The High Plains Society
Applied Anthropology

Review: Language, Politics, and Social Interaction in an Inuit Community By Donna Patrick

Michael A. Downs

This book is intended to address “the question of how minority languages persist, despite the political and economic pressures of dominant colonial languages” (p. 3). The study focuses on the Inuit community of Kuujjuarapik on the eastern shore of Hudson Bay in Arctic Quebec (also known as Nunavik), Canada. While south of the Arctic Circle, this community falls within the Arctic under either common treeline or isotherm definitions. Four languages are spoken in this settlement: Inuktitut, Cree, French, and English. Use patterns have changed over time, providing a dynamic context for the issues explored in the book. Indeed, the settlement glossed as Great Whale River in English or Poste-de-la-Baleine in French encompasses two officially distinct jurisdictions –Kuujjuarapik and the predominantly Cree community of Whapmagoostui immediately inland of Kuujjuarapik – as well as an interstitial area populated largely by non-Native residents straddling the two jurisdictions.

High Plains Applied Anthropologist No. 1, Vol. 25, Spring, 2005 pp 88 – 90

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