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Voices ᐋ ᐄᔮᔨᐧᒫᓂᐧᐃᒡ

Summer update

BY Sonny Orr Jul 17, 2020

This year’s graduates had a different experience. A record number of students graduated while the pandemic was in full swing. A big congratulations to them and the schools, teachers, parents and even the bus drivers, who only had memories and empty seats to fill. To the many other people who had to struggle – and still do – with long lineups, changing rules and laws, constrictions and restrictions, and uncertainty, only time will tell if we can persevere. But one thing for certain, it’s only like this because we followed rules and learned hard lessons.

Some semblance of life has returned, but with full cautions in place. Understandably, people feel a sense of relief and might start to flaunt their pale skin at the summer sun, which is recommended. Any closed space is generally a no-no these days. Hopefully everyone will be nice and brown come September. 

Since no one’s allowed to completely travel freely yet, teams meet via popular video conferencing, which I enjoy immensely. It’s nice being able to get work done quickly and efficiently without having to undertake a long road trip to see someone in person – it’s way better and affordable. It worked for the graduates, so it should work for the job.

Physical contact being verboten, the desire to get close and talk quietly has been replaced with louder voices and for me, not hearing a lot due to the distance. It’s easier using a phone, a return to old-school communications. Soon the fax will be back in operation. Hopefully it won’t happen soon as I am quite fond of today’s technology. But it seems that all this new stuff is taking some time to converge with the old systems – maybe a complete overhaul of everyone’s system is needed and then we can’t complain for at least five years.

On another note, the government hand-outs are causing a bit of confusion. But in these uncertain times, it’s something that will sort itself out once this is all over, hopefully by Christmas. It’s a wish that many might have to hope for and for me, it might be online shopping again. I’ve noticed that postal workers are getting somewhat buff and muscular from the tons of online goods that fill our communities’ post-office boxes. 

Other vices like online gambling have seen some sparks fly in lucky people’s bank accounts, but for many with frozen screens from server meltdowns, it’s frustrating. Bingo players seem to have calmed down a bit. So far, there have been no rallies or public demonstrations showing our public displeasures in not dabbing again. It’s generally cool on the northern front except for the summer heat. 

As I write, a single angry cloud interrupts the sunny sky with a display of lightning and thunder, 30 seconds of downpour and then sunshine again. At least a little break from the UV rays and time to bring out the insect repellent. I’m hoping that this weather hangs around long enough to keep our outdoor lineups comfortable enough until winter sets in again. 

For the best health this summer, stay safe, take no risks, don’t be shy to say you don’t know what’s happening. Get in the know and all that other safety stuff. I’ll see y’all online!

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Sonny Orr is Cree from Chisasibi, and has been a columnist for the Nation for over 20 years. He regularly pens Rez Notes from the cozy social club in Whapmagoostui where he resides.