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John Tyman's
INUIT ~ People of the Arctic
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Part 6: Traditional Values
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89. Hunting partners in winter. 
In a hostile climate the selfish person dies young. 
So in the Arctic almost everything is shared, including work and its fruits. 
People join together in many activities, and communal ties 
are strengthened thereby. (For e.g. see Clothing frame 45)
90. Sharing seal with neighbour.
Food, too, is shared. 
This man had a job in town 
(as an announcer and disk jockey on the radio) 
and was not able to hunt..

91. Widow taking share of seal liver.
The liver is highly prized, being rich in vitamins,
but that, too, is shared with those in need.


92. Visitor pouring herself a cup of tea.
As in the deserts of North Africa and the Middle East,
hospitality was a sacred duty. 
Life in town today is less dangerous than
the old nomadic lifestyle but a kettle is still kept hot on the stove
(and usually a snack in the 'frig) 
and anyone can pop in at any time and rest a while. 
They don't even have to talk if they don't want to..

93. Friends help piece together a jigsaw puzzle. 
After Christmas it is also common 
for people to share their gifts with others.


94. Old woman engaged in conversation at community gathering. 
Though many changes are underway here,
for the Inuit are great at adapting to new situations, 
they retain some of the values which set them apart 
from the majority in North America 
(in addition to their non-competetive spirit referred to previously.) 
One such value is their respect for older members of the community. 
Where life is hard anyone who lives a long time 
must know a trick or two!
In the old days the older members of the community 
were regularly consulted on life and death issues:
and even today they are accorded much respect as well as affection..

95. Grandmother, mother and child on ATV (all terrain vehicle).
There are a few senior citizens' homes in the Arctic now, 
but most old people still live within extended families.
96. New baby on display at meeting of Hunters and Trappers.
And at the opposite extreme children are always much in demand. 
There are no unwanted kids here: no woman likes to be without a child,
and they will adopt babies even late in life..

97. Child in amaut.
Because children are carried around on their mother's back 
for two years at least, there is usually a close bond between the two.
98. Older sibling minding baby.
It is a role in which
girls are apprenticed from an early age..

99. Four-year old greets his step-brother.
And "rubbing noses" (so commonly equated by outsiders with kissing)
is -- at least in the Central Arctic today --
a way of showing affection to babies rather than adults. 
You touch faces, making contact and sharing some of your warmth.
100. Child with pet in hood.
Children can even practice parenting with pets --
though till recently dogs were not even allowed inside the house. 
Clearly much has changed!.


I. Environment:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
II. Food Sources: 
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
III: Clothing/Shelter:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
IV. Family: 
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
V. Community:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

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Text, photos and recordings by John Tyman
Intended for Educational Use Only.
Copyright Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford University, 2010.
Contact Dr. John Tyman for more information regarding licensing.

Photo processing, Web page layout, and formatting by
William Hillman | www.hillmanweb.com
Assistant Professor ~ Faculty of Education ~ Brandon University ~ Brandon, Manitoba ~ Canada