November 14, 2006

Inuit cruel to elders?

New Yorker cartoon:  Eskimo is "retired" to die on an ice floe


Rob said...

The "culturally commonplace" practice of leaving Arctic elders to die may be a myth. As Michael D. Swenson noted in his reply to JAMA:

There has never been a Siberian Yupik tradition that an elder "bids farewell to his family and walks over the frozen Arctic Ocean, never to return." Shah's story perpetuates a falsehood that has never been true among the Inuit of Alaska. Theirs is not "a culture that feels a man is only as valuable as the wisdom he imparts." As in all Inuit cultures, the Siberian Yupik hold their elders in very high esteem—partly because of their role as reservoirs of cultural traditions and wisdom, but mostly just because they are the elders. They are intrinsically valued as indispensable members of the community.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!