Home Living Above & Beyond Does the future of Inuit tradition lie in modern technology?

Does the future of Inuit tradition lie in modern technology?

Trisha Ogina accesses iglu images on her iPad while in an iglu, as part of a KHS traditional learning program. © Brendan Griebel

Inuit sources for cultural knowledge are rapidly changing. The loss of Elders with first-hand experience of traditional lifeways and the breakdown of oral and intergenerational strategies for knowledge transmission are challenging efforts to revitalize language, skills and culture across Nunavut. At the same time, however, Internet use in Nunavut is on the rise. The popularity of social networks such as Facebook and YouTube in Nunavut indicates that Inuit are eager to maintain and evolve traditional practices of peer-to-peer knowledge exchange through new media platforms. The mass movement towards digital technology presents an opportunity for online networks to play a new role in the communication and maintenance of traditional Inuit knowledge.

This October, the Kitikmeot Heritage Society (KHS) will bring together Inuit representatives, academic researchers and software specialists at the annual Inuit Studies Conference in Newfoundland to consider new directions in the use of digital technology for the preservation and promotion of Inuit culture. Discussions will explore how the merger of ‘digital’ and ‘traditional’ has impacted the ways that Inuit cultural knowledge is learned, stored, and communicated throughout the Arctic. Most importantly, the session will address how the virtual world can be shaped and improved by aligning more closely with traditional Inuit strategies for both sharing and using their knowledge.

Stay tuned for the Kitikmeot Heritage Society’s 2017 release of a new publication based on the results of this meeting.