Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit and Wellness

A. "Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit: The Role of Indigenous Knowledge in Supporting Wellness in Inuit Communities in Nunavut" (pdf) does the following:

  • Introduces Inuit epistemology
  • Surveys the "relevance of Indigenous knowledge and personal wellness"
  • Outlines "the impact of using Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit as a foundation for health and wellness policy and programs"
  • Lists some of the "challenges and key issues"

B. Some Definitions and Contexts

1. "Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) is the term used to define Inuit epistemology or the Indigenous knowledge of the Inuit."

  • "The term translates directly as 'that which Inuit have always known to be true.'"
  • IQ "is recognized to be a unified system of beliefs and knowledge characteristic of the Inuit culture."

2. Maligait, of The Four Big Laws

"All cultural beliefs and values are associated with the implementation of these malagait, ultimately contributing to 'living a good life,' which is described as the purpose of being":

  • "[W]orking for the common good"
  • "[R]especting all living things"
  • "[M]aintaining harmony and balance"
  • "[C]ontinually planning and preparing for the future"

3. Guiding Principles

"These six guiding principle form the basis of an interlocking conceptual philosophy for IQ, but also inherent in each is a process for developing the principle in an individual and in society"

  • "Pijitsirniq (or the concept of serving)"
  • "Aajiiqatigiingniq (or the concept of consensus decision-making)"
  • "Pilimmaksarniq (or the concept of skills and knowledge acquisition)"
  • "Piliriqatgiingniq (or the concept of collaborative relationships or working together for a common purpose)"
  • "Avatimik Kamattiarniq (or the concept of environmental stewardship)"
  • "Qanuqtuurunnarniq (or the concept of being resourceful to solve problems)"

These processes are implemented through socialization (inunnguiniq) and contribute to establishing the foundation for becoming an able human being."

4. Other Core Concepts Introduced

  • Knowledge Continuum -- "knowledge embedded in process," "iqqaqqaukkaringniq (deep thinking that leads to innovation)," and "the process of inunnguiniq -- making a human being" 
  • Time Continuum -- "Qaujimajatuqangit ... is ... properly defined as the Inuit ways, past, present and future," a "conceptually iterative approach of past informing present and future"
  • Relationship Continuum -- "The Inuit way of being is built on the relationships between these areas of the individual's life [mind, body and spirit] and the rest of the human and natural world," "respect for the value and place of every other living thing and our mutual interdependence with our past, present and future environments," stewardship, naming practices, cycles of life, belonging, and collective identity

"Inuit Elders describe these three continuums as existing in relationship to IQ much like the white of an egg cushions and nourishes the yolk."

  • "Inuit worldview must be considered within the contexts of these three continuums."