INUIT OF QUEBEC
Inuit of Quebec are among the native residents of the American continent who inhibited the northern part of the Nunavik Peninsula. These people had a rich and diverse traditional culture which was distinguished by their unique ways of dressing, foods, clothing and community life.
However, with time, due to civilization and the power of the Canadian government, their rich culture has been eroded over time. This article presents an overview of the culture of Quebec Inuit people and how it has changed over time.
Description of Inuit of Quebec culture
Economic activities; the main economic activity of the Quebec Inuit people is was hunting. It is through hunting that they were able to meet their basic needs. The Quebec Inuit people hunted both land and sea animal for food, clothing, tools and ornaments. The animals hunted included polar bear (nanuk), arctic hare, walrus, and caribous. The sea animals that were hunted included seals, walruses, beluga whales, and narwhals. These people also hunted down some arctic birds.
In addition to the sea animals, land animals, and birds, the Inuit people collected plant roots, buds, leaves and berries. Another economic activity that was albeit on a very minimal level was trading. These people visited other regions to trade in tools and skin/hides.
Food: meat was the major food eaten by the Inuit people. Meat was got from the animals, fish and birds that the people hunted. The Inuit people prepared their delicacies in different ways which included boiling, frying, smoking and roasting. The cooking method depended on a number of factors such as season, availability of animals, and taste and preference of the consumer.
Social structure; family and community was highly valued among the Inuit people. This is
evidenced by the fact that most hunting and gathering was done in groups. Additionally, the value of families and communities can be seen in community celebrations that were held by these people once in a while. Social classes existed among Quebec Inuit people. It is mentioned in the case study that there were families of good hunters had the luxury of chaning clothes yearly while poor families would wear clothes made of inferior materials.
Technology; initially, the technology of Quebec Inuit was not very advanced. They used basic tools a such bows, arrows and spears to carry out their activities of hunting. These tools made from bones, sticks and pieces of wood. Moreover, these people used kayaks and dog sleds for travelling and transportation. Later on, due to the influence of civilization, these people began adopting more advanced technologies for tools and transportation.
Clothing; according to the case study, clothing was the most important element of Inuit people’s technology. Clothes, which included pants, parkas and boots, were made their clothes from animal and fish skins. It is imperative to note that different clothes were made for different seasons and the different classes of people.
Religion and medicine; Quebec Inuit people believed in presence of supernatural beings that controlled their universe and their fate. They believed that most natural phenomenon like aspects of weather were controlled by spirits. Moreover, among them they had people called Shamans who were believed to have the special spirit of healing and curing injuries as well as ailments like nutritional deficiencies and pulmonary problems.
How the culture is typical of the people how it differs from peoples in the region
The culture of the Quebec Inuit is typical and largely influenced by the environment in which they reside. Clothing as an aspect of their culture is highly influenced by the weather conditions.
Most times of the year, the region is very cold. As such they have to wear clothes that are made of fun that would protect them from the cold harsh weather. In situations where the clothes are not thick enough to keep them warm, they wear multiple layers of clothes. Their diet which is largely composed of meat is due to the poor weather condition of that does not support growing of crops. Additionally, they do not keep domestic animals due to abundance and availability of wild animals, birds and fish which they can easily hunt.
Contemporary status of the culture of Quebec Inuit people
The establishment of government initiated, forced contact with the civilized population of Canada, there have been drastic changes in the culture of the Quebec Inuit people. The forced relocation of some Quebec Inuit people to Resolute Bay and Grise Fjord contributed significantly to the erosion of their culture. In addition to forced relocation, the Canadian government forced children of Inuit of Quebec decent to go to school and gradually English became the major language spoken by these people but the language of Inuit is still spoken.
Modern technologies such as modern sleds and modern bows and arrows slowly replaced the kayaks, umiaks and dog-sleds. The Quebec Inuit people also began abusing alcohol and other hard drugs and this has contributed to the erosion of their traditional culture.
The culture of the Quebec Inuit people was very rich and diverse. However, as is the case with other traditional cultures of various people and communities all over the world, increasing civilization continues to threaten the existence of their traditional culture.