New Paper! Sewing and Inuit Women's Health
"Sewing and Inuit women's health in the Canadian Arctic' is 'in press' in Social Science & Medicine. The paper reports on research conducted as part of the Nunamin Illihakvia: learning from the land project funded by the Climate Change and Health Adaptation Program (CCHAP), Indigenous Services Canada, and led by the Ulukhaktok Community Corporation (UCC). Researchers Kristin Emanuelsen, Donna Akhiatak and Susie Memogana examined the role of sewing in Inuit women's health with a cohort of 30 women in Ulukhaktok.
The research reveals that sewing contributes to participant’s health and the collective health of the community in several ways including: pride and sense of accomplishment; cultural identity; relaxation, decompression, and socialization; and spirituality and healing. As a cultural practice, sewing is about older generations teaching younger generations about their identity, who they are and where they come from. For some participants, sewing is a way through which they express their culture. Sewing brings people together at a time when social isolation is becoming more apparent, and gives women the chance to learn vital, tangible skills that continue to have social, economic, and cultural importance. Sewing is also a form of healing that helps women ease their minds and focus on a challenging and productive task that brings them satisfaction, self-worth, and value. The paper concludes that sewing is important for cultural continuity, enabling Inuit to both practice and carry-on their culture, and contributing positively to individual and the collective health of the community.