At the End of the World: A True Story of Murder in the Arctic
St. Martin's, 2017 (2017)
Reviewed by Barbara Lingens
he subtitle of this book is: '
A True Story of Murder in the Arctic
'. Perhaps a better subtitle could be: '
A True Story of How the White Man's Religion and His Electronic Devices are Destroying the Arctic and More
uthor Millman has used the Belcher Island murders as a way to talk about how we are destroying not only our habitat but also the remaining indigenous peoples and their many important and useful attributes as well as some fundamental needs of our own.
he Belcher Island murders were committed by Inuit against Inuit in the name of Christian religion. Their idea of Christian religion was based on some teaching that was very limited and therefore not well understood. Since these Inuit were very isolated, it took a while for the Western world to catch up with what happened. And it took longer for a trial to happen.
hile recounting these happenings, the author notes how contact with the West has circumscribed the lives of the Inuit. They got television but often didn't understand what they were seeing. At the same time, they are losing their ancient abilities: '
not so long ago, our people could identify a tree by the sound the wind made in its branches. Now there are only a few of us who can do it. So much is being lost
he author contrasts this with those of us in the cities walking around glued to our phones and iPads. How can we appreciate nature? What happened to face-to-face communication? Are we even noticing what is happening to our planet? The author gets in a rant or two about all of this, saying '
If you don't see Nature, why would you want to preserve it?
hile the story is told in a choppy way and the author's points of view are repeated a bit too often, his ideas about our natural world and what we are doing to it and to ourselves crackle with a meaning that needs to be addressed.
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