detail came from people with most experience on the land"
should record and locate traditional place names in Inuktitut because
they hold a wealth of information about the environment, culture
anthropologist from the United States is helping the hamlet of Cape
Dorset document this place-name information, with funding from Nunavut's
department of culture, language, elders and youth, the Inuit Heritage
Foundation and the National Science Foundation.
month, Anne Henshaw of the Coastal Studies Centre at Bowdoin College
in Brunswick, Maine, will meet residents, municipal officials and
students in Cape Dorset to discuss place names she recorded in the
community with the assistance of residents Aksatungua Ashoona, Pootoogook
Eli and Akalayuk Qavavau.
richest detail came from people with the most experience on the
land," Henshaw said in a telephone interview before her expected
arrival in Cape Dorset on Dec. 8.
Inuktitut language, she said, is the repository of generations of
experience. The names reveal information about ice, animal migrations
and snowfields. She said the place names helped Inuit deal with
changes in climate and remain safe when travelling on the land.
names around Cape Dorset that are connected to how people see the
a place that resembles a women carrying a baby in an amautiq.
the islands resemble walruses swimming as a group.
a place that resembles a husky dog (the fur and the gray and
a place that resembles a walrus flipper, lots of seals and walrus
during sea ice break up.
a place where animals appear to be bouncing off the water.
names showing environmental knowledge are:
a lake that doesn't freeze all the way to the bottom.
a small bay for bowhead whale.
a seagull nesting area, for fledgling birds.
a place of harbor seals, nesting area for eider ducks.
an inlet that doesn't freeze in winter, where currents are very
strong, with flowing water.
some names that show history are:
place names doesn't require more than willing collectors and a map,
not rocket science, but it does take some science," she said.
science comes in when traditional place names are matched, one by
one, with Global Positioning System locations on a digitized map.
CDs showing an exact map location and photo of each place would
be the next step in this project, so the names could be used in
schools to pass on the knowledge to the next generation.
knowledge of place names could also lead to more culturally informed
climate change policies, Henshaw said, because there would be a
richer official record of the land's role in peoples' lives.