Home > Winds of Change > Shamanism and Reintegrating Wrongdoers into the Community > Chapter 3

Assuituq National Park, near Broughton Island.

On the shore of Ungava Bay south of Killiniq.

Chapter 3

Quotation:
Mariano Aupilaarjuk
« I don’t think anyone of us is thinking about this for the first time. I have thought about qilaniq a number of times. I know there would be differences in how it was used. Some people would have more success than others with qilaniq. It has always been that way. When the ones with real ability became known, people would turn to them because they would not be using their ability for themselves. They would be using their ability to help other people. We do a lot of teaching. We teach young people about the ways things were done in the past. They hear our words and they probably believe what we are telling them, but they have never experienced what we are talking about. I am sure there are people around who have abilities. Those who end up in the court system would benefit more if they were helped by Inuit. Maybe their problems would be more out in the open. » (Page 127)
Presentation:
In the past, angakkuuniq helped the Inuit survive when there were no government services, but it also comprised some dangerous practices - the reason it always inspired a certain level of fear. The elders think that young people should be made aware of the possible dangers of angakkuuniq. In this chapter, they discuss illisiiqsiniq, the practice of hexing one's enemies. They also talk about tupilait (evil spirits), and ijirait (human-like spirits that only showed themselves in the form of caribou).

In this chapter, the elders also pass on more specific shamanic knowledge. First, they collectively agree to perform the qilaniq, for the benefit of Iluittuq who requested it. There are few details on the qilaniq session itself, but the ensuing discussions are particularly lively. Then the elders move on to irinaliutit (incantations), some of them singing a few examples although never saying one completely for fear of triggering it. Later, the discussion turns to shamanic words, as the elders try to remember as many words from the shamans' own language (also described as the language of the tuurngait) as they can. Finally, we are treated to bits of pisiit or traditional songs.

The chapter ends with a discussion of the angakkuit's abilities: the powers of vision, premonition and healing, ilimmaqtuqtuq (flying in spirit form), the power of moving the ice, the power of taking people to the moon to let them meet deceased loved ones.