Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Names and Nunavut: Culture and Identity in the Inuit Homeland

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Names and Nunavut: Culture and Identity in the Inuit Homeland

Article excerpt

Valerie Alia, Names and Nunavut: Culture and Identity in the Inuit Homeland (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2007) 172pp. Cased. £35. ISBN 1-84545-165-1.

Embedded within this nuanced and extraordinarily well-researched account of the political onomastics (the politics of naming) involved with Inuit (colonial) history are an abundance of theoretical, ethical and political insights into both the complex nature of the Inuit and their evolving engagement with Qallunaat (non-Inuit, Euro-Canadian), as well as the complex nature of engaging in such research. This publication, refreshing in its focus on extensive local community research, delves into the complicated dynamics between colonial administration and its effects on the culture and identity of the Inuit. While this very deep and personal exploration of the history and effects of Project Surname (an effort to implement Qallunaat naming systems among Inuit people) provides a remarkably intimate account of the Inuit culture and history, it also succeeds in providing an insightful commentary on the continuing complexities of cultural interrelation in a postcolonial era.

The astute insight of this publication can be attributed to the reflexive and personal engagement the author has with the sensitive ethical politics of representation. Indeed, as researcher and author of this publication she establishes her research ethics clearly in the preface. The author negotiates a position between respect for the people who are at the very heart of her research and her academic insights. …

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