Inuit Culture - The Family

 

INUIT CULTURE - THE FAMILY Grade Level

This lesson plan is designed to be used with students ages 12-15.

Objective

Students will learn about the characteristics of the traditional Inuit family and how these characteristics relate to Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ), or the Inuit way of doing things. Students will read selections from Isuma Inuit Studies Reader, "Saqiyuq: Stories from the Lives of Three Inuit Women," and will write 10 questions about their assigned selection. Students will then trade selections and questions.

Estimated Time Needed

1 ½ - 2 class periods (over two days)

Material DOWNLOAD THE COMPLETE LESSON PLAN (WITH MATERIALS) IN PDF. [GET ADOBE READER®]

Isuma Inuit Studies Reader, "Saqiyuq – Stories from the Lives of Three Inuit Women": pages 184-188, pages 188-193, pages 197-200, pages 203-207, pages 207-213

Activity
  1. Ask students to take out a scrap of paper. On it, have them write their definition of "family."
  2. Have volunteers share their definitions. Write on the board or overhead projector. Discuss the differences and similarities among the definitions shared.
  3. Write Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) on the board. Remind students that IQ refers to the Inuit way of doing things. "IQ embraces all aspects of traditional Inuit culture including values, worldview, language, social organization, knowledge, life skills, perceptions and expectations" (Nunavut Social Development Council, 1999).
  4. Explain that family is at the center of Inuit culture. Write "qatangutigiit" on the board. Qatangutigiit is the Inuktitut word describing immediate or close family relations, including parents, children, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles and cousins. The outer family is "ilagiit," which often overlaps with the qatanguitigiit.
  5. Explain that cooperation and sharing are basic principles in Inuit society. When animals are killed on the hunt, they are shared, when people are in need, they are looked after. Reiterate that one of the principles of IQ is stressing the importance of the group over the individual.
  6. Ask students to reflect on their own families. How do cooperation and sharing play a role in their lives? Have students share examples.
  7. Ask students to share any experiences they have with adoption. This will allow the opportunity to open up about personal experiences if students choose to do so, or share the experience of someone they know.
  8. Explain that in Inuit society, adoption is done much differently. The Inuktitut word for adoption means "the one we took" or "my adopted," describing the practice from the perspective of the adoptive parent choosing and wanting the child. Inuit do not use words such as "give up" or "give away" to describe adoption. There is no stigma attached to being adopted. Rather, it is open and flexible, and a child knows his or her birth parents and family members, visiting with them if in the same community. How does this differ from traditional adoption?
  9. Explain that "Qallunaat" is the Inuktitut word for southerners and/or white people. Beginning in 1955, Igloolik children were sent to catholic residential schools to learn the "Qallunaat way." (Apphia Agalakti Away, Isuma Inuit Studies Reader, p. 198). Many families wanted their children to remain in the camps and be raised the Inuit way, however they were forced to send their children away to school. "The teachers told my husband that if Solomon didn’t go to school, they would cut off the family allowance that we were getting for him. My husband said that was okay, and that is what the government did." (Apphia Agalakti Away, Isuma Inuit Studies Reader, p.200).
  10. Break students into partners or small groups. Assign each pair one of the following selections from Isuma Inuit Studies Reader, "Saqiyuq – Stories from the Lives of Three Inuit Women": pages 184-188, pages 188-193, pages 197-200, pages 203-207, pages 207-213.
  11. After reading selection, students are to write ten questions which refer to their assigned selection. A separate sheet should have the answers.
Evaluation

Allow students time to read selection and write out ten questions. Once students are finished, have pairs switch with each other. Each pair should receive a different selection and set of questions. Once the new selection is read and questions answered, they should be returned to the original pair to be corrected.

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