Angaangaq, whose name means “The Man Who Looks Like His Uncle,” is an Eskimo-Kalaallit Elder. Fondly known as “Uncle,” his family belongs to the healers and WisdomKeepers of the Far North. From Kalaallit Nunaat Greenland, Uncle is a healer whose traditions of storytelling, chanting, Qilaut drumming and performing ceremony are directed at Melting the Ice in the Heart of Man. “Uncle” is an internationally recognized Elder among native communities and a keynote speaker at international conferences and symposia on environmental and indigenous issues. His work in personal and global transformation has taken him to five continents and over 40 countries.
How does the fact that your tribe has never known war or conflict impact your ability to promote peace and global transformation?
“I am a very privileged man who has never known anything other than peace. Having grown up in 10,000,000 square miles, I was free from the fear of walking anywhere that I would not belong. This freedom from fear, connectedness and sense of belonging everywhere allows a kind of beauty to unfold in life. This beauty is not possible in a land where people live or have lived under the pain and fear of war. Living without this fear brings an incredible feeling of forever being welcomed as though you are family. I am always welcomed with open arms everywhere I go even if it is my first visit. My people say that when someone knocks, they know it’s a stranger at their door. This is the beauty you are missing.”
You say that Man’s hardest and longest journey is from the head to the heart. How does your work help people to make this journey?
“The journey is difficult because most people live in their head. My father said, ‘The hardest thing to learn is to unlearn what you already know.’ People who live in their head do not know to listen to the voice of the heart. Men find it excruciatingly difficult and women who are more intuitive find it easier. My drum and her beat are more important than me in this journey of great distance. The beat of my Qilaut drum brings feelings and emotions up to the head and then melts every thought down into the heart.”
What difference does the journey from the head to the heart – melting the ice in the heart of Man – make in people’s lives?
“Melting ice in the heart of man makes people aware of the immensity within and who they are. If we combined all our knowledge we still would find that we comprehend little. Though we have never been so educated we have not learned to use our knowledge wisely. The prophecy of my people was that someday the great Sea Eagle would descend from the mountains of ice and that she would carry with her a fresh scent of knowledge combined with wisdom. After melting the ice in the heart, who you are – the real beauty and wisdom – will shine forth naturally. When you are trained to hear what your heart is saying and you live out its messages you will see with eyes of faith into the future and see the difference. Unless this journey within is made and the distance conquered man will not realize his immensity and learn to soar like the eagle. Melting the ice in the heart of man means that the world we live in will have a chance to change.”
It has been said, “it is the practice that teaches.” Is it enough to practice without understanding, counting on the possibility of a deeper understanding occurring naturally as a result of the practice?
“Practice does bring about mastery. Even if someone is a slow learner, if they practice with awareness and attention and they listen within, they will see that what is revealed to them in their practice will be something that comes alive, a truth that they can live out in their everyday life.”
What are your thoughts on the differences between your environmental perception of global warming and those of our government’s scientists who say that the earth changes and weather patterns are cyclical?
“The scientists are right to a certain extent. Mother Earth has gone through changes before and she will again. The thing they overlook is that we have never had so many people living on the planet – 6.5 billion – to be impacted by the coming changes. The question is, how many humans will survive? Since 1968 I have been giving talks all over the world about the environment and the melting of ice that was 5 kilometers thick when I was born. Now it’s three kilometers. Though people applauded my talks, nothing was changing. I asked my mother about this before she passed on. She said, “Son you will have to change your ways and learn how to melt the ice in the heart of man. Only then will man have a chance to change.” She also said that in times of great calamity many will perish and many will survive but the few who survive will not have a good life. We have seen this in the aftermath of Katrina.”
A journey to our hearts – written by Linda Sechrist.