TAJARNIIT is an independent documentary series that explores the myriad aspects of Inuit culture revolving around the 'natsiq' (ringed seal), directed and produced by Myna Ishulutak. 

A short version was produced in the past, but the footage that was cut from that version contains so much rare and precious knowledge from Inuit Elders that the director is now producing a long version of the documentary series.

This funding will allow us to edit the raw footage (almost 100 hours) into a long version and make it available online.

Director Myna Ishulutak's statement about the Tajarniit project:

"Many Inuit, especially our youth, no longer know how to live respectfully with the animals that nourish us or how to communicate with the Elders who enrich our culture. This collaborative project shares many unexpected uses of seal meat, skins, and even bones. Tajarniit astounds all participants, contributors and fellow collaborators with Inuit traditions of intelligent design, artistry and skill. Participating youth learned new practical skills, but they also learned about how we as Inuit share our knowledge, and how we love and respect each other, including our Elders.
Today, some of the Elders involved in the project have passed away and their knowledge is gone with them. The Tajarniit footage holds and preserves the traditions that have helped Inuit to live on the land for centuries. As a filmmaker, an Inuk and a mother, it is vital for me to make this knowledge available to our young generation."

Topics of the series:

1. Avaala - when hunters sing to the seal to put them to sleep or calm them while being hunted
2. Itta - making a seal skin tent
3. Inuit knowledge and beliefs
4. Qajaq - making a seal skin qajaq

This Doc Series is an independent production made from original footage shot by Tajarniit Productions, a former Nunavut-based production company founded in 2007 by Myna Ishulutak, Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, Stacey Aglok-MacDonald, and Jolene Arreak. 

Myna Ishulutak's Biography

Myna’s family lived on the land for much longer than the vast majority of Inuit, who had already moved into communities. This gave her some extremely valuable life experiences that are uncommon for an Inuk of her generation. Her childhood story is recounted in Professor Jean Briggs’ riveting book about how Inuit parents raise children to think and feel Inuit, called Inuit Morality Play: the emotional education of a three-year old. The book’s central character, Maata, is based on Myna.

Myna currently works for CBC, where she co-hosts an Inuktitut-language show, Tausunni, as well as working as a producer and an editor.

In all of her projects, Myna takes every opportunity to bring elders and youth together. This is also true in her work as a filmmaker, where her focus is on Inuit cultural documentaries and Inuktitut language films. One of Myna’s early projects was co-founding the film company Tajarniit Productions.

In addition to her multimedia work, Myna has extensive experience as an Inuktitut language instructor. She previously worked with the Pirurvik Centre in Iqaluit, as well as with Nunavut Arctic College, the Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth (CLEY), the Department of Justice in Nunavut, and Fenbrook Institution in Gravenhurst, ON as a treatment program instructor. She has diplomas in Inuit Studies (Language and Culture Program) and Social Work from Nunavut Arctic College.

2020 – Tupiq – Documentary | 16 minutes
2016 - Qipisa - Documentary | 36 minutes
2008 - Tajarniit - Short Doc series | Overall length: 30 minutes

Awards - Qipisa
Emerging Filmmaker Award –Montreal First People’s Festival 2016 (Montreal 2016)
Gil Cardinal Memorial Award - Best documentary - DreamSpeakers Festival (Edmonton 2016)

Selections - Qipisa
Available Light Film Festival - Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada / February 2016
Tournée du Cinéma Québécois - Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada / May 2016
Montreal First People’s Festival - Montreal, Quebec, Canada / August 2016
Festival de Cinéma de la Ville de Québec - Quebec City, Quebec, Canada / September 2016
Dreamspeakers International Indigenous Film Festival - Edmonton, Alberta, Canada / September 2016
Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival - Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada / November 2016
Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois - Montreal, Quebec, Canada / February 2017
Vancouver International Women's Film Festival - Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada / March

Festival International du film ethnographique du Québec - Montreal & Quebec City, Quebec, Canada / March 2017
Festival International du Film Insulaire de Groix - Groix, France / August 2017
Native Spirit Film Festival - London, England / October 2017
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Myna Ishulutak 
Iqaluit, NU