Council on Anthropology and Education
Oral Presentation Session
Knowing the land, the wind, the skies, ice, and seas has always been a cornerstone of Inuit knowledge. As is knowing the location and behaviour of wildlife throughout the year. This knowledge is imparted upon children at a young age and is refined throughout one’s life. Education happens on the land through everyday experiences and when stories are shared of lives lived and times immemorial.
In the late 1990s, as the new territory of Nunavut was being established, work was undertaken to mobilize this knowledge and the values, practices, and beliefs associated with it through the elaboration of the concept of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ). One aspect of governance in which IQ is intended to have great importance is wildlife co-management. Yet, how IQ influences wildlife management is continuously negotiated and realized.
Drawing on interviews with several generations of Inuit about how they have learned and passed on knowledge of wildlife and the land, I present how Inuit approaches to education and knowing inform local and regional wildlife organizations in the Kivalliq region of Nunavut in their work to present IQ at wildlife management meetings and hearings with hopes that it will affect decision-making. In some regards, regulatory forums like management meetings that result in law-making decisions play an institutional role in legitimizing or delegitimizing Inuit knowledge, as IQ is considered alongside scientific knowledge. The implications of this and its impact on community forms of knowledge validation are also considered in this presentation.