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Mamisaijjusituqait: Advice and Healing Practices

Alaasi Joamie
« Elders today including myself, think that lice help to control and remove illness from our bodies. People always got fresh blood when the lice sucked out the old blood from our bodies. We elders like to think that lice remove illnesses.” (Page 200)
“In the past, people had a very healthy diet. The food they ate prevented them from getting sick. Eating plants that came from the land and not from the store also helped to keep people healthy. They would search for plants and for seaweed on the beach. They had a very healthy diet. They would eat a whole seal including the intestines.” (Pages 200-201)
Mamisaijjusituqait: Advice and Healing Practices
The Inuit language consists of many words which are applicable to different categories of illnesses. Since the body is related to its environment, the sick body, like a barometer, was used to predict the oncoming temperature. According to tradition, depression is an illness of the spirit. To heal from it, one must speak, relativize, be positive, or read the Bible.

In the past, the Inuit had an understanding very different from the Western concept of contagion and hygiene. For instance, for the Inuit, lice refresh the blood by sucking it and keeping it healthy. For lack of soap they would use urine, since it was a very good stain remover. Clay taken from the seashore or eider duck eggs or the innards of certain fish also cleaned clothes very well. Hair was washed with seal blood which, once rinsed, left it clean and silky.

A woman who took good care of herself was said to become a good housewife and a good mother, and her children wore amulets in order to be strong and run fast. Prenuptial sexual relations were not advisable and very often the spouses only met on the day of their union.

In addition to descriptions of remedies for certain illnesses, this chapter discusses how to react to drowning, to a sleepwalker or to someone experiencing a paralysing dream.