Online project built on stories of Inuit history, traditions

InuitPower founders hope to bring traditional stories to a new medium

InuitPower shares stories of Inuit historical creatures and characters in Greenlandic folklore that its creators felt had been forgotten over the years. (Image courtesy of InuitPower)

By Meral Jamal

A new project aims to bring Inuit stories to the metaverse.

Founded by Greenland-based Mona Koch Madsen and Sweden’s Maxim Aljijakly, InuitPower is creating 70 three-dimensional Inuit characters that reflect histories and stories about traditions and rituals, religion, and death and the afterlife.

An example of the InuitPower NFT characters is the Fell Walker. Known as a “Qivittoq,” it represents a person who has left the community in shame, guilt or jealousy. (Image courtesy of InuitPower)

They’re NFTs, or non-fungible tokens — in layman’s terms, a digital collectible. Similar to action figures, but virtual.

The idea for InuitPower started as a book project, said Madsen, who was born and raised in Nuuk.

As a writer, she wanted to share stories from Inuit historical creatures and characters in Greenlandic folklore that she felt had been forgotten over the years.

“Some [characters] are very known in stories, like the mother of the sea, but for a lot of them — there’s not really a story for those characters,” Madsen said.

“So I started to dig into them and try to find their stories.”

Aljijakly, who Madsen knows from her time studying for her master’s degree in Stockholm years ago, suggested they share these characters and their stories digitally.

That’s how with a team of five artists, storytellers and managers, they launched InuitPower in December 2021.

One of the main goals of InuitPower is to create characters that care for the environment and for each other.

One character is the Fell Walker. Known as a “Qivittoq,” it represents a person who has left the community in shame, guilt or jealousy.

The Fell Walker leaves everything behind him because he has nothing more to lose and spends the rest of his life in nature. But while often thought as a scary, he teaches people to be respectful of the environment.

For example, three friends are on a hunt and one of them kills a doe, leaving behind a young fawn to fend for itself. Except, the fawn transforms into the Fell Walker instead, making the three friends fearful of the consequences of their actions.

For Madsen and Aljijakly, the Fell Walker’s story teaches “this world to prevent overhunting, prevent people from misusing the animals.”

Each character the InuitPower team creates also has a trauma that they have turned into a superpower instead.

Aljijakly said this is based on the journey of Fabien Bolin, creator of the War on Cancer app and co-founder of War on Cancer, who harnessed the energy within to help in his recovery from leukemia.

By creating characters that use their trauma as a superpower, Aljijakly said the InuitPower team hopes people learn to “have the ability or more energy to focus on climate change as well.”

“Because if you have a lot of pain, then that is what you’re going to think about, and you don’t have any energy to think of the climate issue that we’re facing.”

The InuitPower team is in the final stages of launching its NFTs. An exact mint date, which is when they will be available for purchase, is yet to be confirmed.

With a tentative date of December this year, however, they hope those who purchase InuitPower NFTs “do not forget the reality we’re living and the climate challenges we’re facing,” said Aljijakly.

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(5) Comments:

  1. Posted by Nunavut Inuit on

    Inuit in Nunavut have long used storytelling as a way to build connection, share experiences and child rearing, this seems really cool for the story telling part but to make “Inuit inspired stories” into private NFT for purchase online in a space that Inuit don’t always have access to, seems not very Inuk at all. I guess even that is for sale. Money money money, NFT is the new online art galleries of the south.

    • Posted by Nonplayable Character on

      Most people, Inuit or not, don’t understand what NFT’s are. Among possible descriptions we could say it is art made for sale. Okay, so what’s wrong with that? Specifically, what is not ‘Inuk’ about it? Does every possible way of generating an income have to pass a historical litmus test? Can Inuit never move forward, evolve, progress? Must they be stuck forever in a cultural museum, while the world changes and becomes less recognizable before us.

      • Posted by Nunavut Inuit on

        Not sure if you have checked out their website but even the female character in the photo included above is topless with a feather headdress. They say that “Inuit stories are lost and they are revitalizing Inuit stories” when the last I checked Inuit are alive and still passing on stories. We are not a fantasy characters living in a fantasy world. We still exist!

        “Each Inuit comes with a story to tell!
        Get your own NFT” Inuit are people, and something about a Danish lady selling “Inuit” just doesn’t sit right.

    • Posted by Nivi on

      Looking at their website it doesnt seem to be an artselling platform. Seems to be a community that wants to fight climate change?!

  2. Posted by Jason Zackowski on

    Inuit culture is fascinating. They have a rich history and unique traditions that are worth exploring. this project seems to have beautiful artwork and expanding this nature with its stories to the digital world amazes me. shout out to the creators.


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