John Houston
Houston interviews Bobby “Snowball” Aputiarjuk while motoring up Kuujjuaq River, Nunavik Author: Scott Berrington, Atautsikut Production Ltd
2021

John Houston

Inuit Art Specialist and Arctic Filmmaker

documenting, promoting, preserving

meet john

John’s life is a story of the Arctic and Nova Scotia. He owes his storytelling to the Inuit among whom he was raised while his parents James and Alma Houston developed what the world now knows as Inuit art. After graduating from Yale University John became art advisor to the Inuit community of Pangnirtung, regaining his childhood fluency in Inuktitut. He is also fluent in French. His first six films are all winners of international and domestic awards. He now also produces with indigenous partners.

documenting, promoting, preserving
Nominated by: Jason Edmunds MI'15
Class of 2021 Location Nova Scotia
Inuk master sculptor Mattiusi lyaituk of Ivujivik, with "Flying Shaman"
Inuk master sculptor Mattiusi lyaituk of Ivujivik, with "Flying Shaman" Author: John Houston

My idea is nothing new. Inuit say “Tumivut nanituinnauvut” – “our footsteps are everywhere.” Since long before Columbus “discovered” what he called the New World, there were few places on earth that Indigenous peoples had not already visited or inhabited. Instead of denying or sidestepping that realization, my work embodies it. I model “Two-eyed Seeing,” the concept that Indigenous and Western perspectives need one another to get the full picture.

The United Nations Foundation recently initiated a study based on my vision that Indigenous peoples gain increased access to online broad- casting through mentorship and training backed up by corporate and foundational sponsorship. My hope is Indigenous and non-native peoples in Arctic Canada and all over the world will learn to see and hear each other and move forward in a sustainable way, with arms linked and both sets of eyes fixed on a better future.

“My hope is Indigenous and non-native peoples in Arctic Canada and all over the world will learn to see and hear each other and move forward in a sustainable way, with arms linked and both sets of eyes fixed on a better future.”

- John Houston
John Houston returns "First Caribou," acknowledged to be the first piece of Contemporary Inuit art, given to his late father by its carver, Conlucy Nayoumealook (1891 - 1958)
John Houston returns "First Caribou," acknowledged to be the first piece of Contemporary Inuit art, given to his late father by its carver, Conlucy Nayoumealook (1891 - 1958) Author: John Houston

I hope my work welcomes departure from the world view fostering identity politics, laws, regulations and funding criteria that continue to have the effect of keeping groups of people separated. I understand that from a governmental point of view, there is a practical side to drawing a line around people by race, creed, nationality, etc., in order to better administer them. But, I believe there should be substantive countervailing measures designed to encourage collaborations and mentorships between all different kinds of people. Otherwise we foster prejudice, even as we espouse its eradication.

never stop exploring

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