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SciQ: A new approach to ethical research in the North – Canadian Geographic

by ahnationtalk on February 16, 202374 Views

Feb 15, 2023

Inuit see the value of Western science when it is done in collaboration with communities. How can we shift current practices to a more respectful model?

The history of Qallunaat (non-Inuit peoples) on Inuit Nunangat, or Inuit homelands, is a tale that leans towards extractive at best and acutely violent at worst. As with most interactions between Indigenous Peoples in what is now called Canada and eager explorers, settlers, and colonists, the relationship between Inuit and Qallunaat began from a place of altruism. Europeans turned up in the North woefully unprepared, lacking thousands of years of carefully honed skills and knowledge about how to not only survive, but thrive in the Arctic. Inuit are exemplary engineers, naturalists, scientists, nutritionists, hunters, knowledge mobilizers, artists, and healers. Unlike Qallunaat who colonized Canada, they did not need to “master” their territories; instead of shaping the environment to suit them, they lived in harmony with the tundra and the sea with the utmost respect and a bottomless depth of understanding of non-human processes and kin. Inuit have tread so softly that Qallunaat still refer to vast swaths of northern land as “pristine” and “untouched” – untouched, perhaps, by Qallunaat, but Inuit have been lovingly and tenderly caring for the land and the sea that has in turn cared for them for millennia.

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