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Saqiyuk - Stories from the lives of three Inuit Women by Nancy Wachowich

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Discerning the author's view about the western influence on the Inuit culture.
  3. The change in the situation at the end of Apphia's life.
  4. New values and norms.
  5. Inuit people: The development of the state.
  6. Conclusion.
  7. Bibliography.

Saqiyuq is a collection of stories from the lives of three Inuit women: Apphia, Rhoda and Sandra. It consists of biographies and accounts from these three generations. This book enables the reader to see the great evolution of the Inuit lifestyle during the twentieth century. The author, Nancy Wachowich, is an anthropologist. In this book, she uses the lives of three Inuit women to illustrate her research concerning arctic anthropology. This research was ordered by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. She went in person to the Baffin Bay in order to meet these women and collect their accounts. Indeed, the reader can be the witness of the dramatic (and definitive?) changes which occurred, in only sixty years, in this region. Apphia, the grandmother, was used to a traditional Inuit way of life and she is the narrator during the main part of the book. She lived almost exactly like her ancestors did; she had eleven children, traveled by foot or with dog team in the land, was sewing caribou skin or cooking seal meat while the husband she did not choose was hunting. But little by little, everything changed.

[...] We can understand the degree of isolation of the Inuit peoples when we realize that the Second World War is never mentioned in Saqiyuq. At that time, they were not concerned by the Great Depression. They have their semi-nomadic way of life and their only concern is hunting in order to eat and have warm clothes. They do not know about the first progresses that occurred in Canada. In fact, it is difficult to know even if these people can be considered _or considered themselves_ as Canadians. [...]


[...] Apphia tells that she was always scared as a child and as a young adult (page 28: were always on guard?). Now Inuit people have the possibility to live in warm houses, they are not always obliged to hunt if they want to eat and they can also buy warm clothes and not make them anymore. Of course, this appreciation is engrained in Western thought but globally, these indicators are sources of comfort. At that time, Inuit people also benefited from the development of the state, thanks to the Keynesian doctrine. [...]


[...] More than that, the lives of the three women (and the main lines we can deduce from them) are also representative of all Natives lives. They have all knew the same kind of evolution, with its advantages and its limits. They have known the same changes and disruptions due to the arrival of white colonists; their lifestyles were modified because the means used were the same everywhere: settlement, education, language . And that enables us to understand how all that led to what is now known as the ?Native problem?. [...]

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