Freeside Europe Online Academic Journal

Freeside Europe Online Academic Journal

Modern cultural, literary and linguistic perspectives

Attila Takács: Changing Mindset, Changing Inuit Oral Tradition in Kunuk's Atanarjuat


Filming the legend of Atanarjuat for Kunuk is more than translating and representing an oral tradition on the screen. It is a process of empowerment, an example of what Gerald Vizenor in Survivance: Narratives of Native Presence calls native survivance, "an active sense of presence over absence, deracination, and oblivion; survivance is the continuation of stories." (Vizenor 2008: 1). Survivance is already apparent in Kunuk's choice of the film crew. All actors and other personnel come from the Nunavut speaking Inuktitut tribe and are involved in all aspects of the production from screenplay to editing and marketing. In this sense the film proves the power of self-reliant communal survival strategies and the possibilities of reclaiming cultural resources. Michael Robert Evans suggests that "Isuma wanted to deliver a different message to the world, a message having more to do with harmony, respect, for the movie, they changed the ending of the legend to reflect that message" (Evans 2010: 58). I also regard the shift in events as a conscious attempt to remodel the cultural image of the Inuit people.

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ISSN 1786-7967

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