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Photo Inuit woman trimming seal oil lamp taken during Eastern Arctic Patrol


Advice for Women

Marie Tulimaaq
If the woman’s parents and the man’s parents talked together, because they are older and wiser than us, they knew if the man is suitable. They knew their son and their daughter and knew the prospective in-laws of their children. The woman would be told, “If you are a nice person they will like you more.” The man would also be talked to by his parents. That is how they cooperated. Back then, a man would have a wife, and a woman would have a husband when the inlaws agreed to it. If the parents gave their approval, then she became his wife. (Page 66)
Advice for Women,  Marie Tulimaaq

Today, Inuit women feel strongly about controversial issues such as rape and arranged marriages. Did rape occur in the past and if so how was it dealt with? How did women cope with arranged marriages? Imaruittuq pointed out in the preceding chapter that rape was better than bestiality. That answer will not satisfy many young Inuit women. To discuss these sensitive issues an ‘all female' session was arranged and Marie Tulimaaq was questioned by the female students on rules for women. She describes how her marriage was first arranged. "Not knowing about how men were, not having had sexual intercourse, getting married and having a husband, were overwhelming for me." But she remains firmly convinced that the arranged marriages of the past were better than the modern forms of marriage, "I think it was better when couples had pre-arranged marriages and got together and stayed together. It is not like that anymore." Tulimaaq did not feel a victim of her culture and when asked about the power of women she answers: "They used to say, ‘You are just a woman.' Even though women were very useful. They were the ones that created ties between families and the ones that kept everyone clean and well dressed. Maybe they thought there were too many women. As for me, I am a woman."