"I was a grown man and felt I could survive by hunting for a living. So for three years I lived by hunting, fishing and trapping. I enjoyed life then, not tied down to anyone or anything. Always making my own decisions. If I wanted to sleep, I’d sleep, if I didn’t feel like sleeping I wouldn’t sleep. If I wanted to go hunting I could go any time or if I didn’t feel like it I wouldn’t go. Only the weather told me what I could do.

I would make money from selling the fox pelts I’d trapped, and even when I didn’t have money in my wallet I was very happy. My family and I survived on caribou and other wild animals that I hunted, and occasionally we’d have qablunaaq food. There wasn’t anything to be unhappy about."

Inuit Today, September 1977
"I was a grown man and felt I could survive by hunting for a living. So for three years I lived by hunting, fishing and trapping. I enjoyed life then, not tied down to anyone or anything. Always making my own decisions. If I wanted to sleep, I’d sleep, if I didn’t feel like sleeping I wouldn’t sleep. If I wanted to go hunting I could go any time or if I didn’t feel like it I wouldn’t go. Only the weather told me what I could do.

I would make money from selling the fox pelts I’d trapped, and even when I didn’t have money in my wallet I was very happy. My family and I survived on caribou and other wild animals that I hunted, and occasionally we’d have qablunaaq food. There wasn’t anything to be unhappy about."

Inuit Today, September 1977

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Inuit live in harmony and interdependence with the natural world and it’s living resources. Harvesting and hunting are at the heart of our culture and our way of life. It is important for non-Inuit to understand that our hunting technology has changed over the years from stone and bone to iron; from spears and bows and arrows to rifles; from kayaks to freighter canoes; umiaks to long liners; and from dog teams to snow mobiles. Not surprisingly, we are often asked how is it possible to call ourselves "traditional" hunters if we do not still use all of our old technology.
Inuit live in harmony and interdependence with the natural world and it’s living resources. Harvesting and hunting are at the heart of our culture and our way of life. It is important for non-Inuit to understand that our hunting technology has changed over the years from stone and bone to iron; from spears and bows and arrows to rifles; from kayaks to freighter canoes; umiaks to long liners; and from dog teams to snow mobiles. Not surprisingly, we are often asked how is it possible to call ourselves "traditional" hunters if we do not still use all of our old technology.

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Snow mobile

Snowmobiles provide a fast and easy way to travel to our favorite hunting grounds.

Inuit Tapirisat of Canada

© Inuit Tapirisat of Canada


Inuit Fishing

Hunters spend a lifetime learning the nuances of the land and sea, and the skills needed to make a life on them.

Photo by Eric Loring
c. 1991
© Eric Loring


We often hear non-Inuit say "Inuit really should not have special rights to harvest because they can go get food at the store just like people down south." Well that is not really true. Store food is expensive and it is not very healthy. Of course we like to eat it once in a while and sometimes it is very convenient.

One way of understanding just how important wildlife is to our present day life, is through what we call Harvest Studies. We have collected very detailed information about what a family will harvest at different times of the year and we continuously monitor our level of harvest. This shows that it is possible for each Inuk to obtain about one kilogram of wild food each day without upsetting the natural ecological balance.
We often hear non-Inuit say "Inuit really should not have special rights to harvest because they can go get food at the store just like people down south." Well that is not really true. Store food is expensive and it is not very healthy. Of course we like to eat it once in a while and sometimes it is very convenient.

One way of understanding just how important wildlife is to our present day life, is through what we call Harvest Studies. We have collected very detailed information about what a family will harvest at different times of the year and we continuously monitor our level of harvest. This shows that it is possible for each Inuk to obtain about one kilogram of wild food each day without upsetting the natural ecological balance.

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Photo

The return from a day's hunt.

Photo by W. Kemp

© W. Kemp


Walrus

Walrus Harvest

Courtesy of Parks Canada.

© Parks Canada


The food we obtain from hunting, or what we call country food, contributes to our health and it gives us a sense of wellness by providing us with a way to participate in our culture. It is while hunting and living on the land that our elders teach responsibility and the skills that give us confidence.

The time we spend on the land helps restore our inner harmony and balance. It also helps maintain our mental and physical well-being. Much of the time we spend with our family and friends happens while we are out hunting, preparing the country foods, and taking part in meals. Eating land foods helps us to feel whole. It keeps us "in tune" with nature.
The food we obtain from hunting, or what we call country food, contributes to our health and it gives us a sense of wellness by providing us with a way to participate in our culture. It is while hunting and living on the land that our elders teach responsibility and the skills that give us confidence.

The time we spend on the land helps restore our inner harmony and balance. It also helps maintain our mental and physical well-being. Much of the time we spend with our family and friends happens while we are out hunting, preparing the country foods, and taking part in meals. Eating land foods helps us to feel whole. It keeps us "in tune" with nature.

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

family in a boat

In Fresh air.

Photo by Eric Loring

© Eric Loring


woman cooking

Food that comes from the land, or country food as we call it, is central to our wellness, culture and way of life.

Courtesy of Parks Canada.

© Parks Canada


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Describe how Inuit utilize wildlife for food
  • Relate how important the Inuit consider wildlife for their way of life and well-being
  • Express an opinion about the importance of hunting and gathering to present day Inuit life

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