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2015 Theme: Tuq&urausiit/Ilaruhiriigut

This year’s theme is tuq&urausiit/ilaruhiriigut (kinship terms). Traditional naming practices and the use of kinship terms are important in Inuit society. This theme was chosen to celebrate this tradition and promote its use today. This theme shows how our relationships, language, and culture are connected. 

What is Tuq&urausiit/Ilaruhiriigut?

Traditionally, Inuit do not call each other by given names. Instead, they use tuq&urausiit (turk-thloo-raw-seet)—kinship terms. To “tuq&urauq” someone is to call them by the appropriate kinship term based on their namesakes and unique relationships with each other. This is a way to show respect and foster closeness within families and communities. This tradition is still very strong today, although not as many people use it as in the past. 

Tuq&urausiit is a term used by Inuit to address our relatives, acknowledging the relationships and kinships that bind us. Inuit use tuq&urausiit to show respect and foster closeness within our families. Naming keeps our family histories alive and encourages us to work together and rely on each other through hardship. Tuq&urausiit also helps to promote healthier communities, resulting in less crime and violence. However, the custom of tuq&urausiit has quickly been disappearing. 

~ Pelagie Owlijoot and Louise Flaherty, Inuit Kinship and Naming Customs (Inhabit Media, 2013)


Some Suggested Activities for Communities

Here are some suggestions for promoting knowledge of tuq&urausiit/ilaruhiriigut (kinship terms) in your community:

  • Invite elders to talk on local radio about kinship terms, naming practices, and their own names;
  • Organize a community group to record local kinship terminology;
  • Encourage community members to use kinship terms throughout Uqausirmut Quviasuutiqarniq;
  • Organize a community event and invite knowledgeable community members to talk about this tradition and share local kinship terms; and,
  • Host a family tree workshop, helping participants create family trees with kinship terms in your community’s dialect.



For more information about any of these activities to or to get printed copies, contact Tocasie Burke at (867) 975-5528 or