Productive truth: On the importance of oral accuracy in Inuit culture - Jaypeetee Arnakak, Louis-Jacques Dorais & Alana Johns
4:45 PM, Friday 4 Oct 2019 (1 hour)
Sherbrooke Pavilion (SH) - Amphitheatre (SH-2800)
In recent years, the value Inuit place on oral history has come to the forefront of broader Canadian culture, in particular with the discovery of the Franklin shipwreck sites, which were located with the help of Inuit from Uqsuqtuuq. In this paper we explore a discussion surrounding the role of individual oral accuracy within Inuit society. We address a number of questions. Is there a place for fiction as a literary genre fit into a society where oral accuracy is held in such high regard? Should educators consider this issue if introducing fiction into the
curriculum? What is the role of a traditional story that has been repeated and modified more or less naturally by other story-tellers, each adapting it to their present environmental, social and philosophical conditions? For example, the Kiviuq story allows contextual interpretation. How does the nature of truth manifest itself in Inuit language use? The root for truth is suli- which denotes the idea of producing something. Moreover, since a sulijuq person is one who tries to be right to the best of his/her knowledge (by saying something productive), oral accuracy does not aim for absolute truth but a relation of perspective, so that other perspectives may exist.