For generations, hunting and being deeply in tune with the land have been essential parts of Inuit culture in the Hudson Bay region of northernmost Canada. As the coastline changes, Inuit youth are combining next-generation tech and tools with the Indigenous wisdom of their elders to chart the evolving marine landscape — and make it safer for people navigate.
Like young people everywhere, Inuit youth today are tethered to the internet, glued to their mobile phones. “They do have more of the Western culture than they do our traditional one,” says Baker. They are adept with technology and quick to catch on to the latest gear. But to gain Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, she says, they need to reconnect to the land.
That means following the path of their ancestors to become Inuit hunters. It means learning traditional Inuktitut place names, and the place-based knowledge those names convey. It means making their own pana, or snow knife, and knowing how to use it to build a life-saving shelter in a winter storm. It means knowing the rhythms of the ecosystem like they know their family’s habits, being as familiar with the landscape as with their own skin. Above all, it means spending time with elders and hearing the stories teaching Inuit wisdom and ways.