For countless generations the narrative tradition was the only way of communicating the Inuits’ traditions and lifestyles. The stories of the Inuits’ outlook with regard to religion and life often contained morals with categorical commandments and prohibitions.
The stories thus helped to establish norms for people’s behaviour. For hundreds of years – perhaps even thousands – stories such as Navaranaaq, Kaassassuk and other well-known legends were passed on by word of mouth amongst the Inuit people in Alaska, across Canada and to Greenland, until eventually they were written down by people such as Knud Rasmussen.
COLLECTION OF MYTHS AND LEGENDS
The Arctic explorer Knud Rasmussen, who was born and grew up in Greenland, collected the Greenlandic myths and legends throughout the many years in which he travelled and lived in Greenland, as a result of which a large part of the country’s cultural history became available to readers in the rest of the world.
Today the book ‘Greenlandic Myths and Legends’ is read by a wide circle of people interested in myths. Both public and private companies in Greenland still look to the old tales for inspiration with regard to names, logos and art.