Valley Voices: Couple says inclusivity is best

Margo Kadlun-Jones and Howie Jones reminisce as they look at a photo album from their times growing up in Canada’s North. (Times photo by Keith McNeill)Margo Kadlun-Jones and Howie Jones reminisce as they look at a photo album from their times growing up in Canada’s North. (Times photo by Keith McNeill)
A young Howie Jones checks out the landing gear of a DC-3 at Aklavik in 1952. (Photo by Dave Jones)A young Howie Jones checks out the landing gear of a DC-3 at Aklavik in 1952. (Photo by Dave Jones)
Jessie Hagongak, Margo’s sister, wears a traditional parka at Umingmaktok in the 1980s. (Photo by Howie Jones)Jessie Hagongak, Margo’s sister, wears a traditional parka at Umingmaktok in the 1980s. (Photo by Howie Jones)
Howie and Margo watch a drummer perform at Cambridge Bay in 1994. Interesting, the woman drumming had earlier tried to involve Margo in an arranged marriage. When Margo found out, she left in a hurry for Cambridge Bay, which is where she met Howie. (NNSL photo)Howie and Margo watch a drummer perform at Cambridge Bay in 1994. Interesting, the woman drumming had earlier tried to involve Margo in an arranged marriage. When Margo found out, she left in a hurry for Cambridge Bay, which is where she met Howie. (NNSL photo)
Sled dogs line up in their harnesses as a group of Inuit get ready to move from an encampment near Cambridge Bay in 1967. (Photo by Dave Jones)
Sled dogs line up in their harnesses as a group of Inuit get ready to move from an encampment near Cambridge Bay in 1967. (Photo by Dave Jones)Sled dogs line up in their harnesses as a group of Inuit get ready to move from an encampment near Cambridge Bay in 1967. (Photo by Dave Jones) Sled dogs line up in their harnesses as a group of Inuit get ready to move from an encampment near Cambridge Bay in 1967. (Photo by Dave Jones)

Keith McNeill

Clearwater Times

“I always tell my kids it’s a good life if you have two cultures.”

That is how Blackpool resident Margo Kadlun-Jones sees the power of inclusivity.

She, an Inuit, and her husband Howie Jones, a white man, have been married for over 40 years. They have two daughters, Lauren and Caley. Lauren lives in the Clearwater area and has four children while Caley lives in Kamloops and has two.

Although they met in Canada’s North the couple came from widely divergent backgrounds.

Margo was born and spent the first years of her life in and around Umingmaktok or Bay Chimo, a small settlement (now abandoned) next to Bathhurst Inlet in the central Arctic.

Her family still lived by hunting and living on the land, following the caribou and fish.

“We were healthy and we were happy, being nomads,” she said.

She remembered travelling several hundred kilometres to Contwyto Lake, a place in the Barrens where the people from the central Arctic met those from the west in the spring to wait for the caribou.

The caribou herd was so enormous that it would take a week for it to walk by.

“You don’t see that anymore,” she said.

Her life changed when she was about nine years old and out picking berries with her cousin, Alice.

“And then an airplane came and took us,” she recalled.

The airplane carried her to a residential school at Fort Simpson.

She’s heard stories of bad experiences from residential school survivors but the hostel she was in was pretty good and she didn’t see any abuse.

One thing that struck her as strange, however, was that there was one hostel for Anglican children and another for Catholic.

This gave her a bit of an identity crisis as her family had not really followed either denomination.

“I didn’t know what I was. Am I Anglican or am I Catholic?” she asked herself.

She was happy she ended up in the Anglican hostel as those in the Catholic one had to pray a lot.

From there she was transferred to a residential school in Cambridge Bay.

“That was okay for me as well,” she recalled. “I never did have a problem, except one time one of the girls got caught talking with a guy through a bedroom window. We all got strapped, whether we were involved or not.”

Her husband, Howie, was born in Calgary but moved with his family to Aklavik when he was aged one. His father, Dave Jones, was the regional manager for Imperial Oil.

North Thompson Valley