As we come to the end of Women’s History month, it seems appropriate to write about the magical and mystical powers of women. This may not seem all that surprising – many of us can still remember the eyes that our mothers possessed in the backs of their heads, their incredible ability to know everything, and the special skill that mothers have to always make us feel better when we are sad, sick, or lonely. Even a woman’s ability to multi-task can seem quite magical – and this is only amplified by the current pandemic that has asked women to take on an even heavier burden. But for indigenous circumpolar people of the Arctic, “women’s magic” is actually key to their survival.
For most indigenous groups around the world, there are gender-based roles and skills, and these skills are taught by their elders in order to pass on their traditions from generation to generation. The same is true for the Inuit-Yupik of the arctic. There are numerous indigenous groups in the arctic, and to be completely correct, we would name them all by their specific linguistic group. However, it is generally accepted to call circumpolar indigenous people by the name Inuit-Yupik.