About the Author

Siobhan Arnatsiaq-Murphy

Siobhan Arnatsiaq-Murphy has been a traditional Inuit drum dancer and choreographer for over twenty years. She also earned a law degree and has worked as a policy analyst. Siobhan lives in Iqaluit and has three wonderful daughters.

Books by this Author
The Breathing Hole | Aglu “??
Excerpt

FRANKLIN: Welcome. TU-NGA-SU-GI... (You are welcome)
Ajjiaq returns the handshake in his fashion while, Panigayak, still uncertain, stands back. Franklin points to himself.   FRANKLIN: My name is John Franklin. I’m Commander of this Expedition. We consists of the HMS Erebus and Terror, and I am properly addressed as ‘Sir’. This is Officer James Holloway, second in command.   Holloway is not keen on shaking hands.

FRANKLIN: (pointing to Ajjiaq) You, your name uh...Ki-nau-vit.   AJJIAQ: Ajjiaq...(points to Panigayak)...Panigayak.   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) Ask if they have seen two bears pass here?   FRANKLIN: And what’s your business Aj-jiaq and Pa-na-ga-yak...(to Holloway) how do you say ‘what’s your business?’   HOLLOWAY: I don’t know their words.   AJJIAQ: (to Franklin) Ta-ku-vi-hi Mar-ruungnik Na-nuuk Qaangiutiruuq. (Did you see two bears pass?)   FRANKLIN: I wish Morshead would get here – he picked up some of their language working with Parry in ’25 when they lost the Fury.   Enter Crew #1 carrying a tray with a porcelain teapot, cup and saucer, and sugar. He will pour a steaming cup of tea for Franklin and Holloway. Crew #2 hauls in the bulky Daguerreotype.   HOLLOWAY: Ah, tea - ‘Tea is the cup of life.’   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq, points to the Erebus in the distance) Look at that huge boat.   AJJIAQ: (to Franklin) Ingna umiaaqjuaq angijuaaluk. Pigijahit? (That boat is very big. Is it your boat?)   FRANKLIN: I think that word umiaq means ‘boat’.   AJJIAQ: (to Panigayak) Maybe these men are the whalers my grandfather told stories about.   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) Ask him.   CARTER: They seem keen on our ship.   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) Let’s go to that boat!   AJJIAQ: (to Franklin) You... Arvagasuttiuviit? (Are you a whaler)   CREW #1: (to Franklin) Your tea, Sir.   FRANKLIN: Thank you (to Ajjiaq) Pardon?   AJJIAQ: (to Franklin) You...Arvagasuttiuviit? (Are you a whaler?)   FRANKLIN: (to Holloway) What’s he trying to say?   CREW #1: (to Franklin) Sugar, Sir.   HOLLOWAY: He’s saying ‘you’ - ‘you’ as in ‘you’.   FRANKLIN: (to Ajjiaq, points to his tea cup) Tea, gentlemen?   AJJIAQ: (to Franklin) You...(pointing to their boat) Arvagasutiunut? (Is that a whaling boat)?   FRANKLIN: (to Ajjiaq) Will you have a cup of tea?   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) They don’t understand.   HOLLOWAY: (to Franklin) They don’t understand, Sir.   CREW #1: I’ll get more cups and saucers.   Exit Crew #1.   AJJIAQ: (to Franklin, making the motions of a whale swimming with his hands and body) YOU.   FRANKLIN: Me...my hands...swimming. Dear Lord – your hands swimming?
CARTER: FISH.   HOLLOWAY: Fish, yes! I think he means fish, Sir – wonders if we want to fish?   FRANKLIN: No, Aj-jiaq, my work is not fishing – my work is discovery and observation for I am at heart a scientist.   Ajjiaq reaches out and points to Franklin’s Hanoverian Order of Knighthood that hangs as a collar chain.   AJJIAQ: (in Panigayak’s direction) This is shiny.   Holloway swats Ajjiaq’s hand away.

HOLLOWAY: Don’t touch!   Panigayak is inclined to take a swing at Holloway.   FRANKLIN: No need for that - enough!   AJJIAQ: (to Panigayak) Angajuk no no.   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) Don’t touch them.   FRANKLIN: (to Ajjiaq) This is the Hanoverian Order of Knighthood bestowed upon me in ‘33 -Carter, give these fellows some trinkets.   CARTER: Here fellas...   Carter takes a box from the trunk, flips it open and holds it out to the two hunters.   CARTER: ...help yourselves.
AJJIAQ: (to Carter) Hungaurat. (Beads)   Ajjiaq and Panigayk are helping themselves to the trinkets in the wooden box.   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) Take two of everything.   CARTER: (to Panigayak) Hey - only one each!   FRANKLIN: They are worthless trinkets, Carter.   AJJIAQ: (to Panigayak) Our wives will like these – they are bright like fish eggs.   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) Maybe they have whales in their boat.   FRANKLIN: U-mi-ak means boat, doesn’t it. (to Ajjiaq and Panigayk) Yes, that’s an umiak – the Erebus - a Hecla-class bomb vessel built by the Royal Navy
PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) Let’s go to the boat and get whale meat.   Ajjiaq and Panigayak start to leave.   FRANKLIN: Yes that’s our u-mi-aq - 370 tonnes, armed with two mortars and ten - Aj-jiaq where are you - (to Holloway) Where are they going?   HOLLOWAY: (to the hunters) Excuse me, Sir.   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) I’ll get our sled.   CARTER: Whoa there buddy - (stops Ajjiaq) don’t walk away when Sir John Franklin is addressing you?   PANIGAYAK: (spies the dead seal) A seal!
AJJIAQ: Seal!   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) Nuka, this is fresh, very fresh.   The two hunters kneel beside the seal as Ajjiaq uses his small bone knife to expertly slit open the abdomen, cut out a choice part and hand it to Panigayak who eats it.   FRANKLIN: A bear brought that to us as a...well, a gift - don’t mention that in your observations, Holloway – readers will think we’d a bit too much to drink.
HOLLOWAY: You’d think they’d have the decency to cook it first.   Ajjiaq offers some of the tastiest bits of the seal to everyone.   WICKERS: No thank you.
AJJIAQ: (to Franklin) Tinguit Mamaqtupanaluit (The liver is very tasty.)   BEAN: Thank you no.   PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) How can he resist the tastiest part!   FRANKLIN: Perhaps later.   CARTER: I’ll pass.
PANIGAYAK: (to Ajjiaq) Only idiots refuse the tastiest part.   Panigayak uses a wound pin on the seal to prevent more bleeding.   HOLLOWAY: What - are they going to sew up the seal? Savages, Sir – right ungodly savages.

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