Jeevan Toor, Tagaaq Evaluardjuk-Palmer, & Josée Lavoie

This study draws upon material relating to communities in Inuit Nunangat to explore the impact of the historical environment (i.e. colonialism) on Inuit qanuinngitsiarutiksait (good health and wellbeing) in the context of climate change, through lenses of anthropology, geography and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (Inuit knowledge). The negative impact of colonialism on Inuit social and cultural fabric, resulting in diminished and intergenerational knowledge transmission has made it harder to adapt to climatic changes, with resulting impacts exacerbated by existing socioeconomic inequities. Climate change affects qanuinngitsiarutiksait causing poorer mental health, food and water insecurity, rise in diseases and respiratory illness and icerelated accidents. Adaptations to impacts of climate change are discussed, centring Inuit voices and initiatives, and a move from deficit to strength-based research. The Canadian government’s approach to this topic is explored, with recommendations from an Inuit perspective. It is argued that for maintenance of qanuinngitsiarutiksait, a holistic approach to health is required where Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit is considered in collaboration with Inuit. While finding ways to adapt to current climatic realities are notable endeavours, the aim should not be to accept the worsening of the climate, but rather to commit to mitigate, and where possible, reverse the effects of anthropogenic climate change in the Arctic. This work seeks to provide a novel contribution through basis in Inuit concepts, ‘historical environment’ and the synergy of the theoretical approaches of anthropology and geography.

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