Sakiasi Qaunaq was born in 1942, at Alangnarjuk, a campsite near Igloolik, but has lived most of his life in the Arctic Bay area. His grandmother told him stories as a child?including The Orphan and the Polar Bear?and fostered in him a love for traditional legends that persists to this day. In his youth the stories were told for entertainment, but today he feels their re-telling is crucial to sustaining Inuit traditions and culture.
In the world of Inuit traditional stories, animals and humans are not such different creatures. Animals can speak to, understand, and form relationships with humans.
In The Orphan and the Polar Bear an orphaned boy who is abandoned on the sea ice by a group of cruel hunters is discovered and adopted by a polar bear elder. While living in the polar …