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Becoming Inummarik

by Peter Collings

What does it mean to become a man in the Arctic today? Becoming Inummarik focuses on the lives of the first generation of men born and raised primarily in permanent settlements. Forced to balance the difficulties of schooling, jobs, and money that are a part of village life with the conflicting demands of older generations and subsistence hunting, these men struggle to chart their life course and become inummariit - genuine people. Peter Collings presents an accessible, intelligent, humorous, and sensitive account of Inuit men who are no longer youths, but not yet elders. Based on over twenty years of research conducted in Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories, Becoming Inummarik is a profound and nuanced look at contemporary Inuit life that shows not just what Inuit men do, but who they are. Collings recounts experiences from his immersion in the daily lives of Ulukhaktok's men - from hunting and sharing meals to playing cards and grocery shopping - to demonstrate how seemingly mundane activities provide revelations about complex issues such as social relationships, status, and maturity. He also reflects on the ethics of immersive anthropological research, the difficulties of balancing professional and personal relationships with informants, and the nature of knowledge in Inuit culture. Becoming Inummarik shows that while Inuit born into a modern society see themselves as different from their parents' generation, their adherence to traditional ideas about life ensures that they remain fully Inuit even as their community has witnessed drastic upheaval.

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