Subsistence walrus hunting in Inuit Nunangat (Arctic Canada) and Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland) from the 13th century CE to present

Sean Desjardins, Anne Birgitte Gotfredsen

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The long-term history of walrus hunting by Inuit can be characterised by the stark contrast between the innovation and venturous nature of the hunters, and the relative ecological conservatism of their prey. In this chapter, we examine several aspects of walrus subsistence hunting by Inuit from their earliest occupations in Arctic/Subarctic Canada and Greenland (beginning around the 13th century CE) to present. We focus our discussions on the intensive hunting practices of Amitturmiut of northern Foxe Basin, Nunavut, Inuit communities of the Avanersuaq region of North-West Greenland, as well as of their ancestors. We describe species-specific challenges, strategies and technologies for hunting, butchery, storage and consumption of walruses. We also provide a discussion of the position of the species within Inuit cosmology.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Atlantic walrus
Subtitle of host publicationMultidisciplinary insights into human-animal interactions
EditorsXenia Keighley, Morten Tange Olsen, Peter Jordan, Sean Desjardins
Number of pages26
ISBN (Print)978-0-12-817430-2
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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