The remarkable history of a pocket of the remote Arctic, and the oral testimony from the last Inuit elders to live there.
A coastal region of rolling tundra just west of Hudson Bay, Ukkusikslaik was established as a national park in 2003. In earlier times this historic region was the principal hunting ground for several Inuit families and was criss-crossed by missionaries, Mounties, and traders. Since the 1980s, Arctic writer and researcher David F. Pelly has been exploring this region on foot and by sea-kayak, and with Inuit friends, while documenting Inuit traditional knowledge of the land. In this book, he presents the stories of Inuit elders and includes historical records to provide a complete history of this extraordinary corner of our northern landscape, Ukkusiksalik.
David F. Pelly is an explorer of the North’s cultural landscape and author of several books and articles on the land and its people, including The Old Way North, Sacred Hunt, and Thelon: A River Sanctuary. Much of his writing is based on oral history shared with him by Inuit elders. In 2012, he was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal in recognition of his long-standing efforts to preserve Inuit oral history and traditional knowledge. After many years living in the Arctic, he now lives in the woods near Ottawa.
In this book, Pelly weaves together stories from Inuit elders with historical accounts to provide the complete history of Ukkusiksalik. The reader sees a new way of seeing the world through the oral traditions of telling stories through the generations for centuries.
What I take away from this volume...is the rich and layered and often quite stories from the elders, talking to us over the arc of decades about a time that, for all practical purposes, no longer exists in Canada. That these stories, most often passed on by oral traditions have been collected and published is an enormous gift to all of us.
This book will be very useful for people traveling to Ukkusiksalik National Park (everyone planning a trip there should read it), as well as to students and teachers. It will also appeal to those who enjoy learning about the Arctic and its history.