Living on the Land: Change Among the Inuit of Baffin Island
As recently as three decades ago most Inuit lived a lifestyle much like that of their forbearers: "living on the land," with the men hunting according to time-honoured methods and the women performing the same round of daily tasks that their grandmothers and great grandmothers had done.
Today these people typically live in settlements, some of them distinctly urban in character. Adults work for wages and use electric appliances, children listen to stereos and run about the settlement on motorbikes. As anthropologist John Matthiasson observes, "the Inuit child of today may look back in fond nostalgia on the lifestyle of his parents when they lived on the land, but he cannot return to it." Matthiasson, who has remained in contact with the Tununermiut since the 1960s, offers both a vivid picture of Inuit society as it was and an illuminating look at the nature and the extent of the enormous changes of the past thirty years.