Artwork painted on a wall.

How the Role of Men Has Changed in Nunavut

Article
Suicide

If you are afraid, change your way.

– Inuit Proverb

The Transition from “Traditional” to “Modern” Inuit Society

Over the course of the past fifty years, Inuit men’s roles have changed dramatically.

Traditionally, Inuit men spend much time outdoors, preparing for and embarking on the hunt. Modern Inuit lifestyle however, demands that men pursue a formal education, acquire salaried jobs (often working indoors), and take an active part in both family and community life.

Gender Roles in Modern Inuit Society

In an effort to hold onto traditional Inuit culture and history, some Inuk men are reluctant to adapt to the new reality that necessitates the paying of bills and the purchasing of expensive goods from local grocers. Many men continue to hunt, and refuse to accept full-time paid jobs, leaving women struggling to pay the bills.

According to an article in the National Post, women now outnumber men three to one when it comes to working in the formal economy. This means that women now shoulder the double-burden of providing for the family while, at the same time, taking responsibility for family life inside the home.

You’re Not Alone

Many Inuk men struggle to identify with their role in modern Inuit society, and are unable to secure and keep a job, or maintain healthy relationships with their partner, their children and the community.

According to Nunatsiaq Online, this lack of identity has led many Inuit men to experience feelings of low self-esteem, which in turn has led to numerous incidents between members of the same community. Lost and in need of help, many men experience develop feelings of resentment, anger, and frustration. You are not alone.

The struggle to find their place within modern society is an issue  shared between male members of the Inuit community. Now more  than ever, it is important that men help other men by sharing and  discussing the challenges they face. This does not make a man  weak, or helpless. It makes him strong.

If you’re feeling lost, angry or if you need someone to talk with, please contact us.

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