Inuit religion has been around for as long as there have been Inuit. The Inuit religion is not the same as it was a thousand years ago. A thousand years ago the Inuit religion was basically referred to as animism. Animism is the belief that everything has a soul, including the animals (Watson, Bratton, no date). The Inuit religion of the past was centered on myths, rituals and beliefs. The Inuit religion of today has changed from worshiping and praying to several spiritual Gods to worshiping only God the Father in Heaven. The change in their beliefs started long before they ever laid eyes on the white man (R. Carleton, personal communication, 1-26-07). The Inuit Church service that this author feels that the Inuit have a real sense of the word religion. They care about the land and all that is on the land. They are thankful for each and everything God has given us. They make a person feel like their religion is the way it was meant to be. The Traditional Culture and Religion
The Inuit of a thousand years ago relied on their shaman for advice before making some decisions. The shaman was a respected member of the community and was most often a man. The shaman was believed to have magical powers, be able to cure sickness, tell the future, find lost objects and most importantly it was believed they could talk to the spirits. Shamans were sometimes feared because they may be evil. Shamans believed in the powerful spirits, such as Sedna who was the God of the sea beast. Breaking Sednas' rules would bring bad luck. This could result in the lack of sea animals being caught. If this happened, the shaman would have to go down to Sednas' ocean home and calm her by untangling her hair and releasing the animals that were caught there. It was believed that when Sedna was angry the animals became tangled in her hair (Inuit Mythology, 2002). The hunters believed that if they did not pray before, during and after a hunt, then their next hunt would be bad. Hunters respected the spirit of each animal that was killed.
Before butchering a seal, the hunter would offer the dead animal a drink of water. If this was not done by the hunters it was believed that their families would have bad luck. The hunters believed that the spirit that ruled over the animals would punish them for not giving thanks for the animals (Inuit Mythology, 2002). The Inuit people are a very spiritual tribe. That is one thing that no matter whom the Inuit worship, the Inuit keep a very strong spiritual faith. When they believed in the many spirits and Gods they were devote in their faith. Now that most all Inuit people are Christians they are very strong in this faith (R. Carleton, personal communication, 1-26-07).While most articles lead people to believe that it was the missionaries that encouraged and made the religious change happen among the Inuit people, in an interview a few weeks ago, an Inuit woman spoke of it occurring in a different way. Religious Service
There are regular Inuit Religious services held at Largo Baffin, which is a medical boarding house in Ottawa, are for Inuit people. The services are held in the television room of this medical boarding house. There is a couch in the room and several chairs are brought in to accommodate everyone, who wishes to be present at this service. This particular night there were approximately 25 people present. The feeling in the room is one of that I never felt before. It is a feeling that people would feel in a community, where they all share at least one thing in common. These people have much more than one thing in common. There is respect shown for everyone there. Any newcomer would be greeted with at the very least a nod and a smile. The people attending the service give off a feeling of being welcomed. The service is all in Inuktitut except for when Minister Dan Woods speaks and is translated by Reepa Evic-Carleton, who is an Inuit woman originally from the providence of Nunavut....
References: Inuit Culture, (2002), The Big Myth, Retrieved 1-7-07 from:
Inuit Mythology, (2002), Answers.com, Retrieved 1-10-07 from:
Watson, Elliott and Bratton, Janikka, (no date).The Inuit, Retrieved 1-5-07 from:
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