May 23, 2022

Project Surname

When Euro-Canadian Systems Clash with Complex Inuit Culture

Before the arrival of Europeans, the Inuit had a complex naming tradition that reflected their culture, environment, animals, family and spirits. In the 1940's the Canadian Government ignored them and gave everyone numbered disks. By the late 60's they thought it might be better to let the people choose a surname. So they sent the scholar Abe Okpik to help them choose and record. We explore this far from perfect solution and the amazing life of Abe Okpik.

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