A grandmother, daughter, and granddaughter take us on a remarkable journey in which the cycles of life - childhood, adolescence, marriage, birthing and child rearing - are presented against the contrasting experiences of three successive generations. Their memories and reflections give us poignant insight into the history of the people of the new territory of Nunavut. Apphia Awa, who was born in 1931, experienced the traditional life on the land while Rhoda Katsak, Apphia's daughter, was part of the transitional generation who were sent to government schools. In contrast to both, Sandra Katsak, Rhoda's daughter, has grown up in the settlement of Pond Inlet among the conveniences and tensions of contemporary northern communities - video games and coffee shops but also drugs and alcohol. During the last years of Apphia's life Rhoda and Sandra began working to reconnect to their traditional culture and learn the art of making traditional skin clothing. Through the storytelling in Saqiyuq, Apphia, Rhoda, and Sandra explore the transformations that have taken place in the lives of the Inuit and chart the struggle of the Inuit to reclaim their traditional practices and integrate them into their lives. Nancy Wachowich became friends with Rhoda Katsak and her family during the early 1990s and was able to record their stories before Apphia's death in 1996. Saqiyuq will appeal to everyone interested in the Inuit, the North, family bonds, and a good story.
"A moving account of three generations in the arctic that sends a fascinating mixture of messages about its hardships and it riches." Hugh Brody "In this wonderful tapestry of stories, cast by memory and illuminated by wisdom, there is a mystery that sustains a powerful Inuit unity. These three life histories - elusive as the Arctic itself - shine as brightly as constellations in the long winter darkness." Canadian Geographic "An absorbing collection of stories from the lives of three Inuit women." MacLeans "An enthralling series of stories ... readers will take great delight in following the footsteps of the storytellers as they weave their way from tale to tale, some filled with sorrow, others with bewilderment and joy." Alberta News Review