. That this dish emerged in the Viking Age, and that then, taking a bite of a plate of rotten meat was not as serious as we may think now. That currently, instead of rotting in any way, they dry the meat in a space specially dedicated to hákarl and that it is cut into pieces so that the toxin evaporates faster.

I have also read the history of Greenlandic coffee, which is a coffee that is drunk after dinner and is made with two main ingredients: kahlua and tullamore. That one represents the sweetness of the woman and the other the strength of the Greenlandic man. To this mixture is added a black coffee that symbolizes the darkness of winter. Which is then added whipped cream, a symbol of snow and icebergs. Finally, Grand Marnier is heated over a fire in a ladle with which, once lit, the coffee is bathed and set on fire. And this causes a blue flame that represents an aurora borealis.

That Free Damm’s ad, despite being a cunt, seems disrespectful to him. And that he thinks that if the Greenlanders saw this ad, they would think that we are ignorant to show a white man acting as a waiter as a representative of their people.

This year I have also seen Estrella Damm’s new Free Damm ad in which it depicts the two protagonists enjoying a non-alcoholic beer in Greenland in an outdoor bathtub. I share it with Francesc Bailón during one of our calls and he tells me that he has not seen him. Minutes later I receive an email from him where he tells me that he just saw it and that it is not Greenland. Neither for the landscape, nor for the man who brings the beers. That this is not Inuit, nor does he speak Greenlandic. Rather he looks Norwegian. And furthermore, there are no oysters in Greenland. That the ad, despite being funny, seems like a lack of respect. And he believes that if Greenlanders saw this advertisement, they would think that we were ignorant to also show a white man as a waiter as a representative of his people.

I have also found a story on the internet called ‘The Young Man with Whale Fat’ and it goes like this: Once upon a time there was a young woman whose boyfriend drowned in the sea. Her parents could do nothing to console her and none of her other suitors interested her. She only wanted the one she had drowned. One day she took a piece of whale blubber and shaped it into the shape of her boyfriend, even modeling the features of her face. The resemblance was perfect. Oh, I wish she were real! Her name was the young woman. So she rubbed her pubes with the whale butter. And come, come rub! Until suddenly, the fat figure came to life and he became her beloved boyfriend. How happy she was! She presented him to her parents, telling them: You see, in reality, she did not drown. Then the girl’s father gave them permission to marry and she went with her blubber boy to a small cabin on the outskirts of town. In that cabin it was sometimes very hot and, when this happened, he felt very tired. He told her: Rub me, dear. And then she rubbed her entire body with her pubic bone. And so she revived him. One day the fat boy went hunting for spotted seals. As the sun was hot, he began to sweat and, as he sweated, he shrank. When he reached shore, half of him had melted away, and upon exiting the kayak, he fell to the ground, a mass of whale blubber. What a shame! said the young girl’s parents. As good as it was…! The girl buried the whale blubber under a pile of stones and went into mourning. She covered her left nostril. She didn’t sew, nor did she eat seabird eggs or walrus meat. Every day she visited the whale blubber grave and talked to it; and while she did so, she circled it three times in the direction of the sun. When the mourning was over, the girl took another piece of whale blubber and she began to mold it again. She gave him the shape of her drowned boyfriend, and once ready, she returned to rubbing her pubis with her figure. And suddenly, as if by magic, there she happened to have her boyfriend again, saying: Rub me, dear. End.

That Inuit women often use urine as a shampoo, because it gives their hair extra life and a beautiful shine. And because urine is an antiseptic, it can help eliminate many scalp problems, including infections, itchy scalps, and dandruff.

I found a video of Francesc Bailón on YouTube. It lasts only twenty-seven seconds. In this one you can see a white landscape from which a large black stone mountain protrudes. It’s not night. The sky is the same color as the snow. In the central part of this rocky area there is a snowy tongue in the shape of a slide where some dogs pull a sled that we have not yet seen. There are a total of ten dogs and they don’t seem to be afraid of the slope. They run down stretching and when the sled is at the limit from which to drop, they stop. As if someone had told him. The person on the sled directs the vehicle towards the corner so as not to fall on its face and begins to skid down. The dogs start running, barking and sniffing the snow. The sleigh descends successfully and the voices of a small audience that we do not see celebrate. Also that of what records it.

Furthermore, I have read that it is not easy to find your way in adverse weather conditions and, even less so, without means. That the Inuit learned choruses of songs that apparently spoke of a local myth or legend, to also learn an entire map by heart. That wooden maps of Ammasalik were also made, which consisted of three-dimensional carvings of the east coast of Greenland, with a level of sculptural detail that allowed them to be read with their hands when it was night and they lacked light. That these sculptures are not a representation of paper maps, but rather the contours are exaggerated to allow blind interpretation, but that with some training it is easy to recognize the shape of the coast in them.

Also that in Uummannaq is the only church built of stone that is in service. That every Sunday all the inhabitants of the town – close to fifteen hundred – go to mass at 10, and that the women wear traditional Inuit clothing. That Greenland’s caves store key information about how our climate has changed in the past, helping to study its future. That these caves, being protected and at the same time connected to the surface, preserve records for millions of years. That Inuit women often use urine as shampoo, because it gives the hair extra life and precious shine. And since urine is an antiseptic, it can help eliminate many scalp problems, such as infections, itchy scalp and dandruff. I found an e-Book titled Eskimo Folktales, by an unknown author and distributed under the Project Gutenberg License. The explorer, half-Greenlandic, half-Danish, Knud Rasmussen is the editor and W. Worster is the translator. In the book, Rasmussen collects several stories transcribed from the oral tradition of the Inuit from various parts of Greenland. There is one called ‘The two friends who went to travel the world’ and it says like this: Once upon a time there were two men who wanted to go around the world to explain to others the way to do it. This occurred when there were still many men on Earth and there were people in every country. Now we grow less and less, and evil and disease have arrived. Look how I, who tell this story, drag my life along, unable to stand up! The two men who were leaving had recently gotten married and did not yet have children. Cups were made of ox horn, with the two horns of the same beast. And they set off, moving away from each other, to go their separate ways and meet again one day. They traveled on sleds and lived on the ground during the summers. It took them a long time to go around the world; They had children, they grew up and they also had children. Until the parents were so old that they couldn’t walk, but the children guided them. And finally one day, they met, and only the handle remained of their drinking horns, because too many times they had drunk water along the way and had scraped the horn against the ground while filling it. The world is great! They said to each other when they met again. They were young when they started and now they were old led by their children. The world really is great. End.

There is another one called Ímarasugssuaq, the one who ate his women and who does this: It is said that the great Ímarasugssuaq used to eat his women. He fattened them, feeding them only salmon and not giving them anything to drink. One day, after losing his wife with this practice, he took the sister of many brothers, named Misána, as his wife and began to fatten her as he always did. One day, when her husband went out with his kayak, Misána realized that she was so fat that she could barely move. With great difficulty, she managed to get down to the ground, crawled to the entrance of the house and began to suck the snow that had accumulated. She licked and licked the snow until she felt lighter and more agile. So she continued to go out to lick snow whenever her husband was away with the kayak, and eventually she was able to get around normally. One day, when her husband was out kayaking as usual, she took his pants and her tunic and filled them until they looked like a real person. Then she told them: When my husband tells you to come out, answer him with these words ‘I can’t move because I’m too fat’, and then when he comes in and starts stabbing himself with the harpoon, remember to knock as if you were in pain. After saying this, she began to dig a hole behind the house and, when it was big enough, she hid inside. Take me the birds I have hunted! the husband shouted. But the mannequin woman responded: I can’t move anymore, because I’m too fat. The mannequin was sitting behind the lantern. The husband came in, stuck his harpoon into the mannequin woman and she screamed as if she was in pain and fell down. But when she looked closely, she saw no blood, only some leaded outerwear. And where was his wife? He began to look for her, and as soon as he left her, she came out of her hiding place and fled. While she was running away from her, her husband chased her, and seeing that she was getting closer to her, she said: Now I remember, my amulet is a piece of wood! And immediately it turned into a piece of wood and her husband couldn’t find it. He searched as hard as she could, but saw nothing but a piece of wood. He stabbed it a few times with the knife, but she only felt a slight sting. Then he returned home to get her axe, and as soon as she was out of sight, the piece of wood changed back into a woman and she ran away. When she arrived at her brothers’ house she hid behind the fur curtains, and when she got there, her husband appeared crying because he had lost his wife. She stayed at the brothers’ house, and at night they began to sing songs to make fun of her. They turned to him and said: People say that Ímarasugssuaq eats his wives. Who said it? Misana said it. And she continued from behind the curtains with: I said it, and I fled because he tried to kill me. Then the brothers rushed at Ímarasugssuaq and grabbed him tightly so that his wife could kill him; She grabbed the knife, but every time she tried to stab it, her knife only scratched his skin because her fingers had lost their strength. And still standing trying in vain to stab him, she suddenly saw that he was already dead. And that’s how that story ends.

There is another one that says ‘The arrival of men, a long, long time ago’ and it says like this: Our ancestors have told us many things about the creation of the earth and men and that it was an event that happened a long, long time ago. time. Those who lived long before us did not know how to record their words with black signs; They only knew how to tell their stories orally. They told us many stories, and that is why we know them. Because we have heard them many times since we were little. Old women do not waste their words in vain, and we believe what they have told us. Old age doesn’t lie. A long, long time ago, when the earth had yet to be created, they fell from the sky. Mountains, earth and stones fell from the sky, thus creating the earth. And once the earth was made, the men came. It is said that they came out of the earth. The little children came out of the earth. They came out from among the willow bushes, all of them covered with willow leaves, and there they stretched out among the bushes. They stretched and kicked because they couldn’t even crawl, and they got their food from the ground. So something happens with a man and a woman, but what about them? It is not known clearly. When did they meet and when had they grown up? I don’t know. But the woman started sewing, made children’s clothes and went out. And she found little children, dressed them, and brought them home. And so, men became many. And since there were many of them, they wanted to have dogs. So a man decided to go out with a dog leash in his hand and started hitting the ground shouting Hok-hok-hok! Then the dogs rushed out of the mountains and shook each other violently, because their coats were full of sand. That’s how men found dogs. But then children began to be born, and men grew until there were many on the earth. They didn’t know anything about death in those times, since it was a long, long time ago, and everyone was getting very old. Finally, they could not walk, they were blind and could not stretch. They also did not know the sun, but lived in the dark. The sun had never risen. Only in their homes was there light, they boiled water with their lamps. But there were more and more men who did not know how to die. And then there came a great flood from the sea and many were drowned and the group diminished. We can still see the marks of that great flood, on the high tops of the hills, where mussels can often be found. And then, as there were more and more men, two old women began to talk like this: ‘Better to be without day, if we can be without death,’ said one. ‘No; let us have both, both light and death,” said the other. And when the women said this, everything was as desired. Light and death arrived. It is said that when the first man died, the others covered his body with stones. But the body came back, because it didn’t know how to die properly. He looked out and tried to get up. But an old woman pushed him back and said: ‘We have a lot to carry and our sleds are small.’ It was a time when they were about to begin a hunting trip, and the dead man was forced to return to the stone mound. And now, after men have light on earth, they can also make journeys to hunt and eat. And with death also came the sun, the moon and the stars. Because when men die, they go up to heaven and become shining things there. End.

And with death also came the sun, moon and stars. For when men die, they go up to heaven and become there into shining things. The end.

There is another one called “How the Fog Came” and it goes like this: This story tells of a Mountain Spirit who stole bodies from their graves and ate them when he got home. A man, intending to see who was doing this, allowed himself to be buried alive. The man had put a flat stone under his jacket, in case the Spirit tried to stab him. The Spirit left, saw the new grave, dug up the body and took it away. Along the way, he grabbed hold of all the willow branches whenever they passed by bushes and made himself as heavy as he could, so that the Spirit was forced to struggle hard. Finally, the Spirit came to his house and dropped the body to the ground. And then, tired, he fell asleep, while his wife went to collect firewood for cooking. Father, father, he is opening his eyes! the children shouted, when the dead man suddenly looked up. Chimplerías, children, it’s a dead body, which I have dropped many times among the branches along the way!, responded his father. But the man arose and killed the Spirit of the Mountain and his children, and fled as fast as he could. The wife of the Mountain Spirit saw him and mistook him for her husband. ‘Where are you going?’, the woman called. The man did not respond, but he continued to flee. And the woman, thinking that something must be wrong, started running after him. And as the man ran across the level ground, he shouted, “Get up, mountains!” And immediately many mountains rose. Then, the woman of the Mountain Spirit was left behind, having to climb all the mountains. The man saw a small stream and jumped over it. ‘Overflow your banks!’ she shouted into the stream. And at that point it was already impossible for her to get to the other side. ‘How did you cross?’ the woman shouted. ‘I have drunk water. Do the same!’ she replied. And the woman began to swallow it. Then the man turned to her and said, ‘Look at the back of her tunic; hang between your legs!” And when she leaned over to look, her belly burst. And as it burst forth, a vapor came out of it and became a mist that still floats over the mountains today. End.

There is another one called “The Wife Who Lied” and it goes like this: This is the story of Navaránâpaluk, a woman from a tribe of man-eaters who was taken as a wife by a man from a tribe that did not eat beings. humans. One day, when she was about to visit the people of her tribe, she put mittens on her feet instead of boots. She did this in order to show that the people of her husband’s tribe had treated her badly. It was the middle of winter, and her relatives deeply pitied her when she saw her arrive like this. So they decided to wage war on her husband’s tribe as revenge. They set out there and, upon reaching the town when all the men were out, they only found the women at home. They captured and murdered them, and only three survived; one of them had covered herself with the skin she was working on when they arrived, the second had hidden inside a box used to store dog meat, and the third had hidden inside a small storage house. When the men returned home, they found that all the women had been murdered and immediately suspected Navaránâpaluk, who had fled. They were enraged, especially because the killers had nailed the women’s bodies to long poles. So the men immediately began to prepare for war against their enemies and made a large number of arrows. The three women who had survived braided strands of sinew to add to the arrowheads, and worked so diligently that eventually there was no skin on their fingers and bare bones became evident. When everything was ready, they went out to attack their enemies and hid among the large rocks behind their houses. The assassins had kept a watchful eye since their return, as they believed that the avengers would soon arrive. The women took turns guarding, and one day an older woman had a strange dream: she dreamed that two creatures were fighting over her head. When she explained it to the others, they all agreed that the Avengers should be close to her. They gathered in a house to ask the spirits for advice, and when they began to call the spirits, suddenly a dog on the roof of the house began to bark. The men ran out, but their enemies had already surrounded the house and began shooting them with arrows until all the men were killed. When there were none left, women were chosen from among the widows and taken to their own place. But two of them took the Navaránâpaluk and quickly left with her. And she, thinking that they both wanted to have her as a wife, cried out: “Who will it be? Who would she be? ‘. And the men laughed and did not answer, but they continued running with her. And that was when, suddenly, both of her arms were cut off with knives. Shortly after she fell and her blood left her and she died. This was her luck because she had lied. End.

Ingrid Picanyol. 22.09.23