Activités et diffusion

110th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association. (Nov. 15-20th, Montréal, Québec)



Inuit Oral History: Traditional Knowledge and Storytelling As Tools For Cultural Tourism Development

(Session: Inuit memories and archaeological reconstructions: contemporary reifications of the Inuit past, organized by S. Desjardins, M-P Gadoua, S. Hazell)

Daniel Gendron

Cultural Tourism is the act of promoting one's heritage, customs, and language to achieve touristic objectives. It is one aspect of modern Inuit society that is currently considered a means to ensure the transmission of traditional knowledge to non-community members in the effort to encourage visitors, tourists, eco-tourists, and scientists to the North. In this context, cultural tourism can be many things, and can address different traditional themes and issues. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that foremost it can be used as a tool for a community to develop interest in its own past. Without local or indigenous interest in its heritage, how can a community hope to attract outsiders, and present their culture with pride? This paper stems from an archaeological research project currently underway by Avataq Cultural Institute in partnership with the Kangirsujuaq Landholding Cooperation. A significant aspect of this research program is to develop a cultural tourism package that will eventually be presented to attract visitors locally and regionally. However, the most important goal of the project is to develop a framework that will address the core principle: tourism should first be aimed at the local Inuit communities so they can learn how and what to share with outsiders about their heritage, customs, and language. This reification of their culture in the present can have an important impact on self-determination, identity, and socio-economic development.

Retracing the Past At Richmond Gulf, Nunavik: Ethnohistory and Autobiography with Willie Kumarluk

(Session: Inuit memories and archaeological reconstructions: contemporary reifications of the Inuit past, organized by S. Desjardins, M-P Gadoua, S. Hazell)

Pierre M. Desrosiers

I will present an archaeological fieldwork which included the documentation of the last hunter-gatherer Inuit of south-eastern Hudson Bay, in the area of Richmond Gulf. Through the childhood memories of Willie Kumarluk, we examine Inuit lives at the end of the 1950's, just before Inuit were relocated to Kuujjuarapik. Willie, returned to Richmond Gulf area as an adult in 1986 when the village Umiujaq was created. In 2004, Willie and I visited many of his camping sites and the local trading post. We recorded different place names and their meaning, as well as documenting the range of activities that were performed at the different camps. Willie explained to us the rationale behind camp organization and the significance of their locations. The last occupied camp site, just prior to relocation, attest to dramatic events that took place there when people had to leave behind most of their goods, including their boats and dog teams. Willie also described local Inuit experiences with Euro-Canadian traders and missionaries. These interpretations are based on his memories, experiences with, and understanding of the archaeological remains we documented. Willie also recounted Kuujjuarapik daily life and customs and the reasons why he and many others decided to move back to the area when Umiujaq was created. This is an example of how contemporary examination of personal memories related to places and past events, such as the forced sedentarisation, can help us make sense of important events in Inuit history that are meaningful in the present.

Remembering and Recreating Pasts with Ethnographic Collections. Inuit Memories and Material Selves in an Urban Museum.

(Session: Inuit memories and archaeological reconstructions: contemporary reifications of the Inuit past, organized by S. Desjardins, M-P Gadoua, S. Hazell)

Marie-Pierre Gadoua, McGill University

This presentation explores the ways in which Inuit individuals remember, narrate and re-construct their past, through interaction with ancient ethnographic collections. My research is based on workshops organized at the McCord Museum of Canadian History (Montreal), in which I ask Inuit Elders to share their knowledge, memories and stories about ancient Inuit objects that come from various regions of the North American Arctic, and date from the pre-contact (Thule) period to the mid 20th century. In the workshops, the objects provoke the emergence and sharing of personal recollections and narratives that relate both to the individual and communal aspects of memories and the self. In my analysis, I focus on these interactions and interdependence between the personal, collective and material aspects of remembering and self-construction. The objects stimulate the recollection and re-enactment of past experiences, through the participants' sensory perceptions and manipulation of the objects, and the narratives that follow. These interactions between mind, senses, body, objects and words also disclose the intersections between personal experiences/memories/ narratives and the identification with a wider Inuit community and shared ancestry. The participants in these workshops are Nunavimmiut individuals from northern communities residing temporarily in Montreal for medical treatments. Therefore, I also address the influence of these sessions on the well-being of the participants, studying the impacts of remembering one's life, narrating and sharing it with peers, and reconnecting with the material traces of one's community and ancestors, in the context of a medical sojourn in a foreign and unfamiliar environment.

Arviq! Bowhead whale hunting in Hudson Strait, Arctic Canada

(Session: Inuit memories and archaeological reconstructions: contemporary reifications of the Inuit past, organized by S. Desjardins, M-P Gadoua, S. Hazell)

Susan Lofthouse and Robert Fréchette, Avataq Cultural Institute

Hunting large whales played an important role in the development of Inuit culture over 1000 years ago in northern Alaska. While the centrality of whale hunting has fluctuated over time and varied across different regions of the Arctic, the ability to hunt large whales (particularly bowhead whales) has always separated Inuit from earlier Arctic peoples. This expertise in whale hunting was still apparent when Scottish and American whalers reached the eastern Canadian Arctic in the early 19th century. Once the whalers discovered the commercial application of Inuit hunting knowledge, they soon involved Inuit in their pursuits. Commercial whaling peaked in the late 19th century. Its productivity then began to decline as the whale stocks became increasingly depleted. The industry was abandoned in the early 20th century, by which point the bowhead whale populations had suffered a massive reduction from which they still have not recovered. Bowhead whale hunting is now heavily regulated. In the rare occurrence that such an event takes place in the Canadian Arctic, it serves as an important reification of Inuit heritage. It draws a marked line that connects Inuit today with their past. In 2008 a bowhead whale hunt was undertaken near the hamlet of Kangiqsujuaq in Nunavik (Arctic Québec). This paper will present details of this hunt, which is the subject of a new publication from Avataq Cultural Institute (an Inuit-owned organization serving the Inuit of Nunavik) and places it within the context of Nunavik Inuit history.



Annual meeting of CIÉRA (Centre Interuniversitaire d’Études et de Recherches Autochtones) et AÉA (Association Étudiante Autochtone de l’Université Laval), Québec

Gadoua, Marie-Pierre 2011 Réflexions sur les collections ethnographiques, Leur pouvoir mnémonique et son impact sur le soutien aux patients inuit en milieu urbain. Paper presented at the annual meeting of CIÉRA (Centre Interuniversitaire d’Études et de Recherches Autochtones) et AÉA (Association Étudiante Autochtone de l’Université Laval), Québec.



44th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Archaeological Society (May 2011, Halifax, Nova Scotia)



From the Ramah Chert Quarry Bowl to Palaeoeskimo Habitation Sites

(Session: Ramah Chert Studies, organized by J. Curtis)

Pierre M. Desrosiers

Lithic tools are the result of a series of steps starting with the collection of the raw materials and ending with the discard of tools. These chaînes opératoires start in the quarries and end at habitation sites that may be located hundreds of kilometres away. Previous studies seem to indicate that the presence of exotic lithic materials at Palaeoeskimo habitation sites results from direct acquisition (and not exchange networks). More precisely, they were everyday tools travelling with the people who used them. The chaînes opératoires related to Ramah chert, however, challenge this conception and this is the question that will be examined in this paper.

De la carrière Ramah Chert Quarry Bowl aux sites d’habitations paléoesquimaux

Les outils lithiques sont le résultat d’un ensemble d’étapes commençant par la collecte des matières premières et se terminant par l’abandon des outils. Ces chaînes opératoires, débutant dans les carrières, se terminent dans les sites d’habitation parfois localisés à des centaines de kilomètres des sources. Les études précédentes semblent indiquer que la présence de matières premières exotiques se trouvant dans les sites d’habitation paléoesquimaux résulte d’une acquisition direct (et non de réseaux d’échange). Plus précisément, les outils ont été transportés par ceux qui les ont produits. Cependant, les chaînes opératoires liées au chert de Ramah défient cette conception et cela constitue la question que nous examinons dans cette présentation.

Poster Presentation

Ancient use of Nastapoka Group Chert, Eastern Hudson Bay, Nunavik, Quebec (Winner of 1st prize in poster competition)

Marianne-Marilou Leclerc (Université de Montréal), Pierre M. Desrosiers (Avataq Cultural Institute), Adrian L. Burke (Université de Montréal), Willie Kumarluk (community of Umiujaq)

The southeast Hudson Bay Palaeoeskimo groups used mainly Nastapoka chert to make a variety of stone tools. Nastapoka chert sources extend from the most northern Nastapoka Islands to Kuujjuarapik including Umiujaq and the Richmond Gulf areas.

Two questions: Is it possible to identify the exact origin of Nastapoka chert used at habitation sites in a territory of more than 200 linear kilometres? And, did people have access to this raw material throughout the Palaeoeskimo period (3900 to 800 B.P)?

We have created a model of the marine sea level change. This shows that the majority of chert outcroppings were accessible after 1800 years B.P. Water levels at specific points in time may have made some sources easy to access by boat in summer. We also identify the component of Nastapoka chert samples collected at several outcrops including quarry sites. Samples from Tookalook quarry site (HbGd-11) from eight different locations within the vertical geologic section shows common points but also differences. In term of element detected using geochemistry three distinct geochemical groups were identify at this site.

The sea marine change model raises questions about the behaviour of people in relation with the evolution of their environment. To test those assumptions it is necessary to be able to characterize the raw material at habitation sites and compare it with outcrop sources. To undertake this future step it first had to be demonstrated that variation existed within the outcrops and that they are significant in terms of location. Preliminary analysis of the characterisation of samples originating from different areas in quarry site and different quarry sites show that this is possible.