The Sanguatsiniq research project focuses on food security, economic change, cultural practices and values, and well-being in two Inuit communities in the Canadian Arctic, Kangiqsujuaq and Ulukhaktok (left). The project name refers to turning when traveling. For our community partners, the concept is a metaphor for having new ideas, with traveling set in contrast to being “stuck in one place,” which is how Inuit often describe stressful experiences.
The project focus has emerged through extensive consultation and long-term collaboration and participant observation with the study communities, and combines longitudinal observational studies with community programming. Our theoretical aim is to develop new approaches to understanding processes of cultural adaptation and determinants of well-being in populations experiencing social and economic upheaval, including those related to climate change. What processes—economic, social, and psychological—promote stability or change in cultural beliefs and practices? When, and why, is cultural change a stressful process? We are particularly interested in how risk and uncertainty shape trajectories of cultural change and people’s experiences of it.
Predictors of hunting decisions
In a recent paper in Philosphical Transactions B, Hillemann et al. (2023) examine Inuit patch choice and harvest success in >250 foraging trips. Foraging success varies little with household income, but high-income harvesters have a broader portfolio of harvesting activities than low-income harvesters, which suggests that they may have a greater capacity to adapt to changes in the accessibility of different patches (e.g., due to changes in sea ice conditions).
Inuit concepts of stress & stress management
Collings et al. (2023) conducted a grounded theory analysis of Inuit narratives about stress, which revealed shared, prescriptive norms (see figure, above) surrounding how to respond to stressful situations, rooted in the idea that negative thoughts accumulate in the mind. This finding challenges prevalent narratives that acculturation and language loss have led to the loss of traditional cultural norms in Inuit communities.
Community and policy reports
(Coming soon) 2023 summary report about Inuit stress management strategies, in Inuktitut and English.
2021 report for the Inuvialuit Regional Council on the potential impacts of Canadian carbon pricing on the hunting, fishing, and trapping economy.
A summary of our 2018 recent pilot study on community health and wellness (with Peter Collings) can be found here.
A more detailed report for the community concerning subsistence and food security from 2018 can be downloaded here. The results of this report were used by the Kangiqsujuaq community council to develop a program to support young families to go hunting together.
A 2015 summary report of results from my dissertation fieldwork, in Inuktitut and English, is available here. This work led to the publication of a policy report on food security in Nunavik.
Hillemann, F., Beheim, B. and Ready, E. 2023. Socio-economic predictors of Inuit hunting
choices and their implications for climate change adaptation. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.
Collings, P., Ready, E., and Medina-Ramírez, O., 2023. An ethnographic model of stress and stress management in two Canadian Inuit communities. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology.
Ready, E., 2022. Ilagiit, parts of each other: Scale and Inuit social relations. In Scale Matters: The Quality of Quantity in Human Social Relationships. T. Widlok and M. Dores Cruz, editors. Transcript Verlag.
Jones, J.H., Ready, E. and Pisor, A.C. 2021. Want climate-change adaptation? Evolutionary theory can help. American Journal of Human Biology.
Ready, E. and Collings, P. 2021. “All the problems in the community are multifaceted and related to each other”: Inuit concerns in an era of climate change. American Journal of Human Biology.
Ready, E. and Power, E.A. 2021. Measuring reciprocity; Double sampling, concordance, and network construction. Network Science.
Ready, E. and Price, M.H. 2021. Human behavioral ecology and niche construction. Evolutionary Anthropology.
Based on consultation with community leaders, our current practice is to aim for all project publications to be open access, with access to project data subject to a data use agreement, which depending on the intended use may require additional community consultation. Requests for educational uses involving Inuit students will be prioritized. Please send requests to Elspeth Ready (contact below). Where possible, recent papers provide simulated datasets for the purposes of replication.