From TEK to IQ: Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit and Inuit Cultural Ecology

George W. Wenzel

Abstract

From ethnographies of hunting to sophisticated harvesting and ecological research, human-animal interaction has been a long-standing primary focus of research on Canadian Inuit. The methodological and analytical formulations (principally from within wildlife management, ecological and economic anthropology, and evolutionary biology) that now frame much contemporary work in this area of study and influence northern conservation and management policy also all make selective use of Inuit Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). Notable by its absence, however, is information about how Inuit conceptualize human-animal relations and how this may affect their use of wildlife. The emergence of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) as a guiding principle within the Government of Nunavut raises the possibility that for the first time this cognitive element may influence wildlife management policy in the territory. This paper first examines the content of IQ and then speculates on its potential in relation to research on Inuit cultural ecology.

  • G. W. Wenzel, Department of Geography, McGill University, Montréal, Canada H3A 2K6

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