Life Among the Qallunaat is the story of Mini Aodla Freeman’s experiences growing up in the Inuit communities of James Bay and her journey in the 1950s from her home to the strange land and stranger customs of the Qallunaat, those living south of the Arctic. Her extraordinary story, sometimes humourous and sometimes heartbreaking, illustrates an Inuit woman’s movement between worlds and ways of understanding. It also provides a clear-eyed record of the changes that swept through Inuit communities in the 1940s and 1950s.
Mini Aodla Freeman was born in 1936 on Cape Hope Island in James Bay. At the age of sixteen, she began nurse's training at Ste. Therese School in Fort George, Quebec, and in 1957 she moved to Ottawa to work as a translator for the then Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources. Her memoir, Life Among the Qallunaat, was published in 1978 and has been translated into French, German, and Greenlandic.
“More than a candid look at our culture, the book is a vivid account of [Mini Aodla Freeman’s] childhood and adolescence, of Inuit customs, of the rules which ensure their physical and emotional survival.” — Carole Corbeil, Globe and Mail, December 28, 1978