Tag Archives: Inuit

Inuit Cultural Online Resource


This website is designed to be a resource on Canadian Inuit Culture for Canadian school-aged children and their teachers. The site contains cultural information as text, videos, and weblinks, it also contains downloadable worksheets for classroom use. Created by the Ottawa Inuit Children’s Center, this site was funded by the Canadian Heritage Gateway Fund.

Module 4: Mythology Proving Science

TEK and Science

This video is made by a caucasian biology teacher in Alaska who writes curriculum that integrates TEK and science.  He is a bit of a rambler, but near the end he links supposedly superstitious behavious and myths with scientific evidence.  The two examples he uses is that every 25/30 years, the Inuit Shaman would tell the village to burn all of their fishing gear at the end of a fishing season.  Given the scarcity of resources to make this gear, this would seem preposterous.  However, they would make new fishing gear, and not to catch the same fish.  They would alternate between crustaceans and vertebrates every 20-30 years as their main sustenance.  Modern science now shows that the Arctic ocean goes through 20/30 year temperature cycles that influence whether crustaceans or vertebrates flourish.  The Inuit would fish for whatever fish was plentiful.  This explains how the crab fishery is in ruins today–the Western market demanded it when the natural stocks were low.  Now they have been fished to the point where they may not recover. 

While I love the beauty of tradition and science corroborating each other, his description lacks insight into the spiritual nature of the myths and behaviours.  Many of the comments about the video are positive, but question the “superstitions” of the Inuit.  Being that he is caucasian, he likely isn’t versed on the spiritual nature of the myths and behaviours, but this is such an important concept for the Inuit, and given that it is brought up by viewers, it does need to be addressed properly so that the behaviours/myths aren’t “explained away” or commodified and dismissed as superstitions.

Nunavut Social History Database


This website, created by UBC students and faculty, contains abstracts of archival documents dealing with the social history of the Canadian Arctic.  The database covers one of the most interesting and heavily documented periods in the history of the Canadian Arctic: a period when Inuit moved from traditional hunting camps to settlements. It can be argued that this movement, commencing largely in the mid-1950s and lasting until the mid to late 1960s, is unique in terms of the international history of Aboriginal people.  The documents that are abstracted in this collection are from a limited number of archival collections that have very extensive records. The database contains over 10,000 entries.  The limitation of this database, however, is that it contains only abstracts of documents. It does not contain the full texts of any documents – these being the property of the archive in question. Readers wishing to see the complete record or obtain copies of these documents are referred to the archive from which the record is taken.

Inuit Throat Singing

Inuit throat singing, or “katajjaq” is a form of musical performance uniquely found among the Inuit.  Through a specialized vocalization technique a throat singer can produce two or more notes simultaneously.  Details on this can be found at the Folkways website.

This cultural activity was almost extinguished before Inuit elders began to encourage the younger generation to learn it.  A great video about this history of the vocal style and the technique used to produce the sound can be found here:


One of the most famous and remarkable throat singers is named Tanya Tagaq.  Check out a really cool video with her here:


Academica Group

Academica Group is a Canadian based research and marketing consultancy focused on post-secondary education. They conduct research, and highlight trends for post-secondary institutes to help them map out the changing roads ahead. They provide a free subscription service called Top Ten, a daily news brief. Many post-secondary institute leaders, managers and administrators subscribe to this service for daily updates. I have been scanning the daily updates of Top Ten for a while and have noticed since starting ETEC 521, that there is a fair amount of news related to indigenous education in Canada. Here are some recent news items that came up with the following search terms:

First Nations:






My favorite part of the Academica site is the work of Ken Steele, Senior Vice-President, Education Marketing. Ken does a roadshow and if you ever have the chance to see one of his presentations on the future trends in post-secondary education, it is well worth the time spent. Ken has U-tube channel where he gathers higher education commercials and lip dubs including UBC’s LipDub. Many of these commercials are thought provoking including Ontario Colleges Obay commercial.

Nanisiniq: Arviat History Project


Nanisiniq: Arviat History Project

This website is an excellent example of indigenous Inuit attempting to preserve their own culture themselves, through the use of technology.  They have used Tumblr to post their work.  There are a great number of images and videos, lots of multimedia, used on the website.  Interestingly, their work is done in conjunction with some UBC faculty and graduate students.

In their own words, here is what the Arviat History Project is all about:

‘The Nanisiniq Arviat History Project is a joint venture involving youth and Elders in the Inuit community of Arviat, located on the southwest side of Hudson Bay, Nunavut. The project is co-ordinated in Arviat by Tamar Mukyunik and by Professor Frank Tester of the School of Social Work, University of British Columbia.

For decades, Inuit Elders have expressed concern about the knowledge Inuit youth have of their own social history and culture. This project brings together Inuit youth and Elders in an exploration of their history and culture from an Inuit point of view. The progress of the project and the insights and discoveries of Elders and youth are documented on this website. Elders and youth are also filming their experience and interviewing, not only Elders in their community, but Qablunaat who came north in the late 1950s and 1960s, a period of phenomenal change among Aviarmiut.

In about 10 years the Inuit of Arviat went from tents and igloos, land-based camps and a predominantly hunting culture, to living together in the settlement originally known as ‘Eskimo Point’ and now called Arviat. This is possibly the fastest rate of change for any group of Indigenous people, anywhere in the world, in all of recorded history. The impacts on culture, physical and mental health, social relations and well-being have been dramatic.

Join us in a journey of discovery, documented by Inuit youth,  Elders and researchers on this website.’


Team Nanisiniq

Project Naming

Project Naming was an endeavour undertaken by the Library and Archives Canada to name a label almost 75 million different photographs of Nunavut indigenous people.  Workers undertook the enormous task of meeting with indigenous people of Northern Canada and had them attempt to identify as many people in the photos as they could.  This was an avenue for exploring the past ways of life, listening to stories and making connections, including genealogical ones, to today.

I think this is a great example of technology being used in a positive way to preserve culture.  It includes indigenous people in the process of identification and encourages them to share their stories and culture from their own mouths.

I hope it is a link that can be of use to anyone who is including research of Northern indigenous peoples in their research project.


CBC Aboriginal

CBC has an Aboriginal portal called CBC Aboriginal. To start, the site has a listing of current top headlines, for example on June 17, 2011 here were a few of the listed news items:

The site also has regular sections such as Promote: Legends series started in 2002, Special features such as Truth and Reconciliation, Arts and Culture, Radio featuring ReVision Quest, the Legends Project, and Spotlight featuring Aboriginal Artists.

This site also has links to Learning the Path: for aboriginal youth, Ab-Originals: Aboriginal Music, CBC North: Daly programing in Aboriginal Languages, CBC Archives: Aboriginal related television and radio clips, the Aboriginal section of the National Film Board of Canada and In Depth features such as History of Aboriginal Canadians.

This is a great site to find out about Canadian Aboriginal issues both past and present.

Arctic Hip Hop

In our discussion this module about stereotypes and critical media anaylsis, I came upon the organization BluePrintForLife which runs the program “Social Work through Hip Hop.” Through the medium of hiphop, this program facilitates social work development and healthy indigenous communities in the Arctic North. Projects are designed with specific communities in mind, but generally deal with issues such as anger, violence, sexual abuse, addictions, positive outlets.


Elders, adults, and youth are encouraged to participate side by side in fun events such as throat-boxing (Inuit throat boxing combined with beatboxing) as well as complex discussions of  anger, violence, sexual abuse and addictions.This program addresses the multigenerational healing of communities – take the Elder DJ component for example; a way in which Elders can model positive risk taking along with opening dialogue through sharing a laugh.

Module 1- WNCP- The Common Curriculum Framework for Aboriginal Languages and Culture Programs

The following document is a collaborative framework that represents the values and beliefs inherent in all Aboriginal cultures.  I find it quite interesting for I have yet to come across such a resource in Eastern Canada.   The Common Curriculum Framework for Aboriginal Languages and Culture Programs: Kindergarten to Grade 12.  This document is meant to scaffold schools and districts in Western provinces and the territories when developing curricula or learning resources that emphasize Aboriginal language.