ANGAKKUQ Taqukaq – Atka

Welcome to the home of the ANGAKKUQ.

In Inuit language ANGAKKUQ is a shaman, a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of good and evil spirits and is the intellectual and spiritual figure among the Inuit who corresponds to a healer or medicine man/woman.

Amongst the Inuit, there are notions comparable to laws:

  • PIQUJAIT … Things to Do
  • MALIGAIT … Things to Follow
  • TIRIGUSUUSIIT … Things to Avoid

If these three are not obeyed, then the ANGAKKUQ may need to intervene with the offending party in order to avoid harmful consequence to the person or group.

Breaking these laws or taboos was seen as the cause of misfortune, such as bad weather, accidents, or unsuccessful hunts.

In order to pinpoint the cause of such misfortune, the ANGAKKUQ would undertake a spirit-guided journey outside of their body. They would discover the cause of the misfortune on this journey. Once they returned from the journey, the ANGAKKUQ would question people involved in the situation, and, under the belief that they already knew who was responsible, the people being questioned would often confess. This confession alone could be declared the solution to the problem, or acts of penance such as cleaning the urine pots or swapping wives might be necessary.

The ANGAKKUQ of the central Inuit participate in an annual ceremony to appease the mythological figure SEDNA, the Sea Woman.

SEDNA The Sea Woman
SEDNA The Sea Woman

The Inuit believed that SEDNA became angry when her taboos were broken, and the only way to appease her was for an ANGAKKUQ to travel in spirit to the underworld where she lived, ADLIVUN, and smooth out her hair. According to myth, this was of great assistance to SEDNA because she lacks fingers.

The ANGAKKUQ would then beg or fight with SEDNA to ensure that his people would not starve, and the Inuit believed that his pleading and apologies on behalf of his people would allow the animals to return and hunters to be successful.

After returning from this spirit journey, communities in which the rite was practiced would have communal confessions, and then celebration.

Throughout the following pages we will try to convey the LEARNINGS OF TAQUKAQ-ATKA accordingly to the Inuit basic laws.



ANGAKKUQ role in Inuit society.

Both women and men could become an ANGAKKUQ, although it was rarer for women to do so.

The process for becoming an ANGAKKUQ varied widely. The son of a current ANGAKKUQ might be trained by his father to become one as well. Alternatively, a young man or woman who exhibited a predilection or power that made them stand out might be trained by an experienced mentor.

There are also instances of ANGAKKUQ claiming to have been called to the role through dreams or visions. Mistreated orphans or people who had survived hard times might also become ANGAKKUQ with the help of the spirits of their dead loved ones.

Training to become an ANGAKKUQ consisted of acculturation to the rites and roles necessary for the position, as well as instruction in the special language of the ANGAKKUQ, which consisted largely of an archaic vocabulary and oral tradition that was shared across much of the Arctic areas the Inuit occupied.

During their training, the ANGAKKUQ would also gain a familiar or spirit guide who would be visible only to them. This guide, called a TUURNGAQ, would at times give them extraordinary powers.

Inuit stories tell of ANGAKKUQ who could run as fast as caribou, or who could fly, with the assistance of their TUURNGAQ.

The ANGAKKUQ would be either stabbed or shot, receiving no wound because of the intervention of their TUURNGAQ, thus proving their power.

Until spiritual guidance or assistance was needed, an ANGAKKUQ lived a normal life for an Inuit, participating in society as a normal person. But when sickness needed to be cured, or divination of the causes of various misfortunes was needed, the ANGAKKUQ would be called on.

The services of an ANGAKKUQ might also be required to interpret dreams.If they were called to perform actions that helped the entire village, the work was usually done freely. But if they were called to help an individual or family, they would usually receive remuneration for their efforts.



ANGAKKUQ invites you to embrace the words and teachings in this site as a reminder to go within and to awaken the power in you, and bring it out into the open and taste the sweetness of life and living.

“Try to understand life less and propose to enjoy it more fully. Everything in this life is a mystery …
Your greatest discovery, your greatest understanding arises when you accept that you can not understand everything, that we are immersed in a world full of surprises, mysteries, enigmas and prodigies.
When your Being becomes more aware of this, it also becomes wiser because it no longer seeks understanding … now you can live and enjoy life better.”

That TAQUKAQ – ATKA be always within and with you …

Sincerely from the heart …



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