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Caribou in the Koroc River Valley, Torngat Mountains.

On the shore of Ungava Bay south of Killiniq.

Dealing with Dreams: Prevention and Protection; Ilisiiqsiniq

Salome Ka&&ak Qalasiq
They are not just something trivial. If you think that you have a dream that is really meaningful, believe in it. You shouldn’t forget about it. Think of it as being indeed true. I too have had a dream that came true. In my dream my son was a small child. I kept telling him, “You’re going to fall in the water. Come over here! Come over here!” I was yelling at him. He became aware of me just as he fell in. The place where he fell in was so shallow you could see the bottom. I dreamed that I walked along the bottom and I went to my son. It turned out that my son was indeed going to fall in the water the next day. Sometimes you are told something that is about to happen in a dream. My father told me because I was not going to be an angakkuq, I was going to be able to rely on my dreams. I always remember what my father said. He told me to believe in my dreams. Even angakkuit should believe in their dreams. I believe some dreams are true because I have experienced this myself. (Page 156)
This chapter is articulated into two sections. At first, questions revolve around the actions to be taken after having a dream. What should we do with our dreams? How should we react to them? First, one needs to recognize significant dreams from ordinary ones. Dreams that seem real, in which one feels like they are awake, are important. To prevent them from becoming real, one can only talk about them as soon as possible. In the specific case of a dream where something breaks, one should give that thing away promptly. There are ways to chase away bad dreams: an ulu under a child’s pillow or a blade under an adult’s pillow. Nowadays, people use a rosary instead. And if someone has a recurring dream of a dead person beckoning them to follow them into the afterlife, family members gather to help them and chase the unwanted dream away.

The second part of the chapter talks about illisiiqsiniq, hexing a person or “go after someone,” as the elders often put it. The hex can be performed in various ways; Pisuk tells of an ilisiiqsiniq performed by placing a used sanitary napkin in the victim’s boat. In such cases, according to Pisuk, one must turn the object before disposing of it, in order to send the hex back to its originator. There are other means for hexing people: angakkuit could do it through dreams. An irinaluiti, or incantation, could also be used. However, ilisiiqsiniq was feared and condemned within the community and it was a risky practice. People hexing others might see their hex turn back against them, which brought with it physical illness and the risk of seeing one’s children die one by one. Furthermore, the “victim” could have a pittiriiqsauti, a means of protection. This could be a talisman or a rule of conduct (for example, getting up very early in the morning to be the first to walk on the new snow).