Updated: Jun 20
To explore how Arctic Native people identify themselves, how non-natives identify Arctic Natives, and the difference between the two. We interview Jacqui Igluġuq Lambert, Mellisa Maktuayaq Heflin, and Inuujaq Leslie Fredlund.
"It’s a really weird experience to be an Inupiaq woman, sitting at the computer, researching why or why not I should call myself Inuit or Eskimo. I don’t even think our ancestors or even just a few generations older than us would understand that this kind of identity crisis can exist. This kind of soul searching, basically, can exist through the internet but also that we find that stuff from outsiders. How can we shift from that?" - Jacqui Lambert
"It depends on the generation. I’m okay with using either Eskimo, Iñupiaq, Iñuit, or Native person, but with my children I don’t teach them that they’re “Eskimo” because that is the word that was placed on our people. So, the word that I place on my children is that they are Iñupiaq. They are not Eskimo. I also instruct them though that if an elder says that you’re Eskimo—then just agree with them. Don’t correct them." - Mellisa Heflin
"I love Inuit culture. I don’t think we’ll ever be in a place where we’re all in agreement, but I do think that as time goes on and we evolve that that word is just going to phase itself out. We identify ourselves as Inuit, Inupiaq, Yup’ik, Inuvialuit, Inuinnait, Kalaallit we’re so diverse and I love to just embrace that. As far as the word Eskimo, I think it’ll phase itself out over time." - Lesli Inuujaq Fredlund