Currently reading : Tunniit: Retracing the Lines of Inuit Tattoos

Tunniit: Retracing the Lines of Inuit Tattoos

16 September 2013

Author : jamiejelinski

Click here to watch an interview conducted by CBC’s 8th Fire with Inuit filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril about her 2011 documentary Tunnit: Retracing the Lines of Inuit Tattoos, which examines the lost practice of tattooing amongst Inuit women in Northern Canada.

As Arnaquq-Baril says:

“Tunniit is an intensely personal film. It is about my journey to learn about traditional Inuit women’s face tattoos before getting tattooed myself. However, I think (I hope) it also speaks to a universal desire to feel part of a community. A sense of identity is a necessary foundation for life that is often taken for granted by those who have never had their identity challenged or attacked.

This story takes place in the context of modern Inuit communities that are utterly confused by the staggering cultural changes wrought by the Canadian government, the Christian Church, and the reality of present day globalization. Today, evangelical Christianity is a shockingly strong force in arctic Inuit communities, causing tension around discussing anything that remotely touches on the old spiritual beliefs. The Inuit that attended residential schools, the generation that had their culture beaten out of them, and had their mouths washed out with soap when they spoke their native language – these people are hurting and confused. In some cases, the mere mention of traditional tattoos is enough to send a person into a spitting rage.”

For more information on the film see Unikkaat Studios’s website here.

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