Spousal abuse is not the Inuit way
When I write for the newspaper I try to think the Inuit way and deliver my ideas in the Inuit tradition so that they can be understood.
I am writing about ningaqtailiniq (avoiding violence) in defense of both men and women. I am direct in my letters because my Nattilingmiutiut, Aivilingmiut and some Amitturmiut dialects are direct.
When I was a young boy and I was getting education from my father, education as a future husband and how to be a good husband, he used to tell me never to “ningaq” (beat) my wife. He said that wife beaters were laughed at. That was a punishment, he said, for the wife-beaters. He would then say, “I have never touched your mother.”
During my term as Commissioner of Nunavut, the premier asked me if there was anything I would like to include in the Throne Speech. I included “Inuuqatigiittiarniq,” because that was the unwritten customary law that allowed Inuit to survive the 10,000 years, survive by helping each other. Another important concept is tapiriingniq (teaming up) with one another. Inuuqatigiittiarniq and tapiriingniq are something that we can practice by being good neighbors and working as a team.
Where both men and women practice ningaqtailiniq, tapirringniq and inuuqatigiittiarniq, it is a huge responsibility. It takes a lot of thinking but if both partners are committed, violence can be avoided. The point is, we Inuit have always practiced Inuusittiaqarniq (leading a good prosperous life.)
These important words can ring like a bell, throughout Nunavut. By having both men and women working together to solve our problems of alcohol and drugs, we can bring the ways of our ancestors into our present life. We must use the wisdom and knowledge of the elders and integrate it into our daily life.
Remember, as Inuit, we were always told to avoid confrontations, as these tactics are not helpful. Is it important to you to work together? Let’s do it for our children and grandchildren.