Maybe I am getting older. The summer is almost over and I have not taken my qajaq out at all. I have not even put my qajaq rack on my pickup truck. How could I qajaq on the Brandywine without my qajaq rack to get my qajaq there?
“Qajaq” is now an acceptable alternate spelling for “kayak” in the newly released Official Scrabble Players Dictionary. It has already appeared in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary who feel it correctly conveys the sound of the original Inuit word, and they should know. The Inuit agloos (as the Canadians spell it) are in their back yard. Scrabble players are excited by the prospect of finally getting rid of all those “Q’s” when they have no “U’s” to go with them.
For others my age, Inuit is what we used to call Eskimos. Some think “Eskimo” is degrading because it means “raw meat eaters” in Eskamoan, but what is degrading about that? The whole world now enjoys sushi. (To be precise, sushi simply means “vinegared rice.” Sashimi is the raw fish on top of one type of sushi.)
The people we referred to by the now-banished, but inclusive, E-word are three distinct tribes who are each insulted to be grouped with the other two, and I suspect that was the real problem. The three tribes are the Inuit, mostly inhabiting northern Alaska, Canada, and Greenland, the Yupik, inhabiting central Alaska and Siberia, and a smattering of Aleut, inhabiting the Aleutian Islands and Russia. So, using the word “Inuit” ignores the other two.
(This discussion is quickly becoming boring. It’s a nice day, and I should be out qajaqing.)