White Lies About the Inuit / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy Used
Buy Used from BN.com
(Save 41%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 92%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (14) from $1.99   
  • New (1) from $15.00   
  • Used (13) from $1.99   
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
Seller since 2010

Feedback rating:



New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

2007 Paperback NOTE: While this is a NEW, UNSOLD book, it has been on the shelf a while and does show some signs of cover wear, especially along edges and at corners.

Ships from: Minneapolis, MN

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Sort by


The Inuit are a familiar part of Canadian identity but also exotic residing in the remote Arctic. The mix of the familiar and the exotic has resulted in the creation and perpetuation of a number of "White Lies." These are stories that have been developed over long periods of time, reproduced in classrooms, anthropology and sociology textbooks, and other media, but have been rarely challenged, contributing to misunderstandings that have ultimately, in subtle ways, diminished the stature of Inuit traditional culture.

In this lively book, designed specifically for introductory students, Steckley unpacks three "White Lies"—the myth that there are fifty-two words for snow, that there are blond, blue-eyed Inuit descended from the Vikings, and that the Inuit send off their elders to die on ice floes. Debunking these popular myths allows him to illustrate how knowledge is shaped by Western social science, particularly the anthropology of the "Other," and that it can be flawed. In the process, students learn not only about Inuit culture, but about the difference between popular and scholarly research.

Read More Show Less

What People Are Saying

Mark Nuttall
Bold, perceptive, provocative, and incisive, White Lies about the Inuit cautions us to question what we see, hear, read, talk about, and presume to be true. Steckley's book is a long overdue exploration and critique of the cultural assumptions, arrogance, ignorance, and mythologizing that has led to misreadings and misunderstandings of Inuit societies and cultures.
Nelson Graburn
White Lies about the Inuit is a remarkable textbook that teaches the critical reading of ethnography. Anthropologists, both in the past and the present, have often chosen the 'good story' over the complexities of real life. This is one book where I'm glad to see my work not cited!
Read More Show Less

Product Details

Meet the Author

John Steckley teaches Anthropology at Humber College in Toronto. He is the author of Aboriginal Voices and the Politics of Representation in Canadian Sociology Textbooks (Canadian Scholars' Press) and Words of the Huron (Wilfrid Laurier University Press).

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Imagining the Inuit

Arctic Urban Legends

Learning about the Eskimo

See You in the Movies

"In This Movie, You Will Be an Eskimo"

White Lies Not Included

The Word
Eskimo and Its Meanings

Does Eating Raw Mean Eating
People Raw?

Who Are You Calling Inuit, White Man?

Part of a Larger Picture

Chapter 2: Four Major White Figures

Franz Boas: A Paternalistic Father of Anthropology

Stefansson and Jenness: Two Polar Opposites

Farley Mowat: Subjective Non-fiction, Essential Truths, or Fxxx the Facts?


Chapter 3: Fifty-two Words for Snow

A Source of Humour: Jokes about Inuit Snow Terms

It All Began with Boas

Enter Diamond Jenness

Benjamin Whorf

Downplaying the Number of Inuit Snow Terms: An Ignored Source

The Birth of 20 Snow Terms: A Sociological Tradition Since 1968

Numbers Ending with Two: 52, 42, 32, 22

Farley Mowat Takes the Number to an Artistic High: 100

Do Inuktitut and English Differ in Terms for Snow?

English Is Good in the Snow, Too

So How Many "Words" Are There for Snow?

Seven Primary Terms for Snow

Negative Implications of the Inuit Snow Term Cliche


Chapter 4: The Myth of the Blond Eskimo

The Blond Eskimo: A Popular Figure

The Copper Inuit

First Contact

Lost Races

Stefansson Discovers the Blond Eskimo and Finds Funding

The Greenland Norse and Their Fate

The Blond Eskimo Captures the Literary Imagination

Jenness Takes Up the Challenge

The Return of the Blond Eskimo

Negative Implications of the Blond Eskimo

Chapter 5: Elders on Ice

A Popular Story: Going with the Floes

Why Shouldn't You Believe the Story?

When is Abandonment Really Abandonment?

The Deep Roots of This Myth: Beginnings as Euthanasia

Growing the Myth

Altruistic Suicide, Mores, and Cultural Relativism

Anthropologists Introduce Environmental Causality

Balikci Uses Psychology to Blame the Victim

Guemple Uses Anthropology to Blame the Victim

Colonial Contact: A Neglected Causality

Farley Mowat Popularizes Inuit Elder Abandonment and Suicide

Inuit Suicide Today

Chapter 6: The Lies Do Not Stand Alone

Inuit Snow Terms, Hanunoo Rice Terms, and Nuer Cow Colours

The Blond Eskimo: Atlanteans, Welsh Princes, and the Irish Sati

The Inuit as a Canadian Construct

Best in the Bush


Works Cited


Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)