Names and Nunavut: Culture and Identity in Arctic Canada

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Berghahn Books, 2007 - History - 172 pages
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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.

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About the author (2007)

Valerie Alia is 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 has also been 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 is a founding member of the International Arctic Social Sciences Association and founded the sub-discipline of political onomastics, the politics of naming.

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