How filmmaking is reviving shamanism
Now the film has made its way to the International Film Festival in Toronto and to movies across Canada. In an interview with the Edmonton Journal, Kunuk tells about how film making has contributed to a revival of Inuit shamanism:
"For our Inuit audience and for our young people, we're showing that we survived 4,000 years under shamanism: Be kind to animals, use only what you need. We had everything -- food, clothes. You had to be a good hunter to be rich. Christianity came, all that was put aside. Growing up, the minister was telling us don't do drum dances, don't tell legends because they're the work of the devil. It's brainwashing. It happened in New Zealand, Australia, Africa. It probably all happened the same.
"I wanted to put it down on record. For 4,000 years of our history, it is only the last 85 years that Christianity came. It doesn't balance. We traded 100 taboos -- laws of nature -- for Ten Commandments, which now I don't have any trust for after looking at where they came from. Love thy neighbour? They're bombing the hell out of each other! But we had to throw away all these rules of the land, taboos we just dumped so we could go to heaven."
"Shamanism was here, and it's going to be here, that's what my elders tell me. After Atanarjuat [an earlier film], the elders started to talk about shamanism more. With this film, because their families are in this community, people learned about their namesakes. We live by namesakes. When I was born, I was given five names, but the government couldn't pronounce them so we were given tags and family names."