Hunting and life on the land will always be part of the core values and activities that define Inuit life. But it must be realized that we have also moved far beyond the land and traditions as being the only defining characteristics for our cultural identity.

Today our cultural identity takes many forms and has many faces. In many ways life on the land can be considered as a spectacular training ground for developing responsibility and an Inuit style of leadership.

Inuit are represented in the Canadian Senate; they are running major companies and corporations especially in the airlines and construction industries that have emerged from the settlement of land claims. Inuit are also creating and running small businesses such as tourist facilities, stores and translation services.

Throughout our territory we are taking over and staffing the many types of boards such as wildlife management boards, and all of our communities are run by Inuit mayors and other elected officials. In the professions we are beginning to take our place as airline pilots, teachers, nurses and other health and social service workers, secretaries and all of the other types of Read More
Hunting and life on the land will always be part of the core values and activities that define Inuit life. But it must be realized that we have also moved far beyond the land and traditions as being the only defining characteristics for our cultural identity.

Today our cultural identity takes many forms and has many faces. In many ways life on the land can be considered as a spectacular training ground for developing responsibility and an Inuit style of leadership.

Inuit are represented in the Canadian Senate; they are running major companies and corporations especially in the airlines and construction industries that have emerged from the settlement of land claims. Inuit are also creating and running small businesses such as tourist facilities, stores and translation services.

Throughout our territory we are taking over and staffing the many types of boards such as wildlife management boards, and all of our communities are run by Inuit mayors and other elected officials. In the professions we are beginning to take our place as airline pilots, teachers, nurses and other health and social service workers, secretaries and all of the other types of supporting positions that are required in running today’s north.

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Parcs Canada game warden

Working as a Parks Canada game warden is one of many ways in which Inuit can combine traditional skills with employment.

Courtesy of Parks Canada.

© Parks Canada


Inuit have always shown great respect for the land. Had this not been the case, we never could have survived for so many centuries. Although we now have access to many different types of imported foods, our nutrition and health is still based on the resources we harvest each day. This dependency can never be replaced; Inuit, land and wildlife will always coexist.

The decrease in species diversity as one moves northward means that the food chain in the Arctic is more delicate. Therefore, as we have always done, we must continue to exercise care in hunting to prevent disrupting the balance of species population.
Inuit have always shown great respect for the land. Had this not been the case, we never could have survived for so many centuries. Although we now have access to many different types of imported foods, our nutrition and health is still based on the resources we harvest each day. This dependency can never be replaced; Inuit, land and wildlife will always coexist.

The decrease in species diversity as one moves northward means that the food chain in the Arctic is more delicate. Therefore, as we have always done, we must continue to exercise care in hunting to prevent disrupting the balance of species population.

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

aerial view

Aerial survey of beluga whale.

Courtesy of Makivik Corporation.

© Makivik Corporation


Man with beluga

Floe edge hunting for beluga whale.

Photo by W. Kemp.

© W. Kemp


"...Someone with bad luck might sight a caribou at a distance but be unable to catch up to it, or a seal hunter might see a seal come up for air and then dive down into deeper waters. These misfortunes are punishment for misusing wildlife."

Inuktitut, vol. #70. p.60 (1989)

"...Someone with bad luck might sight a caribou at a distance but be unable to catch up to it, or a seal hunter might see a seal come up for air and then dive down into deeper waters. These misfortunes are punishment for misusing wildlife."

Inuktitut, vol. #70. p.60 (1989)

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

In earlier times our ancestors used our beliefs and knowledge to manage the resources. Today we use science and our knowledge, but we still have special beliefs that help us to manage our resources.

As people who are always on the land observing the environment and wildlife, we have a profound knowledge of our territory and it’s living resources. Over the centuries we have learned much about the relationships between the physical environment and the animals of the land and sea. We can tell you about their behavior and the places they use at each season of the year; about their numbers and cycles in the population.
In earlier times our ancestors used our beliefs and knowledge to manage the resources. Today we use science and our knowledge, but we still have special beliefs that help us to manage our resources.

As people who are always on the land observing the environment and wildlife, we have a profound knowledge of our territory and it’s living resources. Over the centuries we have learned much about the relationships between the physical environment and the animals of the land and sea. We can tell you about their behavior and the places they use at each season of the year; about their numbers and cycles in the population.

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Teeth

The age of marine mammals can be determined from their teeth.

Inuit Tapirisat of Canada

© Inuit Tapirisat of Canada


microscope

Blending our knowledge with western science.

Courtesy of Makivik Research Center.

© Makivik Research Center


Too often in the past, our extensive knowledge of the behavior of all species found on our lands was ignored by non-Inuit researchers, planners, developers, and other decision makers. At first, researchers trained in Western science did not consider our knowledge of the land and resources to be of value.

Over the last few years, however, this has changed, and our traditional knowledge has become highly respected as a valuable source of information that can be used to conserve and manage the lands and resources of our homeland. Programs are now being set up to use this traditional knowledge and help scientists see the environment through our eyes.

Fortunately, repeated contacts between aboriginal hunters and some scientists convinced the latter that Inuit experience of the northern environment is an invaluable source of knowledge about the area’s biology. It is also a source of information about the respect that must be shown to animals in hunting and fishing in order to prevent mismanagement.
Too often in the past, our extensive knowledge of the behavior of all species found on our lands was ignored by non-Inuit researchers, planners, developers, and other decision makers. At first, researchers trained in Western science did not consider our knowledge of the land and resources to be of value.

Over the last few years, however, this has changed, and our traditional knowledge has become highly respected as a valuable source of information that can be used to conserve and manage the lands and resources of our homeland. Programs are now being set up to use this traditional knowledge and help scientists see the environment through our eyes.

Fortunately, repeated contacts between aboriginal hunters and some scientists convinced the latter that Inuit experience of the northern environment is an invaluable source of knowledge about the area’s biology. It is also a source of information about the respect that must be shown to animals in hunting and fishing in order to prevent mismanagement.

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Researchers

Makivik Research Center.

Photo by S. Gorup.

© S. Gorup


boat

Fisheries Research Board of Canada.

Photo by M. Dunbar.

© M. Dunbar


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Describe how Inuit have integrated their traditional culture with modern management practices
  • Define traditional knowledge
  • Express an opinion of why resource management is important to Inuit

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