|Winter 2013||Mon. 8:30-10:00, Thur. 10:00-11:30||KINGST 204||31|
Although Nunavut is Canada’s newest territory different groups have occupied the land of what is now arctic Canada for at least 4000 years: the Arctic Small Tool people (ASTt), the Dorsets (Tunit), the Thule and the present day Inuit. This course is an overview of the history and culture of the Inuit with particular emphasis on their language, Inuktitut, both written and spoken. The following headings provide a focus for the course: Origins in Myth and Stone, Poetry and Song, Early European Contact, Beginnings of Trade, Whalers, Traders, Missionaries, Writing Systems, Government, the Creation of Nunavut and Contemporary Political and Cultural Themes.
Inuktitut refers to the language of Inuit but its broader meaning is “in the manner of Inuit” and with this in mind we will consider Inuit responses to non-Inuit from the first recorded contact with each other over 400 years ago. This will allow us to view the struggle of contemporary Canadian Inuit for self-determination through the creation of Nunavut as part of a long term process. The preservation of the language, Inuktitut, is one very tangible sign of that determination.
This is not a linguistics course. The main language goal is to familiar students with some Inuktitut vocabulary and basic structures with which they will be able to carry on limited conversation. We will also learn the written form approved by Inuit Tapariit Kanatami, known as the Standard Dual Orthography (syllabic and roman) which is widely used by Inuit in Nunavut and Nunavik. Each lesson will follow a familiar pattern: introduce vocabulary, explain grammar, practice short dialogues, transliterate from syllabic to roman and vice versa and address any questions. The emphasis though serious will not be solemn and we will endeavor to have fun learning Inuktitut.
Each class will begin with a video or reading on a topic related to Inuit culture or history (see schedule for details) which should generate general discussion. This will be followed by presentation of the language lesson itself. We will follow the Inuktitut programme tusaalanga.ca which is available at no cost on the web. Students are encouraged to prepare for class by going on line to become familiar with the vocabulary and to listen to the dialogues.
There will be three short tests during the course and one essay due at the end. The tests, worth 10% each, will be related to the language component while the essay, worth 70%, may be on any aspect of Inuit history, language or culture which is approved by the instructor.
There is no single text for this course. Readings will be selected from a variety of sources and will be provided by the instructor. The bibliography below is intended to provide guidance for those students who wish to broaden their knowledge of Inuit culture, language and history. Students may find those texts marked with an asterisk particularly informative.