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Module 2 - Inuit Culture in Qikiqtaaluk
Transcript of Module 2 - Inuit Culture in Qikiqtaaluk
Strengths, Values and Traditions
Qikiqtaaluk Cultural Competency
Module 2: Inuit Culture in Qikiqtaaluk
Many years after the relocations to the Qikiqtaaluk settlements, communities are trying to maintain their connection to traditional values and Inuit culture.
Culture and Way of Life
Hunting, trapping, fishing and gathering are a part of every day life and remain important to Inuit identity.
“Country food” from these activities are still a regular dietary component.
singing and dance including throat singing and ayaya singing are favourite
Another Inuit tradition that has stood the test of time is passing on knowledge and history by oral storytelling.
Many stories around spirituality impart respect for nature and the spirits of nature, and a symbiotic relationship between Inuit and the living things around them.
Qikiqtaaluk communities are often extremely tight knit. Inuit rely on one another to make it through long, dark winters
Strength of family ties and sense of community belonging are linked to Inuit mental health and well-being year around
Often very little privacy in these communities in terms of personal or confidential information
Decision-making is often done by family consensus
Inuit custom adoption is viewed differently than in the rest of Canada and the composition of Inuit families is often distinctive
An Inuit family and community are integral to how they see and understand themselves:
Health and Wellbeing
The Qikiqtaaluk Inuit hold a holistic view of health and wellness of the individual.
Strong community ties
Steady family support
Connection to the land
There are some very serious mental and physical health issues with a strong hold on the Qikiqtaaluk communities.
Health in Qikiqtaaluk
Since shift to settlement life, Inuit rely less on country food, and more on imported food from the south - has resulted in far spread malnutrition and great good insecurity .
Alcohol, drugs and gambling
Prevalent physical and mental health issues in many
68% of Inuit in the
region are daily smokers.
Suicide rate among 19 to 24 year old men in the region is 50 times higher than the national average
These health issues and others will be further explored and expanded upon in the third module of this package on Health and Health Care in the Qikiqtaaluk region.
Facial expressions are important to Inuit: to say "yes" an Inuk raises his or her eyebrows, and to say "no", he or she wrinkles their nose.
Many children in the Qikiqtaaluk communities speak both in English and in Inuktitut, the Inuit language.
Other sentiments are not expressed at all. No direct words for "hello" however it is commonly expressed today.
A lack of understanding around cultural differences can result in negative consequences at the patient, practitioner or intervention level. Physicians who are aware of these differences are better equipped to provide competent health services.
To provide culturally competent health services for an Inuk patient, it is important for Southern Canadian physicians to have a degree of understanding of Inuit culture.
When treating a young Inuk patient in their home community...
Ensure patients options are fully explained
Understand patients history including biological family
Ensure that family are included in the
Ensure patients confidentiality
When treating a young Inuk patient in Iqaluit or in Ottawa...
Inuit patients are very far from home and from their family and community supports
Inuit patients in southern Canada are far
from anything familiar
Family and Community
Source: YouTube User: Iliminaq
Relationship with both ‘natural mother’ and adoptive mother
Stay tuned for Module 3: The Health Care System in Qikiqtaaluk
A prominent issue in the North for many years, and reason for Inuit's earliest experiences with southern medical system
Poor dental care, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), Ear infections
Make sure your patient is not agreeing to a treatment plan because they think they have to but because all options have been explained
Ensure young patients’ important family members have the information required to make informed treatment decisions
Make sure you ask your patient or their family about his or her
family medical histories
Be sensitive to the fact that your patient will likely be homesick
Patients may be overwhelmed by the sights and sounds surrounding them - the city, the hospital, etc.
In the Qikiqtaaluk region "custom adoption" is practiced
Families are often composed of a mix of adoptive and natural children and parents, which are all considered “family”
Inuit also rely heavily on non-verbal communication.
Encourage youth patients to speak with these family members, so they will be more comfortable with their decision
Physicians should ensure patients understand the paramountcy of doctor - patient confidentiality
Adoption, if done by custom may not be on their chart or in their records
They may make treatment decisions based on what they believe will allow them return to their community more quickly
Have Inuit artwork, books, CDs available to them to help them to feel more comfortable
Learn some very basic phrases in Inuktitut.
A special thank you to OHSNI, Jeanie Kalluk and Ida Davidee for your guidance and support.
Voice recording: Ida Davidee
Background music: "Owl Song" by Nukariik
Due to the distance between Qikiqtaaluk towns, Inuktitut is spoken in many different dialects across the region.
Please press play to begin or
follow the arrows below:
Custom adoption is usually practiced when parents want their children to grow up in their community
Physicians should be sensitive to the fact that an Inuk patient has traveled an extraordinary distance
Inuit people maintain their traditional language of Inuktitut and preserve their connection to the land
Inuit people value working together and retaining family connections
Traditional "country food" is valuable to their culture, diet and Inuit identity
*These statistics are compiled based on Statistics Canada 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey –Education and Employment.
“The modules do a good job of highlighting important aspects of Inuit culture that will be helpful for physicians to know when treating Inuit patients. It also… inform[s] the work health care providers do. The modules are culturally appropriate and provide relevant information about Inuit history and culture.”
Tuttarviit Member Endorsement
Government of Nunavut
Inuit values, traditions and their way of life
This module also addresses some of the concerns Inuit may experience, such as fatigue from long travel times, home sickness, and adjusting to the cultural change from being in a large urban setting, among others
“Funding for this (program, document) is provided (in part) by Health Canada. The opinions expressed (in this publication, on this web site, etc) are those of the authors/researchers and do not necessarily reflect the official views of Health Canada.”
“Cette publication (ce programme, ce document) a été rendu(e) possible avec le financement (la contribution financière) de Santé Canada. Les opinions exprimées (sur ce site internet, dans ce rapport, etc) sont celles de l'auteur et ne représentent pas nécessairement celles de Santé Canada.”
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Thank you Dr. Radha Jetty for all your knowledge and continuous encouragement throughout the development of this project.
Dr. Radha Jetty
Physician Lead for Inuit Child Health, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO)
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
University of Ottawa
There are many reasons why families practice custom adoption