Before I started this blog assignment, I knew close to nothing about the Inuit. I knew they ate lots of meat, they lived in the coldest regions of North America and on some other lands, and I called them Eskimos. Aside from that, I didn’t know anything about their culture.
When I was asked to discover two articles related to the Inuit, one of the articles I had come across was written by who I presume to be the executive editors of the newspaper. The article covered many different regions, as it was titled as an update on Canadian societal controversies, but there was a large section writing about how the Inuit were in a tough battle between the government of Quebec about the repossession of Native land for modern construction of dams, roads, etc. This surprised me because whenever I had thought of the regions where the Inuit would inhabit, I pictures large oceans, frozen lakes, hardly passable terrain – basically nothing that would be potentially modernized/utilized by a government. That was my single story, but then here I was being presented an example that resonated strongly with United States natives, a strong and current example being the Dakota Pipeline controversy. I don’t know why I was not conscious of the correlation, but it became obvious after reading.
From what I can conclude from my research, the effect of tourism has been relatively harmless. Multiple articles I read spoke about the majority of Inuit people abandoning the culture’s heritage due to the recognition that modernization made life easier, and prospected a better life for many people. But after the arrival of tourists who wanted to know more about the Inuit culture while demonstrating critical cultural relativism, many of the Inuit people embarked on a rediscovery of their own culture, which is now celebrated through festivals and demonstrations for curious tourists. There were some obvious ethnocentric ideologies, but almost entirely based on their traditional diet of seal, and on the government sanctioned allowance for Inuit to hunt polar bears.
The research I conducted was as ethnographic as it possibly could be without actually being immersed in the Inuit culture. This research has deepened my knowledge on others but showing me that you cannot make either conclusions, or even determinations about a group of people without some degree of research on the group themselves. Before researching the Inuit, as I described, I had absolutely no idea about the substance of the culture. Having researched them now, I realize how important the evolution of ethnography really was, protecting the groups of people who cannot speak for themselves from inaccuracy and biased opinions of others.
Conclusively, without the digital research available to us for this project, there is no possible way this could have ever been completed. That isn’t to sat technology is flawless, but more that it is a double-edged sword; in order to reap the benefits, you must be aware of the negatives and possibility of inaccuracy or untrue information.