My apologia regarding IQ

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

I just wanted to clarify a point that I don’t think came through very well in my last letter regarding the use of the term Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit.

I should say, first off, that I believe in most of what the Nunavut Employees Union is fighting for, and I support their struggle.

But I have grave concerns about using IQ in the way it is so loosely used by all parties. When legal terms are defined, when mathematical terms are defined, the consequences of these definitions are real and affect the whole system in ways that are unpredictable.

To use an example, let’s examine IQ Days logically and realistically. Let us consider a representative work force, and see how IQ days would affect the system.

On a beautiful day, I, as an Inuk employee, would have the power to decide if I wanted the day off. Multiply my personal and individual decision by 65 per cent of the GN workforce, and we’d shut down the government on a beautiful day. Who would be looking after the essential services? Think of the lost productivity of a system intended to serve our communities.

The way in which Mitch Taylor has personally and professionally used the term in the past (all in public record), and how he’s presented his views on management of a highly politicized resource is even worst because of its subtlety.

The Guided Harvest Rate is a hypothetical che says IQ-derived v number. I don’t see how a mathematical algorithm would capture cultural values (as espoused by our Inuit notions of IQ) when the very foundations of mathematics are supposedly value-free.

The polar bear memorandum of understanding is a legally-binding government document that is politically and morally unjust in the eyes of the Inuit for many reasons. The consequences of a government defining IQ in this way is also international in scope for hunter-gatherer societies.

Inuit, in my view, should be super-critical of the usage of IQ no matter where it occurs. Most of the work that I do in the field of IQ is to seek out what the term means philosophically, practically and culturally. I believe that intellectual (even scientific) rigour should be our guiding principle in the discourse of integrating culture and community values into the governance of our lives.

The way the above two examples have done it, in my personal view, has been in reverse, whereby Inuit culture is made to fit arbitrarily an organization or specialist thinking.

Jay Arnakak
Iqaluit

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