I am from Narsaq, in the south of Greenland. When I think back to my childhood, the colonial structure was right inside my home. We weren’t allowed to speak Greenlandic around my father and when we ate traditional food, he would eat something else. I felt really misplaced, like I didn’t really belong, and I couldn’t understand who I was.
When I started working with traditional tattoos, I was able to finally discover this part of myself and a whole new world opened up. The more I learned about our culture, the more I started to understand myself. I don’t feel angry or frustrated anymore because I am finally nursing a part of me that wasn’t allowed to exist when I was a kid.
I think that’s why I dedicate myself to this kind of work. There are so many people that have the same identity problem as I have. They are being told that they are not good enough as people. Here in Greenland, nationality and ethnicity are put in the same box and there is no end to figuring out who is truly Greenlandic or Inuit. People use tattooing as a way to clean up the mess that this has created inside their souls. They are claiming their identity as a mixed person. And being ‘mixed’ doesn’t mean half and half. Half and half sounds like you are broken to begin with and only glued together. No, being mixed is being everything at once. Many people that I work with are just like me, the product of colonialism.
Our society is not ready to talk about race yet. But I want to start planting seeds here and there, and in a couple of years, we can open the subject. I want to be remembered as a person that did not accept the way things were, who was able to make a difference and who pushed for change in our society.
Narsaminngaanneerpunga Kalaallit Nunaata kujataaninngaanniit. Meeraanera eqqarsaatigigaangakku, nunasiaataanerup sannaa angerlarsimaffiup iluaneqqissaaq piusimavoq. Kalaallisut oqaloqqusaasimanngilagut ataatama eqqaaniitilluta, aammalu kalaaliminertoraangatta, allarluinnarnik nammineq nerisarsimavoq. Tulluanngitsutut misigisimasarsimavunga, soorlu inissisimanerlullunga kinaassutsigalu paasisinnaasimanngilara.
Ileqqutoqat malillugit kakiuisalerama, qannartara kiisami paasiartulersimavara silarsuarlu nutaaq ammariartulersimavoq. Kulturerput pillugu ilikkagaqaraluttuinnarnerani, imminut paasisinnaaneraluttuinnarsivunga. Kamassimasutut nikallungasutullu misigisimajunnaarsimavunga meeraallungali kinaassutsima ilarsua piusinnaasimanngittoq paaqqutarilersimagakku.
Taamaammat isumaqarpunga suliakka aallutarillualersimallugit. Inuppassuit uattulli kinaassutsiminnik ajornartorsiuteqarput, inuttullu pikkorippallaanngittutut oqarfigineqartuarlutik. Maani Kalaallit Nunaanni inuiaassuseq (nationalitet) immikkullu inuiaassuseq (etnicitet) ataatsimoortinneqartaramik taamaammat naassaanngitsumik eqqartorneqartuarpoq kina ilumoortumik kalaaliunersoq. Inuppassuit kakiortinneq qannartaminni oqallisaatigineqartup tukassagaanik torersaanertut atugarilersimavaat, kakiuineq kinaassutsiminnik tiguaanertut takussutissanngorlugu. Akutaaneq isumaqanngilaq affaq affarluusoq. Affaq affarlu imaappalukkami soorlu aseqqukuusoq katiterneqarsimasorlu. Naamik, akutaalluni isumaqarpoq tamarmik ataatsikkut pigalugit. Inuppassuit sullitakka uattulli ittuupput, nunasiaataasimanerup takussutissaartaa.
Inuiaassutsinik eqqartuinissamut nunarput piareersimanngilaq. Kisiat naasussanik ikkussuilereerniarpunga maani ikanilu, ukiullu tulleriinni sammisaq ammaqqikkumaarparput. Uanga pissutsinut akuersiumanngittutut, allannguerusuttutut aammalu allanngortitsinissamullu suliniuteqartut eqqaamaneqarusuppunga.