Inunnguiniq is the Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit process used to socialize, educate and prepare a child for life. The purpose of inunnguiniq is to make capable, confident and competent human beings, able to successfully thrive in the harsh Arctic environment and to adapt and innovate to meet the challenges of a changing and demanding lifestyle. The process is detailed and very carefully laid out to ensure that competent people were “made”.
Inunnguiniq starts with childrearing, but it continues throughout life. We cannot make a capable human being all at once. Inunnguiniq is a process that Inuit committed to pursuing with each child across his/her lifetime. It is important to regard Inunnguiniq from a holistic big picture view and to consider the many aspects of building a capable human being that are required to be addressed over this long period of personal development.
NCCIH Factsheet: Inunnguiniq, Caring For
Children the Inuit Way, Tagalik, 2010 ;
Illustration of Lifelong Learning by Project Participant
Inunnguiniq is making a human being who will be able to help others with a good heart. Someone with a good heart and mind will always be aware of his/her surroundings. S/he will be quick to think and be able to look at the brighter side of different situations. This person is always ready to help. This is called inuttiavak. A person who never really pays much attention to the teaching of his parents and Elders, though they were taught, would not learn much. Little things will make him/her upset. They won’t care if the tension inside of them spills out on everyone around them. Even if the parents did their best to help him/her that will have very little effect on that person. We call this inuttiavaungituq (a person with bad attitude). This kind of person would be considered as potentially harmful.
But if you are creating inunnguiniq (a human being), one has to work on it with consistency, even the ones who are living right now still have to be created as human beings. This is not something that Inuit should lose. If you are persistent in working with people, they can become able people. They can be bright and helpful, can follow instructions given to them, as long as they are treated well and taught. They can be taught how to perform important tasks. They can make sure their anger is not easily aroused by being given concrete understanding and by being encouraged to succeed. They understand and other people are not afraid of them because they are known to be able to work well. When you look at those who have no desire to obey other people, they have been brought up not to respect anything, not really loved enough to be trained, just growing up in any old way, and just following anything they see. These are things we need to think carefully about. Anyone can be raised in this way, but they will never have a good life.