About Ikarut Silakkut (1977)

In his Preface to Ikarut Silakkut (Bridges-Over-The-Air), author Rod Chiasson describes how this "cahier" - a report to the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) - followed a process of discovery about the Canadian North and its people. Chiasson had arrived at the conclusion that "not only was the Inuit culture a highly developed intellectual and material culture, but deserving to be recognized as one of the world's civilizations."

In his 1977 report, Chiasson argued against the dominant south-to-north model of communication with Canada's North, and advocated instead a north-to-south and east-to-west model using "bridges-over-the-air," or television broadcasting. The primary goal of this communication network would be to strengthen the communities of the north while fostering a voice distinct from the centers of power in the Canadian south and the U.S. "The idea was not to recommend to the CRTC..., my employer, that such a plan could be implemented as this was not the intent. The intention was rather to create a model which would generate something for the future." It seems a shame, then, for this unique document to be relegated to obscurity in the Canadian National Archives (reference # R12298-6715-6-E with only restricted access). Whatever technologies are used to build these bridges, the central vision of fostering Inuit culture remains as cogent as ever.

The unique design of this report resulted from the collaboration of Chiasson with his daughter Rachel: "Once the conceptual work: content, chapters, concept-pages and illustrations had been articulated, she created the graphic design. Rachel executed the work with only simple instruments: coloured pens, a ruler, scissors and glue to paste in a couple of printed images. The one accurate circle was traced using the base of an ashtray as the guide. The work, though simple in style was done enthusiastically and with great conviction."

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