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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Learning the land : an intergenerational study of Inuit knowing Greene, Ezra Anton


This dissertation explores ways in which knowledge of and relationships with the land have been transmitted, generated, and elaborated by multiple generations of Inuit in the Kivalliq region of Nunavut. The land, here, entails the physical landscapes of ground, water, and ice as well as the living environment of plants, people, and animals including metaphysical beings. Based on anthropological research with Inuit living in Rankin Inlet and Chesterfield Inlet, located on the western shores of the Hudson Bay, I describe how Elders and adults in these communities have learned and passed on knowledge of the land from generation to generation. My methods include interviews, mapping people’s lived experiences, and participant observation of life in communities and on the land. Throughout this dissertation, I draw on theories of education and upbringing elaborated by Inuit. These include inunnguiniq (the making of a human being) and Mariano Aupilarjuk’s interconnected triad of inuusiqattiarniq (personhood), inuuqatigiingniq (peoplehood), and niqiqainnarniq (livelihood) discussed in the Qaggiq Model. I also situate ways of learning within the historic contexts that have impacted relationships with and understandings of the land. Attention is given to how current generations of adults, many of whom have grown up entirely in permanent settlements since the 1950s, interact with the land and fellow Inuit, maintaining relationships to the land, kin, community, and other beings while gaining and passing on knowledge. Challenges in learning the land are also discussed. Before and after the creation of the Nunavut Territory in 1999, Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit has been discussed as a concept related to how Inuit experience, knowledge, values, and worldview should guide and influence governance and resource management in the territory. I extend my analysis of how Inuit learn and pass on knowledge of the land to examine how Inuit involved in local and regional wildlife management organizations share knowledge engendered from lived experiences and shared community interactions. I assert that Inuit ways of knowing must be understood and supported by governments and resource management systems to encourage the inclusion of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit in governance in the territory.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International