Aboriginal oral tradition

My name is Sarah Nya Laakkuluk Jessen Williamson. It is long, but each part has its own story. I’m an Inuk with Greenlandic and English ancestry. Stories make my world go ’round.I s’pose when most people hear “oral culture” they think of creation stories and the like. What’s more, “Inuit” are people who somehow survive in their frigid, barren land. I don’t think most people think of oral culture and Inuit as particularly racy. Well, listen to this little story.




Kivioq and the Giant Penis (James and the Giant Peach be damned)

Kivioq (an Inuk superhero figure) came home one day to find his wife had fallen in love with someone else. He left her in a fit of rage. He climbed into his qajaq and paddled long and hard until he had travelled into a strange new land.

There he found two women living together. They were strange too. They had no man in their life and were perfectly happy and well provided for. Kivioq stayed with them for a while and the two women would let him follow them on their hunting trips to the sea. They would venture into the water-empty beaches of the low tide and cull seals that had been stranded and race back before the tide returned. They never let Kivioq come along when they travelled inland, however. He found out why when he surreptitiously followed them one day.

The women stopped at a lake, undressed and waded into the water. To Kivioq’s utter amazement, an enormous penis erupted from the water and pleasured the women in the most incredible way. After reaching ultimate bliss, the women waded back to shore, dressed, and carried on their merry way.

That’s why they need no man, Kivioq realized. Having just been jilted by his wife at home, he got extremely frustrated with the women.

He strode into the lake and, sure enough, the giant penis emerged again. Kivioq took out his axe and chopped it into a million pieces. Blood and gore filled the lake, but he didn’t stop until the penis was gone.

He left for his homeland and never saw the two women again.’So ends that adventure of Kivioq. Silly Kivioq, hey? He didn’t realize that sometimes women just don’t need men in their lives…

The Inuit world, just like any other, is filled with Velveeta cheese, reality TV and cyberporn. But our stories of yore are still oh-so-cool. As you might well imagine, Westernization has had many negative impacts on our culture. We’ve undergone an immense amount of change in very little time, but I am not worried.

We still love our families and our homelands. We’ve come to a point of political power where modern technology can only be to our advantage.

I think Inuit youth are entering an age of creativity. I can name tonnes of young Inuit performance troupes and young Inuit artists inspired by our oral culture and merging it with the exhilarating and sometimes scary world around us.

Go to a party with Inuit and you’ll be sure to laugh as the stories both old and new spill out.

As we listen to our stories with fresh vigour, our minds dip into the infinite opportunity of art in the modern world. We morph, our stories morph, but the power is still there.

‘My name is Sarah Nya Laakkuluk Jessen Williamson. It is long, but each part has its own story. I’m an Inuk with Greenlandic and English ancestry. Stories make my world go ’round. I s’pose when most people hear “oral culture” they think of creation stories and the like. What’s more, “Inuit” are people who somehow survive in their frigid, barren land. I don’t think most people think of oral culture and Inuit as particularly racy. Well, listen to this little story.

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