News and Reviews
An orientation program on the Isle of Man has sharpened the perceptions of Dawn Repetto about better ways to promote tourism for Tristan da Cunha. As Tourism Coordinator for Tristan, she has been participating in an exchange program supported by the Manx government. Last week she discussed the values tourists could take away from visits to her own island.
She and her family have spent three months on Mann and they are nearing the time when they will be returning to Tristan. A reporter for a local news service on Mann, Dave Kneale, interviewed her about her work on Tristan, her program on Mann at the Department of Economic Development and the Manx National Heritage, and her hopes for promoting tourism.
She explained the self-sufficiency of the Tristan Islanders. Many are employed in the lobster fishing company or by the government, but they are not done work at the end of the day. They grow much of their own food: they raise cattle, cultivate potatoes, and harvest fish from the surrounding sea. Repetto pointed out to the Manx reporter, “we have no restaurants and bakeries so island women do all of their own cooking and baking.”
She continued by discussing the social climate on Tristan. The 200 years of isolation—the islanders take pride in being “the world’s most remote inhabited island”—have fostered some unique social and economic traditions. All the land is owned communally and the feelings of community are highly cherished. People help one another and though they are very busy, they also have a happy lifestyle, she maintained.
She went on to say that a person who had no money would not starve on the island. “We are a peaceful community with no crime and it is a great place to bring up children,” she said.
Tourists have a hard time arranging visits to Tristan. The island has no hotels and no restaurants, and relatively few ships travel from Cape Town to Tristan, so it can be hard to book passage. In case a medical emergency arises, it may take priority and preempt a room on a departing ship, forcing visitors to stay on the island until the next ship with available space comes by.
Despite those problems, the island has a steady stream of travelers who do visit—and Ms. Repetto wants to increase their numbers. There is a constant backlog of people who wish to visit the island and there are not enough ships with facilities to bring them. Although the island has no hotels, it can provide self-catering accommodations and homestays in private homes.
She included in her comments to the reporter some kind words about her hosts on the Isle of Man. She told him that their island is lovely and that the Manx people are fortunate to have both an island lifestyle and the advantages of being close to Ireland and the UK. Their island is similar to her own, though of course it is much bigger.
She concluded by saying, “People have been so kind and friendly since we arrived—I hadn’t realised that this sort of kindness still existed in today’s world.” The Tristan website also has a recent news story about the Repetto family on Mann, which includes numerous photos.
A support group has launched a campaign to foster awareness and actions that will help Inuit women who suffer from violence within their families. Nunatsiaq Online, reporting on the story early last week, indicated that the focus of the new program is to involve other people—bystanders, office colleagues, neighbors—in suspected cases of violence.
Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada launched its program with the three tag lines, “Believe; Ask; Connect.” Rebecca Kudloo, the president of the organization, told the news source in an email, “We can all help end violence in our homes and communities. We want to encourage and support people to help others. Together we can make changes by listening and talking.”
The three tag lines suggest that people should believe the evidence they perceive when a woman appears to be a victim of family violence, ask her how she feels the issue might be handled best, and then help her connect with an appropriate support service. The campaign by the Pauktuutit group has been supported by a grant of $75,000 from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. The group has just learned that it will receive more federal support as well.
The news service reported that the director of a women’s emergency shelter in Iqaluit, Suny Jacob, said that she would support any efforts to raise awareness about the problem of family violence. But she expressed skepticism that focusing on the assistance of bystanders would be enough. Many Inuit have a lot of problems of their own and may be reluctant to become involved in the issues of others. They might fear that they could be required to be interviewed by the police, or perhaps even to participate in court hearings, all of which would demand their time and efforts.
Jacob said that since many people are so involved with their own lives, they don’t have too much time for getting involved with the lives of others. She feels that the most important thing is to support mental health services and emergency shelters. That way, women who are the victims of violence have services outside the family to which they can turn for help.
Kudloo responded that while some bystanders may be reluctant to come to the aid of a battered woman, she hopes the campaign by her group will change the general attitude of people toward the issue. Violence in the home is not just a private matter. It is important, she said, to “encourage people to break the silence. It’s OK to talk about it and say it’s not OK to hurt others.”
The news story, quoting a report in 2013 from the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, a component of Statistics Canada, said that the rate of violence against Nunavut women in 2011 was 13 times higher than the rate for the rest of Canada. It went on to indicate that 1,715 women in Nunavut were the victims of violent crimes that were reported to the police in 2011, compared to 1,014 men that year. When only statistics of sexual crimes were examined for that year, Nunavut had a rate of 1,135 per 100,000 people, compared to 99 per 100,000 in the rest of the nation.
Earlier news reports have made it clear that one of the major reasons for the violence in Inuit society is the breakdown of the traditional social structure. The violence in Nunavut, according to a story in 2011, appears to be a direct result of the historical trauma of the Inuit having moved—or having been pressured to move by the government—off the land and into settled communities, and in the process, of abandoning their traditional ways.
But the reasonable question is, how much violence existed against women in traditional Inuit societies, out on the land? A recent journal article argued that violence was present in traditional Inuit society before the period of historical traumas began. It continued during the worst of the traumatic episodes, and it continues today. The author of that article cites a variety of Inuit works to document her assertion—that the Inuit past cannot be idealized, and that their contemporary social realities must be confronted realistically.
However, Briggs (1974) provided a nuanced view of the traditional Inuit women and the society they lived in. She wrote that while Inuit men and women were ambivalent about loving and being loved, they did not, at least in their traditional culture, exhibit institutionalized gender conflicts, and they showed very little tensions between the sexes.
An important feature of Inuit marriages was that the men and their wives had very clear roles. The men were the hunters, enduring the frequently very difficult, dangerous tasks involved with providing for their families. They also did all the very heavy work and repaired not only their own tools but everything around the camp. The women did a lot of work around camp such as sewing, child care, and cooking.
Briggs (1974) makes the point that both spouses credited each other for their respective contributions. Both thought the work of the other was absolutely essential. Neither could live without hunting or warm clothing. Both were critically important—at least in their traditional society. The work of both partners was interdependent and complementary, and while some women could help a bit with the hunting, and some men could do a little of the housework, they believed that the work of the other was indispensable and that they were basically incapable of doing it.
In public, men and women would maintain a formal separation—when a party of strangers approached the village, the men would go out to greet them, while the women would retreat to the house and make tea for when the visitors were brought in. Behind the formal, public view, however, Inuit couples—particularly people who were middle aged or older—often had close relationships. In the privacy of their evenings, they would share experiences, reminisce about the past, play cards, and perhaps enjoy foods that they kept only for themselves.
Briggs (1974) did not romanticize the Inuit. Rather, she provided a careful record of her perceptions of life in the traditional Inuit community out on the land. The tragedy appears to be the historical traumas which fostered violence among them. The practical discussions among activists such as the Pauktuutit group and the Inuit women’s crisis center are essential, but so are the historical facts recorded in the literature by scholars such as Briggs and the possibilities that they may suggest.
News and reviews of publications relating to peaceful societies—and sometimes to related topics—are normally posted here on Thursday mornings (U.S. time) and are kept on this page for one week. Older news and reviews for 2015 are listed below, and ones from previous years are listed on the News and Reviews 2004-2005 page, the 2006 page, the 2007 page, the 2008 page, the 2009 page, the 2010 page, the 2011 page, the 2012 page the 2013 page, and the 2014 page. All stories are also included in the News and Reviews Subject Listing. They are listed at the bottom of each society entry in the Encyclopedia of Selected Peaceful Societies, after the heading: Updates: News and Reviews. News and reviews about peacefulness in general are referred to from the bottom of the Facts page, while news stories about this website are linked from the About This Website page. News and Reviews can also be found with the Google search bar.
July 23, 2015. Kerala and its Peaceful Societies Part 1, the Kadar
July 23, 2015. Kerala and its Peaceful Societies Part 2, the Malapandaram
July 16, 2015. Nubians Insulted by Egyptian Racism
July 16, 2015. Happiness and Peacefulness in Thailand [journal article review]
July 9, 2015. Adventures in Botswana
July 9, 2015. Amish Singing
July 2, 2015. Statistics about Peaceful Nation States
July 2, 2015. Mbuti Bark Cloth and Babies
June 25, 2015. Schools for San Kids
June 25, 2015. Problems of the Nubian Diaspora [journal article review]
June 18, 2015. Orang Asli Land Rights
June 18, 2015. Photos of the Hutterites
June 11, 2015. Truth and Reconciliation for the Inuit
June 11, 2015. An Erection Points toward Peace on Ifaluk
June 4, 2015. The President Visits the Ju/’hoansi
June 4, 2015. A Dam Could Destroy Indigenous Communities [journal article review]
May 28, 2015. Yanadi Prohibited from Entering the Forest
May 28, 2015. Tahitians Cherish their Natural Heritage
May 21, 2015. The Lepchas Want Teachers
May 21, 2015. The English Are Coming, the English Are Coming—Run! Hide!
May 14, 2015. Inuit Men Helping Each Other
May 14, 2015. Overcoming Memories of Violence [journal article review]
May 7, 2015. Problem Drinking on Tristan da Cunha
May 7, 2015. Progress among the Ladakhis
April 30, 2015. Ju/hoan Man Appointed to Government Position
April 30, 2015. Semai Women Making Progress
April 23, 2015. Hutterite Innovations and Commitments
April 23, 2015. The Popularity of Redshirts [journal article review]
April 16, 2015. Resettlement Plans for the Malapandaram
April 16, 2015. Hard Hats for Amish Workers
April 9, 2015. Nunavimmiut Face the Future
April 9, 2015. Searching for Life in the Kalahari
April 2, 2015. Oil Palm Prosperity
April 2, 2015. Designs for Energy Efficiency
March 26, 2015. Is Baltistan Peaceful?
March 26, 2015. Semai Place Names Help Preserve Forests—and Peacefulness [journal article review]
March 19, 2015. Paliyans Obtain Better Housing
March 19, 2015. Some Hutterites Use iPhones
March 12, 2015. Archaeological Discoveries and the Media
March 12, 2015. Promises to Nubians in Wadi Qurqur
March 5, 2015. Unicorns, and the Mbuti, Are Troubled by Violence
March 5, 2015. Unicorns, Peaceful Societies, and Peace Systems
February 26, 2015. Paliyans Learn to be Guides
February 26, 2015. Inuit Experiences of Historical Traumas [journal article review]
February 19, 2015. Coltan Mining Fosters Violence
February 19, 2015. Yanadi Economic Tragedies and Successes
February 12, 2015. Human Trafficking in Rural Thailand
February 12, 2015. Donald Kraybill to Retire
February 5, 2015. Publicity for Lepcha Cardamom Crops
February 5, 2015. A French Polynesian Novel Portrays Tahitian Culture [journal article review]
January 29, 2015. A Love Jihad in Ladakh
January 29, 2015. A New Blog about the G/wi
January 22, 2015. The Kadar Preserve their Forests
January 22, 2015. Some Peaceful People Are Birdwatchers [a tenth anniversary reflection]
January 15, 2015. New Opportunity for Paliyan Youth
January 15, 2015. Update on a Birhor Tragedy
January 8, 2015. Review of the Tristan Year
January 8, 2015. Yanadi Woman Advocates Human Rights
January 1, 2015. Piaroa Women Protest Violence
January 1, 2015. Ice Stupas in Ladakh