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Inuit Mittatiin – That's Funny!

Humour in the Inuit culture is as unique as the Arctic is in Canada. Primarily the foundation of Inuit humour has been identified as being very community and relationship based. In small communities where everyone knows each other, knows the lay of the land and the idiosyncrasies of their small society, humour becomes very intimate.

For example, Rebecca Veevee the host, tells a poignant story in her standup routine about feeling very rich today as opposed to how she felt as a young girl growing up on the land. The audience waits. She pulls out a roll of toilet paper and holds it up for all to see. Now I am rich she exclaims – now I have toilet paper. The audience dissolves into laughter.

This comedy bit is about the intimate details of Inuit life in transition during the 50’s. It brings the audience back to the feelings of those days and compares them to today where toilet paper is a basic and not restricted to “rich people”. This is also a gentle wink at non-Inuit audiences that may have preconceived images of Inuit life today and in the past.

Inuit humour is often extremely elusive in it’s capture. Whereas in southern Canada whole industries are built around humour and can be consumed by an audience on whim, in the north humour is part of everyday life and consumed live within the intimate details of a mundane routine. Community gatherings and the community radio programs are the only venues where this humour is appreciated en masse. Although there are usually one or two people who are recognized as the funniest – everyone gets involved and displays their own unique brand of humour.


Language: Inuktitut
English, French subtitles
Audience: General
Licensed by: Aboriginal Peoples Television Network