Two groups of Inuit, the Utkuhikhalik (or simply Utku) Inuit of the Central Canadian Arctic and the Qipisa Inuit of Baffin Island, are the primary communities referred to in this website. However, many of the practices and beliefs of those villages are similar to other Inuit groups.
Though they are now integrated into the cash economy, many Inuit still try to practice their traditional hunting, trapping, fishing, and trading as much as possible. Unfortunately, climate change is affecting the Inuit’s ability to utilize natural resources as they did in the past. The sharp contrast in environmental conditions in “Nanook of the North,” produced in the 1920’s, and the documentaries on climate change filmed almost a century later, are more than apparent.
The Inuit maintain their peacefulness and prevent conflicts by being modest, cautious, and reticent about their own accomplishments. When conflicts do arise, people often express their feelings with hints, and occasional bouts of anger result in the angry person simply walking away. The Inuit instill these values by emphasizing the danger in wanting something that clearly violates social law.
The Inuit are also working to preserve their culture through the production of films. For example, “The Fast Runner Trilogy,” a series of full-length Inuit films are free to view on the website of Isuma TV. This award-winning series includes: “Atanarjuat The Fast Runner,” “The Journals of Knud Rasmussen,” and “Before Tomorrow.” While they are fictional accounts, these Inuit-made films provide tremendous insights into their culture, past and present. Peaceful Societies reviewed a piece on the opening of “Before Tomorrow” on October 09, 2008.
Also available from Isuma TV is “Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change.” This powerful documentary explores the social and ecological impacts of climate change in the Artic through interviews with Inuit elders and hunters. This film was reviewed by Peaceful Societies on March 24, 2011. Additional information on the Inuit may be found in the encyclopedia and news and reviews of this website.
“On Thin Ice: Inuit way of Life Vanishing in Arctic” (25:42): In this NBC news report from Greenland, Ann Curry interviews a linguist focusing on Inuit culture and language. He explains how Inuit hunters are facing a rapidly changing way of life in the Arctic and points to the massive losses they may be facing as a result of climate change.
“Nanook of the North” (1:18:25): This 1922 silent film was considered the first feature-length documentary and was selected in 1989 to be preserved in the United States National Film Registry because of its historical and cultural significance. In the film, viewers follow Nanook, the proud Inuit, as he and his family travel, hunt, and trade their goods.