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Ngeyvtaiq is the name for the traditional religion of Ngeyvger, and also for the ethical precepts of that religion.


Ethical precepts

The term "Ngeyvtaiq" may refer more specifically to the ethical precepts of Ngeyvtaiq. First, one must be connected to some degree to one or more traditional Ngeyv lifestyles, called the Four Corners. The Four Corners consist of whaling and sealing, fishing, hunting and trapping, and reindeer herding. Second, one must be initiated into traditional Ngeyv religion (Ngeyvtaiq in the broader sense). Third, one must practice traditional Ngeyv virtues of humility, self-reliance, respect for nature, and generosity, and obey Ngeyv jurisprudence.

Four Corners

The Four Corners still make up the backbone of the Ngeyv economy. A large number of people in urban centers are still connected to those industries—for instance, a mechanic may repair motors for whaling boats or for snowmobiles used by hunters and herders. These people are still considered sufficiently connected to the Four Corners. Since Ngeyvger is a predominantly rural country, most people in urban centers have family who live in the country. These people are expected to travel to help their family during the peak period of the year (e.g. when whale migration routes pass by their village, or during reindeer calving season).


Ngeyv religion is initiatory and esoteric, with induction performed by sieŋaan, as soon as a child is able to speak complete sentences or an adult foreigner sincerely wishes to join Ngeyv society.

Ritual specialists

Ritual specialists of the Ngeyv religion are called sieŋaan. The sieŋaan leads lay practitioners to commune with the spirits while the sieŋaan themself seeks to gain greater awareness of the spiritual and free themself from the artificial boundaries created by human society and perception. The sieŋaan may take on ritual guises and emulate the behavior of various boreal and arctic animals to further this end. The great majority of practitioners of traditional Ngeyv religion are lay practitioners, and are held to the standards of behavior of Ngeyvtaiq. Sieŋaans, however, engage in transgressive behavior during rituals and in their religious practice.

Practices of the sieŋaan include entering a trance to enter the realm of the spirits, as done in the sun's return dance. This particular pratice is thought to be a holdover from older stages of the Ngeyv religion, in which humans (and other sentient beings) were seen as inherently and unchangably distinct from the spiritual realm, rather than being partly spiritual beings themselves who are able to refine their spiritual awareness.

Traditionally, the sieŋaan also serves as a healer, communing with the spirits to diagnose diseases or find lost items. This practice is much less common in cities but survives intact in rural areas, where people have much less access to modern doctors.

Humanistic Ngeyvtaiq

Humanistic Ngeyvtaiq is a modern variation of the Ngeyv religion, which rejects belief in the supernatural. Instead, the practices and precepts of Ngeyv religion are thought to enhance followers' connection to and respect for the natural world. Some rituals are modified to be more consistent with atheism and/or agnosticism, some are kept intact with the story behind them changed, and some are left out entirely.