“I Was Grown up Before I Was Born”: Wisdom in Kangiryarmuit Life Stories


  • Cynthia Chambers University of Lethbridge




This essay draws from a collaborative (SSHRC funded) research project between a Canadian Inuit community and a literacy organization that followed life histories of Inuit (Kangiryarmuit) Elders that were digitally recorded, and translated into English, as a key source of data about traditional Inuit literacies (Balanoff & Chambers, 2005). Analysis of life history transcripts revealed that within life stories are “clues” (Ingold, 2000) to knowledge sought; that telling stories, including one’s own, is a social activity (Cruikshank, 1998) where meaning is not fixed but generated within the context, in this case, an “interview” of an Elder by Inuit researchers. The life histories, as recorded and transcribed, map out an interconnected world of places, people, and other-than human beings, and activities and experiences within that world.

Author Biography

Cynthia Chambers, University of Lethbridge

Faculty of Education University of Lethbridge Lethbridge, Alberta