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Qallunaat! Why White People Are Funny

This documentary pokes fun at the ways in which Inuit people have been treated as “exotic” documentary subjects by turning the lens onto the strange behaviours of Qallunaat (the Inuit word for white people). The term refers less to skin colour than to a certain state of mind: Qallunaat greet each other with inane salutations, repress natural bodily functions, complain about being cold, and want to dominate the world. Their odd dating habits, unsuccessful attempts at Arctic exploration, overbearing bureaucrats and police, and obsession with owning property are curious indeed. A collaboration between filmmaker Mark Sandiford and Inuit writer and satirist Zebedee Nungak, Qallunaat! brings the documentary form to an unexpected place in which oppression, history, and comedy collide.
Qallunaat! Why White People Are Funny
posted by Rumple on Jan 30, 2014 - 40 comments

String Theory

In 1906, Caroline Furness Jayne wrote String Figures And How To Make Them - A Study Of Cat's Cradle In Many Lands [Google Books], probably the best-known study of string figures and string games. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 20, 2014 - 15 comments

Polar Bear Threat on "Ice".. Giving "Chills" To Environmentalist. Puns also deemed healthy

We all know Polar Bears are at risk, right?
"Not so fast!" says a new study completed by the Government of Nunavut on the populations on the Western Coast of Hudson Bay. The populations are actually increasing in number.

This is something that has long been argued by Inuit who live in the area. (video) Inuit are chaulking this up as a win for Inuit Traditional Knowledge. The numbers are said to be confounding doomsayers. [more inside]
posted by dogbusonline on Apr 5, 2012 - 73 comments

Broken Promises

High Arctic Relocation. In the 1950s several Inuit families were relocated from the relatively balmy Inukjuak, in northern Quebec, to settlements in what are now called Grise Fiord and Resolute in the far north of Canada with few resources to survive the extremely harsh climate. [more inside]
posted by dabug on Sep 9, 2011 - 24 comments

Simon Tookome, artist and whipper

"I'm proud of being recognized as an artist, but I really want to be known as someone with a special talent for the whip." Simon Tookoome, who passed away last year, was justly celebrated as an artist in his lifetime. You can view 39 of his pieces in The Canadian Art Database (including my favorite of his, the sculpture Shaman Wolf). But whipping was closer to his heart, and in his prime may have been the world's greatest whipper. Sadly, I could find no video of him from before 2000 on the internet, but here he is at 72. You can read a description of him at his peak in this condescending Time article about the 1972 Arctic Winter Games. And you can watch a few more Simon Tookoome videos here.
posted by Kattullus on Apr 2, 2011 - 10 comments

They shot dogs, didn't they?

In the 50's and 60's, more than a thousand sled dogs were slaughtered by RCMP officers and provincial police, some of them killed in ad hoc gas chambers. A recent report from retired Quebec judge Jean-Jacques Croteau states that Ottawa and Quebec should apologize and compensate the affected communities for 'turning a blind eye' to the slaughter. You can hear Makivik President, Pita Aatami talking about it on CBC's As It Happens
posted by Bartonius on Mar 25, 2010 - 9 comments

A New York Minik

Minik Wallace (ca. 1890 – October 29, 1918) was an Inuit who was brought to the United States of America from Greenland along with five other Inuit in 1897 by explorer Robert Peary. Orphaned in America around age six when his father died from tuberculosis, Minik was raised for a time by William Wallace, who worked for the American Museum of Natural History, and who was complicit in arranging for the bones of Minik's father to be displayed there with the label "Polar Eskimo." It would be more than a decade before he would again see his native Greenland [more inside]
posted by Pater Aletheias on Dec 18, 2009 - 11 comments

Throat sing the body electric

Throat singing is popular in Tuva and Siberia, but other people try it too. Like this guy or this guy or grace guy or some guy in a lake. You too can learn to throat sing. [more inside]
posted by twoleftfeet on Aug 31, 2009 - 21 comments

The Things You Learn From Pop Culture

No doubt many of you, like me, have recently seen The Simpsons Movie. I left wondering two things: why the movie was so terrible, and what in blazes is Inuit throat singing. The internet, to my pleasure and edification, was able to answer half of my questions.
posted by sy on Aug 6, 2007 - 83 comments

see it while it lasts

The Spirit Wrestler Gallery in Vancouver has an extensive online gallery featuring Artist Biographies and inspiration for many of the pieces. It focuses on First Nations art, sculpture, and jewelry from the Inuit, Northwest Coast nations, Canadian Plains nations, and the Maori. Some of these communities have a new lease on life due to the income from this market, while others are dying out and skills are being forgotten. Some favourites: Dog Team: Jobie Crow from Umiujaq, Summer Solstice: Pitaloosie Saila from Cape Dorset, Raven Releasing Salmon Transformation Mask: Tom Hunt of the Kwak-waka'wakw. (scroll sideways)
posted by heatherann on Sep 16, 2005 - 6 comments

Tales from the northern service.

Once upon a time, in the early eighties, one of the northern CBC Radio stations was vacated due to a strike. Vacated, except for one Inuit janitor and his friends...
posted by myopicman on May 3, 2005 - 14 comments

same time, different channel

Sometimes it's hard for me to conceive that other contemporaneous people on this planet lead lives so dramatically different from my own. What if this or this or this constituted your daily commute? Or if this or this were among the challenges you faced in your daily job? The native people and arctic wildlife galleries offer a glimpse of the past preserved. More wonders at Bryan & Cherry Alexander Photography.
posted by madamjujujive on Mar 5, 2005 - 14 comments

The most renowned knife in Alaska

Ulus have been around for thousands of years. Originally created by Inuit craftsmen as a practical cutting tool, the ulu has evolved and is still in use today as a handy implement in the kitchen. But two ulus in a shoebox doesn't get you far. (Real Player video)
posted by debralee on Mar 4, 2005 - 8 comments

The Inuits didn't think it wasn't eco-friendly, so there nyah :-P

One of the truly indigenous American artforms is scrimshaw. The Inuits made some fascinating pieces, as did whalers more than 200 years ago. Today's scrimshanders are more sensitive to the materials used (either from extinct species--such as the mastodon!--or synthetic materials), and the artform is still going strong, perhaps even gaining in popularity in these modern times. I find it fascinating, intricate artwork, and history.
posted by WolfDaddy on Oct 13, 2004 - 3 comments

polar husky

An Educational Exploration of Nunavut. "Setting out to document arctic climate change we will dogsled the territory of Nunavut, meeting Inuit Elders and students, to explore traditional ecological knowledge in the remote communities visited along the trail while gathering scientific data daily from the field for NASA and Environment Canada." - a cool expedition to bring some attention to what many are describing as the greatest threat to mankind today.
posted by specialk420 on Nov 25, 2003 - 8 comments

Maybe you're travelling to Nunavut, maybe you've just seen Atanarjuat, but for whatever reason, you're keen to learn some Inuktitut. Where to begin? Take a course if one is available in your area. Listen to some words and phrases. But unless you're heading to a region (PDF map) where the Inuinnaqtun dialect is spoken (it uses the Roman alphabet), you're going to need to use Inuktitut's syllabics. Download some fonts (another source, and another) -- you'll need them for many sites, including this Inuktitut language reader. Or try out this handy converter. Finally, the Living Dictionary is the definitive reference to this language.
posted by mcwetboy on Nov 5, 2002 - 9 comments

Atanarjuat, The Fast Runner

Atanarjuat, The Fast Runner is a spectacular Canadian film offering a rare glimpse into a rich aboriginal culture. It is written and produced by an independent Inuit film company and cast entirely with native actors from Igloolik, a settlement of about 1200 people in the Baffin region where it was filmed. Visually stunning, the story is based on local legend, with elements of stark realism, shamanism, suspense, humor and love. It's no surprise that it's raking in awards. I was spellbound. Can anyone recommend any other films by and about native cultures?
posted by madamjujujive on Sep 22, 2002 - 34 comments

Japan leads move to cut whaling by Artic natives

Japan leads move to cut whaling by Artic natives [nytimes, reg. req.]. After being defeated in recent I.W.C. votes Japan wins one.
posted by rdr on May 25, 2002 - 11 comments

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