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Nanook Notes

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SOCY 200

______________________________________________________________ 1 THE SOCHE BUFF'S GAZETTE Professors Noh et al.___________________________________________2¢ NANOOK "Nanook of the North." This film was made on Baffin Island in the Arctic Ocean between Canada and Greenland. It premiered 1922. This film was the creation of Robert Flaherty, an American who lived among the Inuit for several years. It is generally regarded as the first social documentary film. When the National Archives began archiving classic American films, "Nanook of the North" was one of the first archived. Although this film was staged, it is an accurate portrayal of the traditional way of life of the Inuit. Flaherty organized the film to show a year in the life of the Inuit and how they come to terms with their biophysical environment. The film depicts the daily life of an Inuit family. The focus of the film is Nanook (played by Alakkariallak). He has two wives (Nyla and Cunayou) and four children (Allee and Allegoo and two babies). The film shows a trek to the trading post, fishing for salmon, a walrus hunt, searching for food, uncovering a fox Nanook trapped deep in the snow, building an igloo, teaching a boy to use a bow and arrow, a spit bath, sleeping in a common bed made of hard-packed snow covered with furs, spear fishing for a huge seal, traveling in a bitter storm and finding shelter in a deserted igloo. Nanook died of starvation in 1923. As good as this film is, it doesn't teach us much about the life of women and completely neglects the European exploitation and transformation of Inuit culture. There is nothing about bear, whale, and caribou hunting. There are tens of articles, one film, and several books about the making of this film and the people involved. The 1974 feature film, "The White Dawn" (starring Lou Gossett, Jr. and based on the novel of the same title), contains a number of scenes that ape ones in "Nanook of the North." The 1959 feature film "The Innocent Savages" (starring Anthony Quinn and featuring the screen debut of Peter O’Toole) is loosely based on The Top of the World by Hans Ruesch. The 1996 film "Kabloonak" chronicles the making of "Nanook of the North." A good book about the life of contemporary Inuit is The Fourth World by Sam Hall. Many Inuit now use snowmobiles not dogsleds, guns not bows and arrows, welfare checks not self-sufficient hunting and fishing. Most Inuit communities are troubled by high rates of joblessness, suicide, and alcoholism. [email protected] 10/31/2013 I'd Rather Be Studying______________ ___________________________________________________________________ No Me The Inuit do not choose to use the word "somebody" instead of the word "me;" they don't have a word me. The words I, mine, me, myself do not exist in their language. Vocabularies of motive and identity reflect the society in which people live. Inuit are prevented by the material conditions in which they live from conceiving themselves in terms of privat
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