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Chapter 10

Emile Imaruittuq

Yes, storytelling was used to prevent mishaps. For example, in Amitturmiut we have always hunted on moving ice. We go down to the floe edge and hunt walrus on the moving ice in the winter. All the stories are useful because this knowledge about what we should do while hunting is being passed on, and through that one gets to understand the dangers. (Page 180)
Unikkaat and Unikkaaqtuat
Unikkaat are stories of recent origin. Unikkaaqtuat are stories passed from
generation to generation. The stories convey ideas and values
embedded in Inuit culture.

Susan Enuaraq states in her essay, “The use
of unikkaat, unikkaaqtuat and pisiit, songs, has continued from the past to the
present day and will continue into the future.” In Inuit culture, we find a vast
treasure of stories. Stories are told and retold as they are transmitted from one
generation to the other. Some of them are very old, but they never remain
completely the same as they are always adapted to a particular context.

The elders usually commented on the stories and were quite willing to expound
their meaning. With respect to the famous Kaugjagjuk story, Imaruittuq
explains, “I think the meaning of that story is that you have to love orphans at
all times. People were being shown that you cannot abuse an orphan and treat
them terribly. You have to treat everyone respectfully.” With respect to the
stories, Susan Enuaraq states in her essay, “Some argue that the Inuit had no
legal system, but I think that the Inuit had their own ways of preventing
wrong-doings. Unikkaaqtuat were part of that”. As Imaruittuq said, “They
made each one of us think, made us think hard.”