Inuit traditional knowledge was originally passed on orally from one generation to the next. This knowledge comes from direct experiences with the land and its wildlife. Since the 1950s, Inuit life has changed drastically and some of this information is being lost. In order to prevent this loss of valuable understanding, both Inuit groups and southern researchers are now working on projects to collect and write down traditional knowledge so that it can be preserved for the future, even if some of the hunting practices that originated it are gone.
The field of Inuit traditional knowledge research started slowly, but has been growing steadily since the early 1990s. The references listed here provide an idea of where to start on a search for more information. Within the near future, much more information will likely become available, as TK projects develop momentum and become more widespread across the Arctic.
Igloolik Oral History Project
A great deal of the information in our Traditional Knowledge section comes from the Igloolik Oral History Project (IOHP), a collection of over 400 interviews held with Inuit elders from Igloolik. This collection represents an immense fund of knowledge and wisdom about all aspects of Inuit life, from family relationships to seal hunts. References to IOHP files are given in the text by a number, which is the identification number of that particular interview. Information about accessing IOHP material can be obtained from the Igloolik Research Centre, Nunavut Territory, Canada.
Other major sources
Nunavut Wildlife Management Board. 2000. Final Report of the Inuit Bowhead Knowledge Study. Nunavut: NWMB.
Nunavut Wildlife Management Board. 1998. A Study of Inuit Knowledge of the Southeast Baffin Beluga: Final Report. Prepared by Peter Kilabuk, for the Southeast Baffin Beluga Management Committee.
Canadian Arctic Resources Committee, Environmental Committee of Municipality of Sanikiluaq. 1997. Voices From the Bay: Traditional Ecological Knowledge of Inuit and Cree in the Hudson Bay Bioregion. Compiled by McDonald M, Arragutainaq L, Novalinga Z. Ottawa: CARC.
Macdonald J. 1998. The Arctic Sky. Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum.
Ministry of Education , Culture and Employment of the NWT. 1996. The Curriculum From the Inuit Perspective. Kindergarten to Grade 12. Yellowknife: Ministry of Education.
Oosten J, Laugrand F, eds. 1999. Interviewing Inuit Elders. Vol. 1: Introduction. Iqaluit: Nunavut Arctic College.
Oosten J, Laugrand F, Rasing W, eds. 2000. Interviewing Inuit Elders. Vol. 2: Perspectives on Traditional Law. Iqaluit: Nunavut Arctic College.
Randa V. 1994. Inuillu uumajuillu: Les animaux dans les savoirs, les representations et la langue des Iglulingmiut (Arctique oriental canadien) [DPhil thesis]. Paris: Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales.
Seidelman H, Turner J. 1993. The Inuit Imagination. Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre.