“They Taste like Tuurngait”: Wolves and How Nunavut Elders See Them

Frédéric Laugrand

Abstract

Among the Inuit of the eastern Arctic, where hunting remains one of the foundations of society, humans have long cohabited with the wolf (amaruq). It holds a special place among animals known to the Inuit and is closely associated with the bear, the dog, and especially the wolverine. The wolf no longer arouses fear. It is merely distrusted, due to its characteristics. It is perceived as a large predator that competes directly with humans, and it is still strongly associated with the world of spirits, who can take on its form to attack humans. Thus, although the wolf no longer occupies an important place in shamanism, it still harbors spirits that humans prefer to avoid meeting. Inuit elders preserve many stories about wolves.

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