Home > A journey into Inuit Traditional Knowledge > Perspectives on Traditional Law > Chapter 11

Assuituq National Park, near Broughton Island.

Caribou in the Koroc River Valley, Torngat Mountains.

 

Chapter 11

Quotation:
Emile Imaruittuq

There are three types of traditional songs; pisiit, or qilaujjarusiit, which are pisiit sung with a drum; and iviutiit, which were songs used to embarrass people, to make fun of them, to make fun of their weaknesses. They created songs to make fun of others. There are also sakausiit, songs used by angakkuit. Those are the three different types of songs that I know. (Page 202)
Presentation:
Pisiit, Songs 

The pisiit express feelings. In Inuit culture, there has always been a tradition that thoughts and feelings of anger or regret should be expressed so they do not turn against oneself or others. Songs were a means to do this. Thus, Kappianaq expressed his sorrow about the murder of his brother in a song. That may have helped him to refrain from revenge when the opportunity presented itself. Imaruittuq turned out to be a passionate singer and everybody enjoyed his songs during the course. He collects traditional songs in his songbook. According to Imaruittuq, "There are three types of traditional songs, pisiit, or qilaujjarusiit, which are pisiit sung with a drum, and iviutiit, which were used to embarrass people, to make fun of them, to make fun of their weaknesses. They created songs to make fun of others. There are also sakausiit, songs used by angakkuit." This chapter deals, predominantly, with the first category. They constitute a living tradition, as singers adapted songs that appealed to them. Imaruittuq states, "Ikiaqtaaq means, it's another person's song I am using but I am creating my own words." The tradition is kept alive, and it is always dynamic.