1 SNOW AND ICE Qaujimajatuqangit SNØ OG IS FEBRUARY 2011 REVISED VERSION What has always been known - Hva som man alltid har kjent til Hans-Jørgen Wallin Weihe In memory of Samuel Johnsen Balto, Fridtjof Nansen and Ole Nilsen Ravna In memory of Roald Amundsen and the Netsilik People of Gjoa Haven in Nunavut
2 2 Earlier resarch papers published by Permafrost-Press Qaujimajatuqangit 2005 Qaujimajatuqangit 2006 Tropical Permafrost 2006 Snow and Ice February 2006 Qaujimajatuqangit Snø og is 2007 Qaujimajatuqangit Snø og is In m emor y o f Samuel Johnsen Balto, Fr idtjof N ansen and Ol e Ni lsen Ravna. In m emory o f Roald Amundsen and t he N etsilik P eopl e of Gjoa Hav en i n Nu navut February 2011 ISBN Key words english Snow, Ice, Traditional Indigenous knowledge Søkeord norsk Snø, Is, Tradisjonskunnskap
4 4 Contents page/side Preface page/side Forord page/side The importance of words page/side Viktigheten av ord page/side Climate warming and change page/side Indigenous knowledge, local knowledge and the power of definition page/side The ethics of collecting words page/side The cruelty of taking away language Scientific knowledge and overlapping local knowledge page/side The importance of being able to express oneself page/side Learning by doing page/side Ph an t asy, creativity, snow and i ce Spiritual i ty, snow and ice Examples of words of snow and ice page/side Eksempler på o r d omsnø og i s p age/ side List of abbreviations/oversikt over forkortelser page/side Words of snow and ice listed alphabetically/ Ord om is og snø satt opp alfabetisk page/side A page/side B page/side C page/side D page/side E page/side F page/side G page/side H page/side I page/side J page/side K page/side L page/side M page/side N page/side O page/side P page/side Q page/side R page/side S - SN page/side SN page/side T page/side U page/side V page/side W page/side X page/side Æ page/side Ø page/side Y page/side Å page/side References/Referanser page/side Oral sources/muntlige kilder page/side
6 6 Preface This is a work in progress, a publication to be corrected and commented. The title points to the Inuit oral tradition what has always been known and the Inuit s finely tuned awareness of man, the land (nuna), the weather (hila), wildlife and the spiritual world. In modern terminology Qaujimajatuqangit would be what be included in what is called traditional indigenous knowledge. However, this book include both the terminology of indigenous populations and other populations in the Arctic.Thus, the book reflects great changes in use of terminology and part of the recorded words will represent knowledge from the past. Nevertheless knowledge from the past will often represent wisdom of great importance even for today. All humans living in the Arctic have developed specialized vocabulary and I hope that my collection will give the readers some glimpses into their life through their words. I have made this collection mostly from various literary works and I am greatly indebted to their authors.after the first edition and second edition I have received feedback from readers. The feedback has resulted in several corrections and additions to the book. In a way the collection has served as a tool for reflection with people living in the Arctic. Reading the terminology of others have functioned as a trigger for memory and discussions. At the same time the collection has communicated my respect and intrest in traditional knowledge. The first edition of this work was published in English in December 2005 and included some north saami, Norwegian and Inuktitut terminology. The second and substantially changed edition was published in January 2006 with English and Norwegian text, included several revisions, and added Lule Saami and Swedish terminology. In the third and updated edition added some Greenlandic words, their Danish translations, South Saami words and several more words from the other languages in the list. The third edition also included literature references for each word and an increased bibliography. The fourth edition, published in September 2006 included a few additional English words, a few Finnish and Finnish/Norwegian words, some historical words from the periode of ice trade and an increased bibliography. This final edition is based upon registrations added after a visit to Igloolik Research Institute in March Crossreferences have partly been included, but the main priority has been to publish the work and make the collection of words. The author has no ambition of giving a complete collection of words, but will hopefully contribute to the understanding of the rich vocabulary of the highly specialized and advanced cultures of the north. I wish to thank all those who have contributed to the development of the book. Countless people, too many to be mentioned by name, have given their opinions and shared their knowledge and thus contributed to the development of this book. The great polar explorerers the Fridtjof Nansen ( ), Roald Amundsen ( ), Knud Rasmussen ( ), Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld ( ),Vilhjalmur Stefansson ( ) and Robert E. Peary ( ) all used the knowledge and skills of Arctic indigenous populations to carry out their expeditions. In fact none of their expeditions and research could have been carried out as successfully without the use of indigenous knowledge. Among Nansens helpers were the Saami Samuel Johnsen Balto and Ole Nilsen Ravna.
7 7 The great polar explorer Roald Amundsen ( ) was leader of the first European expedition to traverse the Northwest Passage in the ship Gjøa. He spent two winters in what is today called Gjoa Haven in Nunavut. During the stay Amundsen learned Arctic survival skills, how to use sledge dogs and arctic clothing from the local Netsilik Inuit people. What was new to him and his crew was obviously old knowledge passed on from generation to generation among the Netsilik that knowledge was Qaujimajatuqangit or what has always been known. Very likely numerous Inuits had also traversed the North West passage long before Amundsens famous travel. The year of 2011 is the 150 years anniversary of Fridtjof Nansens birth and the 100 years anniversary of Roald Amundsens famous travel to the South Pole and I am happy to contribute this collection as part of the anniversaries and as an acknowledgement of the great debt all polar and arctic research have to the accumulated wisdom of the cultures and humans of the Arctic. Numerous indigenous names should have been added to the list of the explorers, after a substantial part of what they made use aware of was what has always been known among arctic peoples. Lillehammer/Igloolik Mars April 2010 /Revision Lillehammer February/March 2011 Hans-Jørgen Wallin Weihe
8 8 Forord Dette er et arbeid under bearbeiding og som vil bli forandret. Jeg ønsker kommentarer, tilføyelser og rettelser fra lesere. Tittlen viser til den Inuitiske muntlige tradisjonen Hva som man alltid har kjent til og Inuitenes velutviklede bevissthet på mennesket, landskapet (nuna), været (hila), dyrelivet og den åndelige verden. I moderne språkbruk er Qaujimajatuqangit det som vi kan kalle tradisjonskunnskap, eller sagt enda mer presist urbefolkningers tradisjonskunnskap. Boken inkluderer både tradisjonell terminologi fra urbefolkningsgrupper i Arktis og andre befolkningsgrupper. De store forandringene i bruk av terminologi betyr at en del av ordene som er inkludert representerer ord som ikke lengre er i bruk. Selv om dette lett kan oppfattes som ord som tilhører historien ønsker jeg å understreke at de ofte representerer viktig kunnskap også i dag. Alle mennesker som lever i Arktis har utviklet et spesialisert ordforråd. Jeg håper at denne samlingen med ord kan gi lesere et blikk inn deres liv og verden. Jeg har for det meste laget samlingen fra ulike litterære arbeider og jeg skylder forfatterne av disse stor takk. Etter at første utgaven kom har jeg også begynt å få tilbakemeldinger fra lesere og dette har både gitt verdifulle rettelser og tillegg til boken. På en måte har også samlingen fungert som et redskap for refleksjon med mennesker som bor i Arktis. Det å lese andres terminologi har skapt egne assosiasjoner og utløst egen hukommelse. Samtidig har også samlingen kommunisert min respekt og interesse for tradisjons kunnskap. Den første utgaven av dette arbeidet ble utgitt på Engelsk i Desember 2005 og hadde med endel nord Samiske ord, norske ord og en del Inuktitut ord. Den andre og svært forandrede utgaven ble utgitt i januar 2006 med både en Engelsk og en Norsk tekst, mange opdateringer og nye ord, de fleste av disse fra Lule Samisk og Svensk. I den tredje oppdaterte opplaget er litterære og muntlige kilder til de enkelte ord tatt med, enkelte Grønlandske ord med deres Danske oversettelser, Sør Samisk ord og oppdateringer på flere av de andre språkene. Den tredje utgaven hadde også en utvidet litteraturliste. Denne fjerde utgaven inkluderer noen nye engelske ord, noen finske og kvenske, noen historiske ord fra perioden med ishandel og igjen oppdateringer i litteraturlisten. Denne siste utgaven er basert på suppleringer fra et besøk ved Igloolik Research Institute i Mars Kryssreferanser har delvis blitt innarbeidet, men det har blitt prioritert både å få publisert arbeidet og lage en samling av ord. Hensikten med presentasjonen av samlingen er på ingen måte å forsøke å gi en full oversikt over snø og is terminologi, men å bidra til forståelsen av det rike og varierte terminologien til noen av de høyt spesialiserte og avanserte arktiske kulturene Jeg ønsker å takke alle dem som har bidratt til utvikling av boken. Svært mange og for mange til å nevne med navn har bidratt til denne boken. De har alle bidratt til utvikling av boken.. De store polarforskerne Fridtjof Nansen ( ), Roald Amundsen ( ), Knud Rasmussen ( ), Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld ( ),Vilhjalmur Stefansson ( ) og Robert E. Peary ( ) brukte alle kunnskap og ferdigheter fra Arktiske befolkninger for å utføre sine ekspedisjoner. Ingen av dem kunne ha utført sine ekspedisjoner og forskning uten bruk av lokalbefolningenes tradisjonskunnskap.blant Nansens helpers var samene Samuel Johnsen Balto og Ole Nilsen
9 9 Ravna. Amundsen lærte mye av sine ferdigheter av Netsilik inuitter i det som i dag heter Gjøa havn i Nunavut. Den store polarforskeren Roald Amundsen ( ) ledet den første Europeeiske ekspedisjon som reiste hele lengden av Nordvest passasjen med skipet Gjøa. På veien tilbrakte han to vintre i det som har fått navnet Gjøa havn i Nunavut. I løpet av oppholdet lærte han arktisk overlevelsesteknikk, bruk av sledehunder og arktiske klær av av de lokale Netsilik Inuittene. Det som var nytt for ham var gammel kunnskap som lokalt var formidlet fra generasjon til generasjon kunnskapen var det som ble kalt Qaujimajatuqangit eller det som alltid har vært kjent. Høyst sannsynlig hadde mange inuitter reist den samme strekningen som han gjorde lenge før han foretok sin berømte reise. Året 2011 er 150 års jubileum for Fridtjof Nansens fødsel og hundre års jubileum for Roald Amundsens berømte reise til Syd Polen og jeg ser det som en stor ære og bidra med denne samlingen som en del av markeringen av jubileene og som en anerkjennelse av det viktige bidrag som all polar og arktisk forskning har til kunnskapsarven til arktiske lokalbefolkninger og kulturer. En mengde navn på lokale tradisjonsbærere og aktive deltagere i polarforskningen hadde fortjent å bli nevnt sammen med forskerne jeg har nevnt. Mye av det forskerene har gjort oss oppmerksomme på er slik kunnskap som alltid har vært kjent i de arktisk kulturene. Lillehammer/Igloolik Mars April 2010 /Revidering Lillehammer Februar/Mars 2010 Hans-Jørgen Wallin Weihe
10 10 The importance of words When I am travelling on flat sea ice without proper snowdrifts there are usually some very small formations called kanngutikuluit. Those too are readable and very useful, although they might break when touched. But if they haven t been tampered with they are useful as the larger drifts for navigation. When there is a new set of snow and there are no drifts then you are liable to get lost. But you can blow away the snow cover to find the underlying ipakjugait which although small, are very good navigation as well. (Aipilik Innuksuk in Bennet and Rowley: 2004: 116) In the dark months travel was usually started with the new moon. A good indiciation of direction was in addition the so called sastrugi, striped formation of snow created by the wind. As wind nearly always blow from south-west in the whole of west Greenland it is not hard to find the direction if there are sastrugi (Freuchen Peter: 1962:32) Viktigheten av ord Når jeg reiser på den flate havisen og den er uten store snø skavler vil det allikevel være noen små snøformasjoner som kalles kanngutikuluit. Disse kan man også lese og de er meget anvendelige, selv om de er svært skjøre og lett brekker når man berører dem. Men dersom de ikke har vært berørt er de like anvendlige som de store snødrivene for å navigere. Når det er helt ny snø og det ikke er noen snødriver er det lett å ta feil av veien. Men du kan blåse av snøen og under den kan du finne ipakjugai. Selv om de er svært små kan de gi grunnlag for god navigasjon de også. (Aipilik Innuksuk i Bennet og Rowley: 2004: 116) I de mørke måneder blev rejserne derfor som regel påbegyndt ved nymåne. En god retningsviser var dessuden de såkaldte sastrugi, stribeformede ophopninger af sneen som er dannet av vinden. Eftersom det næsten altid blæser fra sydvest i hele Vestgrønland var der ikke svært at finde retningen når der bare var sastrugi. (Freuchen Peter: 1962:32)
11 11 Memo ry, History and Forgetting P aul Rico e ur (2 006) ex amines the reciprocal rel ationshi p between r emem b ering, an d fo r getting an d in t hat way h o w this sym bi osis i n fluences both t he p e r cept ion of history and production of hi stori cal n arratives. P i erre Nora emphasiz e h ow memory i s to be understood i n i ts sacred cont ex ts, whi ch i n t h e A rctic t o a l arge ex t en t woul d be the s easonall y changed lan dscap e of i ce an d snow ( No r a, 1996). On t h e o ther h an d the sacred co nt ex t wo uld also i n cl ude the man m ade s t ru ct u res and sites of human activity p erhap s particul arly t h o s e connect ed to the conquest of n at ure and histori call y t h e publ ic b ui ldi n g, such as schools an d ch u r ch es, and sites like cem et eri es. In t h e No r w egi an Polar History ( D r iven es and Ø yen, 2005) the i mportan ce o f t h e P o l ar ex p ed itions for the N o rwegi an nat ional i d ent it y. In a chapter of R o ald Berg he particul arl y f o cus upon t h e aspects of m al e honour and in a way t h e s ym b ol ism of t he ultimat e n ational m al e. In a way t h e pol ar and the snow and i ce enviro nm en t b ecam e t h e ultimate sym b o l of mans co n ques t of t h e h arshest and t oughest environmen t ex isting. A m ale w ol d al so points to di fferen ces i n fem al e an d male t erminol o g y. T h e possibl e questions of differen ces i n malke an d fem ale terminol o g y and perhap s al so in m em o r y and wh at i s forgotten. O b vi ously s n o w and i ce might r ep r es en t f ar di f f erent sym bol s for t hose l ivi n g i n t h e A r ctic and t hose co ming to t h e A r ctic and even an ot her fo r t hose rel at ing t o the environment at a distance. Mean ing is co nnect ed to u s e and ex p eriences. The aesthetic experi ence and the practical ex p eri en ce of use will be differen t, but still represent an i nt ergrat ed ex p eri en ce of the s ame. S now and i ce might represent an d sym b ol ize danger, cru el t y and p erhap s ev en death. At the sam e time i t m i ght represent possibilities f o r insulation, t r avel, sport, prot ection, hunt ing and even t r ad e. The s ym b o lism of t h e present might be di fferent fr om that of t h e p ast an d t h e fu ture.
12 12 C lima t e warming and ch ange B y t he Arctic ClimaticAssesment was regristeri n g gl aci ers an d ice s h el ves regressing (ACIA, 2005). Thus co n fi rming t he abt icipat ed s ym p t oms of gl obal warming. New d ata from 2007 sugges t s t h at the arctic is warm ing m u ch faster than expected (Fortier, Barber and Michaud, 2008:1). The traditional indigenous knowledge included in the language is of importance in order to understand such changes. The words represent an inbuilt knowledge that can suuplemen modern scientific knowledge and measurements. Words and knowledge of ice and snow is of particular importance in order to understand climatic changes. Sea ice is, as pointed out by several researchers, an integral component of Inuit life as it creates habitat for marine mammals, provides good hunting for food and, clothing and equipement and enables efficient travel (Laidler 2007, 2006a and b, Norton 2002, George et al 2004, Nichols et al 2004). The Inuit communities in the high Arctic has most of the year been connected to the sea ice and their knowledge of their environment which includes weather changes, currents, prevaling winds etc. has been and is extensive. The knowledge and the adaption to the sea ice environment has been estmated to be at least 5000 years old (Riewe, 1991). The sea ice is one of the most important indicators of global warming and the changes in the temperatures and sea currents. Scientists from all over the world have been studying the large ice systems of the Antarctic and the Arctic and a large number of piblications have been published. Many of the studies have used advanced high technology systems such as satelite sensing (DeAbreau et al 2001). In her study Laidler (2006 a. And 2007:48-49) points out that Inuit sea ice expertice can expand our knowledge and understandings of sea ice characteristics and can be related to and combined with scientific expertice; 1. Scientific climate models cannot capture or represent the local sea ice geographies of northern communities using sea ice in various ways each day. Local Inuit expertice can provide detailed local understanding of physical sea ice processes as well as potential implications on social, economical and cultural aspects of distinct communities. 2. Attempting to incorporate Inuit and scientific methods within research projects mirrors debates between natural and scientific disciplines.it provides an oppertunity to explore the complementary nature of quantative and qualitative data as well as adressing issues of subjectivity, validity and credibility. 3. With an evolution towards more extensive and integrative collaborative research in the north, both natural and social scientists will increasingly be asked to convince community members of the importance and relevance of the investigations to local interests and conserns. 4. Linking different expertice requires more in-depth analysis of terminology, the construction of meaning, and the communication of a message. 5. Any knowledge that expands collective understanding is a contributor to the advancement of knowledge. The question of the construction of meaning is of course both a practical and a philosophical and theoretical question of identity and identity (Demeritt, 2001 a and 2001 b; Schneider,
13 ;, Manning, 2003; Nichols et al, 2004). The questions is not only related to the Arctic, but is a general one which has occupied philsophers since ancient times. Among the differences and changes noted by Inuit hunters are thinner sea ice, melting from underneath the sea ice, changes in currents, changes in wind directions, changes in the way the ice breaks up, changes in moving ice, changes in cracks, changes in crystallizaton changes in consistency of sea water, changes in animal behaviour and consentrations. Still, as pointed out by many hunters, they had dogs in the old days and the dogs had senses that supplemented human senses detecting thin ice, animals and so on (Nasalik, 2004 and Keyuak both quoted in Laidler, 2007:254). Sammallahti (1998:109) emphasize that the traditional terminology for kinship, landscape, snow, water, the reindeer and reindeerherding is especially rich. In the rich oral material collected by Iglolik Research Institute there are many interviews giving insights into local knowledge. Among the examples are; Ice conditions and l o cal knowl ed ge ( In t ervi ew with Aipilik In u k s huk by P aul In r n gaut and Mich ael Brav o A u gust t ap e no. IE , Oral hi stor y P r oj ect, Nu n av ut R esearch In s titut e Igl o o lik) ( In t ervi ew w ith Aipilik In u k shuk by P aul In r n gaut J an u ar y t ape no. IE , Oral hi stor y P ro j ect, N u n av ut Res earch In stitute Igl o o lik) Ice conditions, l ocal l e ad s, i ce b reak ups ( In t ervi ew with P au li Kunnuk by Lo u i s Tapardj uk Feb r u ar y t ape no. IE , Oral hi stor y P r oj ect, Nunav ut Res earch In stitute Igl o o lik) ( In t ervi ew with Mark Ij j angi aq by Lo u i s Tap ard juk February t ape no. IE , Oral hi stor y P r oj ect, Nunav ut Res earch In stitute Igl o o lik) T erminol o g y s n ow conditions Piugaat uk (1 990) Oral information ( In t ervi ew with Michel Ko p aaq Piugaatuk b y Lo u i s Tapardjuk February t ap e no. IE - 098, Oral history Proj ect, Nunav ut R esearch In s t i tut e Igl o o lik) The Eskimo- Aleut languages are spoken from the northeastern tip of Siberia to East Greenland. Today researchers do think that the language family decendes from one common language the so-called Proto-Eskimo-Aleut, which divided in two manin branches and several subgroups more than 4000 years ago. The Eskimo branch includes four Yupik languages of Alaska and Siberia as well as Inuit languages and Sirenikski a nearly extinct Siberian language. The Inuit languages is thought as a dialect continuum extrending from East Greenland to the Bering Strait (Fortescue, Jacobson and Kaplan, 1994). In this book I will mostly relate to what most researchers call dialects as languages as I want to honour and acknowledge the local traditions and differences. A pointed out by the Saami researcher Sammalathi (1998) the use of the term dialects or languages will be an important signal of recogniztion and acknowledgment of local differences, culture and identity. In Europe the differences between many European national languages, such as German, Norwegian, Danish
14 14 and Swedish, will often be far less than between what is labelled dialects among indigenous populations.
15 15 Indigenous knowledge, local knowledge and the power of definition Collecting words and looking into collections of words should require a critical look at the logic of those collecting the words and making the structures of the language or languages. A lot of the linguistic work has been done from the point of academicians with a background either from North American, European or Russian universities. With a few exceptions, like Sammalathi (1998), such collections is tied into the western logic of what might be labelled the Linnean system of linguists. Defining the structure of a language is only partly about lingistics and partly about relating to politics, the spirituality and knowledge built into the language. For an outsider the latter two factors might be impossible to identify and understand. Indigenous knowledge is a term used to identify knowledge in indigenous cultures. However, as pointed out by McGregor (2000) and Laidler (2006 and 2007), the term is a construct from the point of outsiders. What is labelled indigenous knowledge is a way of life were worldview, values, the spiritual and both human social relationships and towards the environment is part of practices and attitudes which only partly can be put in words. Thus, there are obvious limitations to a collection of words like this one. The real wisdom has to be found in the practices and the use of the words in practical situations. Words are tools with clear limitations and most of all they are contextual and practice related (Falk and Weihe 2009 and Weihe in Falk, 2007). As summarize by Laidler (2007:22-23 and 2006a) writing about Inuit knowledge; 1. Inuit knowledge, insight and wisdom is gained through experience, and incorporates a finely tuned awareness and respect for the dynamic and evolving relationship between Inuit and the land, weather, wildlife and spiritual worlds- this experiential and repetitive learning contributes to the development of intimate and reliable understanding of the environment over the long term. 2. Inuit knowledge, insight, and wisdom is shared in many forms of orality, and more recently in written form, and is passed over generations through a set of complex social, economic and ecological relationships. 3. Inuit knowledge is dynamic, continually accumulating and evevolving depending on the person and personal experiences, it is inclusive of new information and encompasses a way of life within a collective and experiential context there is both rigour and confidence incorporated in local understandings of complex syst ems due to extensive, repeated, and verified observations within a broader social context. Those who use the land, and in the Inuit communities the most important would be the hunters, would typically be those with the best knowledge of the winter environment and sea ice. However, there are other experiences of winter environment from the point of females and children which migh give other insights. It is also important to acknowledge that the technological development has been rapid and that different generations will have different experiences because they relate to the environment throught the use of different technology. Still, those that hunt and travel on the sea ice need and understanding of the reciprocal influences of temperature, winds and currents on ice formations, ice dynamics and snow formations and snow dynamics (Freeman, 1984; Krupnik, 2002; Laildler, 2007; Nelson, 1969). Saami reindeer herders will in the same way need knowledge of their environment in
16 16 order to do their reindeer herding and travelling. Fishermen, hunters, lumbrers and farmers will have needs depending on their environment and the understanding of the environment will be influenced by their needs, changing technology, values and world views.
17 17 The ethics of collecting words Words are just words a fellow airplane passenger told me on the way up to Iglolik. Nothing else than description of something, sounds that points to a certain thing or emotion, sounds that makes us relate to each other stupid, silly thing that we don t all speak the same language.. we do not need all those languages one language fits all occasions..that is what we need. Attitudes towards language might differ, but still it is a general consensus that language is closely related to identity. Collecting words like stamps is obviously not giving people a relationship to the identity of the people using the language in their daily life activities. However, it gives insights into the diversity of languages and some, albeit limited insights into what people need to have vocabulary for. In Geertz words to; somehow understand how it is we understand understandings not our own (Geertz 1983:5). Still, doing that means gaining insights perhaps most of all in our own shortcomings, not only on the level of vocabulary, but most of all on the level of analyzing, policy and intellectual achievements. Researchers and different academic disciplines need to address in a critical manner what they and their scientific discipline stand for (Hedican, ). Collecting words sorting them alphabetically might be accused of making rape to a language consisting of a structure alien to our own and obviously a rich diversity of words relating to emotions and human relationship to both fellow humans, the land and other living beings. It varies greatly culturally what we use words for communicating and what is communicated about without the use of words. In the words of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein what we remain silent about (Weihe in Huse, 2005:138). The French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1962 and 1964) concludes that we learn our language bodily, but not mentally. If he is right language must be understoodas phenomena strongly influenced by the physical reality each man is related to. Thus the language is very much developed as part of mans interaction with his or her surroundings. Concluding no language can be understood independent of the land and a collection of words not related to the land is totally meaningsless. Thus the reader need to gain an understanding of the land, the seasons, the snow and ice in order to use this collection in a fruitful manner. Still, as David Abraham (1997:73) points out: Every attempt to definitively say what language is subject to a curious limitation. For the only medium with which we can define language is language itself. Abraham restrict language to what can be phrased in words and said. Understanding language as a broad concept covering both spoken, paraverbal and nonverbal language means including a number of dimensions that can be difficult to communicate with words. The ethics of collecting words and use this collection of words is about relating to the difficulies of understanding of other languages, the interaction with the land and most important not to use the words as pure decorations and exotic expressions of the strange and perhaps what might be defined as primitive(weihe, 2009). The words are sophisticated acknowledgement of mans culturally developed interaction with his and her surroundings and other humans. Any scientific understanding and dissection of tradtional knowledge will most of all have to relate to the fact that linguistics, anthropology, ethnography and what ever other kind of
18 18 science will never be able to grasp the integrated totality of the identity and practice being part of living in the land and being part of the culture. The Bishop of Greenland in an interview; All indigenous people are the victims of human activity in other parts of the world. Those humans that live against their surroundings the land, air and sea, cause global warmingby the activities and lifestyles they pursue. We know the great forcesof our surroundings and we will try to live in a respectful balanced relationship to those forces..humans have to show humility to the forces of the land, sea and weather. If humans do not show humility to those forces they will be the victims of them. Then humans try to behave like God, which would be making mockery of creation and what is sacred (The bishop of Greenland in interview with Weihe in Huse 2008:130).