Oral History & Traditional Knowledge

In all of its programs, the Kitikmeot Heritage Society tries to facilitate oral history and traditional knowledge transfer between generations.

Oral History

Oral history is the telling of old stories by people who experienced their events at some point in their lifetime. Oral history be formal research, or take place in causal conversations on an every day basis. Because the type of knowledge contained in oral accounts is often not already stored in books, we have created programs to make sure that these stories carry on from generation to generation. These include digital storytelling programs, documentary video and interview sessions with Kitikmeot elders. We recognize that recording these stories does not ensure that they will remain preserved as part of the community. We stress programs that train Inuit youth to work firsthand with elders to build the necessary relationships, respect and interest for the Inuit past to ensure the continuity of these stories.

Traditional Knowledge and Inuit Qaujimajtuqangit

The Kitikmeot Heritage Society recognizes that many forms of knowledge exist in the Canadian Arctic. Our organization privileges the recording of traditional knowledge that is contained in, and practiced by Inuinnait communities. This knowledge is often referred to as Inuit Qaujimajtuqnagit. We understand traditional knowledge to be a way of knowing the world that anchors knowledge in selfhood, family, community, social values, and the land. We do not see traditional knowledge as being opposite to western science, but we understand that it provides a much-needed counterpoint to research that try to envision subjects or knowledge as existing independently of the surrounding world. According to definitions of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit as a ‘living technology,’ we see traditional knowledge as something that is not static or that belongs to the past, but something that is constantly in a process of adapting to the changing challenges and conditions of the modern world.

The Kitikmeot Heritage Society sees good research as research that begins with conversations between multiple voices and perspectives.