Names and Nunavut: Culture and Identity in the Inuit Homeland

Names and Nunavut: Culture and Identity in the Inuit Homeland

by Valerie Alia

Paperback(New Edition)

View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Friday, August 23


On the surface, naming is simply a way to classify people and their environments. The premise of this study is that it is much more — a form of social control, a political activity, a key to identity maintenance and transformation. Governments legislate and regulate naming; people fight to take, keep, or change their names. A name change can indicate subjugation or liberation, depending on the circumstances. But it always signifies a change in power relations. Since the late 1970s, the author has looked at naming and renaming, cross-culturally and internationally, with particular attention to the effects of colonisation and liberation. The experience of Inuit in Canada is an example of both. Colonisation is only part of the Nunavut experience. Contrary to the dire predictions of cultural genocide theorists, Inuit culture — particularly traditional naming — has remained extremely strong, and is in the midst of a renaissance. Here is a ground-breaking study by the founder of the discipline of political onomastics.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781845454135
Publisher: Berghahn Books, Incorporated
Publication date: 12/01/2008
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Valerie Alia was an award-winning independent scholar, writer, and Professor Emerita, based in Toronto, Canada. She was Senior Associate of the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge University, Distinguished Professor of Canadian Culture at Western Washington University, and Running Stream Professor of Ethics and Identity at Leeds Metropolitan University. She was also a television and radio broadcaster, newspaper and magazine writer and arts reviewer in the US and Canada. Her books include: Un/Covering the North: News, Media and Aboriginal People ; Media Ethics and Social Change ; Media and Ethnic Minorities ; and The New Media Nation: Indigenous Peoples and Global Communication. She was a founding member of the International Arctic Social Sciences Association and founded the sub-discipline of political onomastics, the politics of naming.

Table of Contents

List of Figures



Notes on Spelling, Translation and Transliteration

List of Abbreviations


Introduction: Towards a Theory of Political Onomastics – A Personal Reflection

Chapter 1. The Importance of Names in Inuit Culture

Chapter 2. Visiting, Colonial Style: From Early Days of Cultural Intervention to the Cold War

Chapter 3. Renamed Overnight: the History of Project Surname

Chapter 4. ‘The people who love you’: Contemporary Perspectives on Naming in Nunavut

Chapter 5. Homelands and Diasporas: Concluding Thoughts on the Politics of Naming

Chronology of Key Events and Developments in Nunavut and the Circumpolar North




Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews