Home > A journey into Inuit Traditional Knowledge > Introduction > Essays

Photo Dogs and shacks Clyde couleur

Photo Dance of the Copper Eskimos

Photo Akomalee of Baffin Island


This section contains texts written by the students on themes they chose themselves.

 Aaju Peter

Moon, seasons and stars

According to Aaju Peter, the Inuit language expresses the reality of the North better than the language of the qallunaat. As she says, "I once heard the names of the months in Inuktitut and I thought they were so much more relevant for life up here." (Page 141) This prompts Aaju to compile a glossary of terms used when talking about the moon, the seasons, the stars, and other elements of nature.

Bernice Kootoo

Rules for women

Personal interest leads Bernice to focus on women's issues and traditional taboos for women. "I have chosen women's rules as a theme because I have always been interested in the traditional way of life of women." (Page 148)

Inuit women had to observe many more taboos than men. Bernice Kootoo provides a summary of what was said about women during the interviews with the elders. She wants to understand "why women had to observe so many more rules than men did." (Page 148) Although her question remains unanswered, her essay is nevertheless an interesting summary of the interview content.


Jeannie Shaimaiuk

Children's songs

Traditional songs were central to people's lives, serving as an important vehicle for cultural transmission. Whether centred on play, work, or the education of children, oral tradition had something to teach. Jeannie makes this the subject of her essay. She focuses more specifically on the children's songs shared by Elisapee and Saullu during their interviews.

Julia Shaimaiyuk

Teaching children

Julia addresses the question of how children were taught in the past. She wants to know how the Inuit taught their children before the arrival of missionary and federal schools in the North. She notes the importance of observation and imitation and realizes that the question could be better explored in terms of "how we learn from our parents by watching and listening to them." (Page 155)

Myna Ishulutak


There were many taboos during pregnancy. Myna paints a picture of these. She chooses to focus on pregnancy since "it is important for others to know because it is part of our culture and tradition." (Page 158) For example, kamik laces were not to be too long because it was believed that this could cause the umbilical cord to wrap around an unborn baby's neck. In addition, women were forbidden to eat raw meat when pregnant, and even their husbands had to follow this rule.

Nancy Kisa

Introduction to sewing

Busy with work and education, the new generation is abandoning the "art" of traditional sewing and the use of seal and caribou skins. As a result, this women's activity is close to dying out. Very few people today have held onto these skills. Nancy shares how she became aware that there was no specific time for learning to sew. In the past, a young girl would start sewing whenever she thought she was able to do it. At first, she practiced by making doll's clothes, and as she became more experienced, she would move on to larger things.

Susan Enuaraq


Susan takes advantage of this opportunity to interview the elders about her grandfather, Qaumauq. She gathers as much information as she is able about all that the elders can remember, such as travel itineraries, family anecdotes, children, hunting, or feats of strength.