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    The Art of Inuit Storytelling
    Zacharias Kunuk (b. 1957, Kapuivik near Igloolik) won the Camera d’or at Cannes 2001 for Isuma’s first feature, Atanarjuat The Fast Runner.

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    uploaded date: 11-11-2017

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Serapio Ittusarjuat Testimony

Click 'Read More' for English Translation of Testimony by Serapio Ittuksaarjuat, May 2008  

Peter Irniq: Serapio, welcome!

Serapio: I am very welcomel!

Peter Irniq: At that time, as an Amitturmiutaq, you were obviously born here.

Serapeio: I was apparently born between Iglulik and Sanirajak(Hall Beach). I remember slightly, living in Avvajja. From there, we were here in Iglulik. And then, we were living elsewhere. And at that point, I did not live in Iglulik again, when I was sent to out school. This was after the Government had relocated and gathered the people who live on the land at outpost camps.

Peter Irniq: When you were growing up, did you grow up as Inummarik+(a true Inuk)?

Serapio: Absolutely! Yes, I grew up as an Inummarik. When I would put on my kamiik(boots) in the morning, they would still be frozen. When it was becoming spring time, then you didn’t worry about it any more, in the day time.

Peter Irniq: How old were you when you went to school for the first time in Igluligaarjuk(Chesterfield Inlet)?

Serapio: Ten. I was 10 years old when I first went to school. The first ones that went to school were nine and 10 years old. There were 10 of us, that went to Igluligaarjuk.

Peter Irniq: What year was that?

Serapio: 1955 was the first time, we went there. There were already others that were there before us. Perhaps, four or so, who were there first.

Peter Irniq: When you went to school in Igluligaarjuk, how many of you were there from Iglulik?

Serapio: In total, there 10 of us from Iglulik. As there were no airstrips in those days, we flew on a float plane, that landed in the water, and that was the one that brought us there. As there was no Global Positioning Equipment in those days, we landed at a certain place, along the way, and we were there for about three days.

Peter Irniq: Prior to going to Igluligaarjuk, did you live in iglus, sod houses and tents in the summer time and traveled by dog teams? Is that the kind of lifestyle you had?

Serapio: Yes, this was the life that was followed, yes. We were on the other side at akkimaniq, on the other side on Baffin Island. We didn’t have too many parts for our outboard motor, so we were sailing with a sail, for what looked to be a long period of time. When we got here to Iglulik, we came here to learn that the students were just preparing to leave for Igluligaarjuk(Chesterfield Inlet).

Peter Irniq: When you got to Igluligaarjuk(Chesterfield Inlet) what did you see there for the first time?

Serapio: I didn’t see anything in particular but I noticed at that place we knew as Iglurjuaraaluk(the big house), there were a lot of people, that were gathering together. There were lots of people! That was the first time, I was among so many people.

Peter Irniq: You were at Turquetil Hall at that point?

Serapio: Yes, we were there. It was not totally finished. Girls and boys, had one place to sleep in. The third floor was to be the girl’s dorm but it was incomplete at this point, so we used part of it as our school.

Peter Irniq: What were you learning at the school?

Serapio: We were learning to speak English immediately, upon arrival to the school, by reading these small little reading books…with a little dog, I remember a yellow and red colors in the book(Dick and Jane reading book)..perhaps, you have seen those books as well, (when you went there), so we used these to learn.

Peter Irniq: So, in addition to learning about English language, were you also learning about adding arithmetic?

Serapio: Yes…we were taught about arithmetic and told to be with certain groups, with higher abilities or lower abilities learning about arithmetic.

Peter Irniq: Why were we sent to school in Igluligaarjuk(Chesterfield Inet), do you have an understanding as to why?

Serapio: I don’t totally understand it but..maybe the government thought, Inuit should go to school. I don’t know why but only the Roman Catholic children were sent to that school. Others, who didn’t attend churches at Roman Catholic Church, were sent off to Arviat. That was what I was aware of at that time.

Peter Irniq: When you were going to school there, was there a drastic change to your life style?

Serapio: Yes, there was quite a drastic change. The food was very different. The food that we ate as Inuit or Inuit food, was very good for Inuit health, and it was no longer there at the hostel, that was quite a big change from home. Especially the first year, I felt very, very poor!

Peter Irniq: Could you give some examples of how your life changed when attending school in Chestefield Inlet?

Serapio: The first year that was not a great change was the fact that we were together. The second year was more noticeable. When you have sisters for example, and girls have brothers, you were not allowed to see them. This was a drastic change for us, as relatives. It had a lot of impact on relatives. We were very much separated, and not being able to see each other.

Peter Irniq: So, you were not able to see your sisters or your sisters not able to see their brothers?

Serapio: Yes, that was what we were to follow.

Peter Irniq: If for example, you were seen talking to your relatives, what would have happened to you?

Serapio: Punishment, we were going to be punished, absolutely! Or, you would be sent off to bed. Or you were told to stay “over there” and “not move”. Those were not and are not the part of the culture of the Inuit.

Peter Irniq: Perhaps, we were told to become Whitemen too much?

Serapio: I think, yes, yes. Even inside the classroom, you were not to speak Inuktitut. You were not even allowed to joke, as oppose to Inuit culture.

Peter Irniq: Since, you were told not to speak Inuit language in the classroom, what would have happened to you, if you were caught speaking Inuktitut inside the classroom?

Serapio: I would have had to write what I said, quite a few times on the blackboard. Or, I would have been slapped severely! You would have been hit with that stupid yard stick, on your hand!

Peter Irniq: With a huge yard stick?

Serapio: Yes, very big yard stick!

Peter Irniq: Was it very painful?

Serapio: When you got hit with it, it was quite painful.

Peter Irniq: We were told, directed to never to speak Inuktitut. So, you would have had to speak English all the time, in the classroom?

Serapio: Yes, we would try to speak English all the time. Having learned the language, we now try to speak English, as a result.

Peter Irniq: Did you get letters from your parents or did you used to phone them?

Serapio: We used to try and talk to our parents through the Roman Catholic Mission(using Very High Frequency Radios)as there were absolutely no telephones, this was done at only during Christmas time. The thing was, we did not get letters very much at all. It was impossible to get letters that often.

Peter Irniq: Why, was this, was it because of lack of airplanes to the communities?

Serapio: Air planes did not come very often at all.

Peter Irniq: And that was the only means of transporation?

Serapio: Yes, airplane was the only means of transportation, when you were being sent off to the school. It was not easy in those days. The ones that came from Pond Inlet, apparently did not go home, for a few years. They did not get to see their parents at all, because of lack of airplanes.

Peter Irniq: It seems to me that I remember when you were sending letters home, or the letters that you got from your home, they would be read before they were sent out, or when they come to you, they were read, before they gave them to you. Is that your recollection too?

Serapio: I don’t remember for myself personally.

Peter Irniq: With the English language which you’ve learned from Chesterfield Inlet, how much useful is that to you today?

Serapio: It is useful, apparently. Just as an example, if I had not gone to school there, I would not be able to work as janitor. Things I’ve learned from there, they have taught me a great deal about hygienic(sp). If I had not gone to school, I would not have been able to work in an area like that.

Peter Irniq: To this day, we hear people that went to Chesterfield Inlet to go to school, they were not allowed to speak Inuktitut. Were you taught about Inuit culture?

Serapio: We learn a very little about Inuit culture. We had an Inuk, carpenter, at that time or instructor. He was very nice man. If it weren’t for him, we would not have learned how to make fish nets. We learned how to make fish net, as we were taught by an Inuk instructor.

Peter Irniq: How about, Inuit oriented courses, such as traveling by dog team, or learning to build an iglu(igloo) or trapping for example, were you taught these courses as well?

Serapio: Yes, trapping is something we grew up. We were allowed to go see our traps once a week, this part was a very useful course for us.

Peter Irniq: Did you walk on the land for this?

Serapio: Yes, we would walked to the areas, where we thought, there would be some foxes. We would set our traps in areas of our own choosing.

Peter Irniq: You already knew a lot of these things, before you went to Chesterfield Inlet, is that correct?

Serapio: Yes, I already knew, how to trap, I already knew, where to put traps, where they would not be covered with snow or anything like that..I already knew about this trade, prior to going to school at Chesterfield Inlet.

Peter Irniq: When you were being sent off to school, I wonder, if this situation when you were being sent off, was quite difficult for your parents?

Serapio: It must have been quite difficult. Some people’s children would all be taken away, in which they had no more children, at home.

Peter Irniq: If parents had many children, five or so, they would have been depleted of theire childrfen, as soon as they become school age?

Serapio: Yes. Yes. Even the ones, who looked too small to go, before they became six year, they would be sent there.

Peter Irniq: Perhaps, some were still in their mother’s amautis(mother’s carrying parka for babies)?

Serapio: They were no longer in their mother’s amautis but..I remember my cousin, he was still not quite able to speak Inuktitut fluently, when he was taken away. He was very, very small, when he was included to go away.

Peter Irniq: He was suddenly separated from his parents?

Serapio: Yes, separated, instantly!

Peter Irniq: Today, we hear a lot about what happened at the residential school there, or we hear from First Nations, that children were often sexually abused, when they were little children. Are you aware of this and can you tell a story about it?

Serapio: Yes, however, more were abused like that, it is quite a fact. Yes, we were punished by the authorities, the priests, not to do it. But, why would those people say that, maybe, they reversed their stories, to indicate, that they were lead to do it. The victims, were punished for doing this.

Peter Irniq: Are you aware that the children were abused by the Grey nuns, the priests and Christian Brothers? Can you say?

Serapio: Perhaps, by all of them.

Peter Irniq: Why would these victims not complain to anyone, to some Inuit?

Serapio: Perhaps because, as children, as our culture, we were told not to complain, this is something that we were holding on to more, at that time. Also, maybe it was too embarrassing to talk about.

Peter Irniq: Even if we could have complain to someone, I wonder, would they have believed us?

Serapio: I don’t know, perhaps no one would have believed us. The first Qablunaat, would looked upon with a great deal of authority. They were looked upon as people, who never made mistakes. That was how it was. Perhaps, they would have believed one of them.

Peter Irniq: There was also really no one to tell in those days. Our parents were so far away from us, when we were in school.

Serapio: There was really no one to complain to, really in those days. There was really no one, who could help us, there was really no one, who we identified with, and no one mentioned anyone’s name. There was really no one, whose name was mentioned to help, even up to the recent times in the 70’s.

Peter Irniq: With the schooling experience you received in Chesterfield, you know, a need to speak English and not being able to speak Inuktitut, does this a lot of impact on you?

Serapio: Yes, it has had a lot of impact. It’s difficult to measure, but it has a lot of impact in terms of knowing what to do and moving forward.

Peter Irniq: This issue of sexual abuse, it has had a lot of impact on people. Does it have a lot of impact too, especially with your ability to think?

Serapio: Yes, since it has had a lot of impact, just to survive, it has been very difficult. Perhaps, it is because of it, I had some illness.

Peter Irniq: Since this issue has had a lot of impact on Survivors, how have you moved forward in terms of healing? Have you had a healing journey as well?

Serapio: Yes, I have had a healing journey with this. I went to have a healing journey in Chesterfield Inlet, to be together with all of the participants and those who actually live there. This was a great big help to me. (There was a reunion held in July 1993 of Sir Joseph Bernier Federal Day School Survivors in Chesterfield Inlet).

Peter Irniq: How did you do this?

Serapio: There were many of us, who took part in healing. When it became too difficult, then a counsellor was provided for us.

Peter Irniq: This healing journey has been very difficult. What was the most difficult part about healing for you?

Serapio: Some of this journey had to do with some people, who are no longer with us. Some of the very difficult part of this is forgiveness. First I have to try to forgive myself as well. Since that healing journey, we also had other healing journey for a while, through meetings or get-togethers. We were also given common experience payment for this, I don’t see this as part of healing at all. It doesn’t have any impact on healing, what-so-ever!

Peter Irniq: Does it help a tiny bit?

Serapio: Yes, it does help. But, it doesn’t help at all towards healing.

Peter Irniq: Since attending that reunion in Chesterfield Inlet, how did it help your own healing journey?

Serapio: It became much healthier, even though, it was not a hundred percent. In 2004, I was in Chesterfield Inlet, there, my body became very much healthier. I was well rested and no longer tired. And whatever pain I was feeling, it was no longer there. The land, the environement, can have make you like that.

Peter Irniq: The healing journey did have a lot of impact with our fellow survivors, would you say that?

Serapio: Yes, I can say that but, if an individual recognizes that he/she wants to heal, then they can heal. If I try to tell a person to take a healing journey, he/she won’t do it, unless, they themselves feel, they want to heal, according to their own feelings. This is apparently, a solution.

Peter Irniq: Since that Reunion in Chesterfield Inlet in 1993, and the Bishop of Hudson’s Bay Diocese, came here to Iglulik February 27, 1996, to apologise to the survivors of residential school, did his apology helped?

Serapio: I did not see his apology in Chesterfield Inlet. When he came here to Iglulik, I did not see his apology, both verbal or written. Nor did I hear anything about his apology. Since he did not apologise, his comments did not have any help to me what-so-ever. Perhaps, it did something to others, I don’t know.

Peter Irniq: The Canadian Government sent us to residential schools, both the First Nations and Inuit. What do you think, they should do? Should they apologise to us? Should the Prime Minister of Canada, apologise?

Serapio: I think, they need to apologise. It was with their monies, we went to school. When we turned 16, they stopped us, and there was no other school open for us at that time. This was before, Churchill Vocational Center was opened. As a result, we were placed anywhere, and doing nothing, it seems to me that they should apologise about this as well. It was like, they taught us how to speak English, and then, kicked us out, as soon as we turned 16 years, this didn’t seem to make any sense at all.

Peter Irniq: If the Prime Minister of Canada could apologise and say, “I am sorry, they things were done to you, when you were still small little children. Since these kinds of things would not have been done by our parents, such as severe punishments, or we say, we have a lot of culture, language, loss of parenting skills, and we were sexually abused. We were also mentally abused. Should the Prime Minister of Canada, appear before Television cameras and apologise for the wrong doings at Residential Schools? Would this big a help towards healing on the part of the Aboriginal People of Canada?

Serapio: Yes, it would help, towards healthier people. At that time, Prime Minister of Canada was Defenbaker. Since he was the big boss, we were sent to residential school there. Since he was the big boss, he sent a representative to Chesterfield Inlet, when I was there, one that became your fellow-Yellowknifer, later on in the 1970’s. His name was Mr. Devitt.

Peter Irniq: Yes, I saw him there.

Serapio: Yes, he was the big boss of education around then, and later in years, he also was a big boss with education system in Yellowknife for the Northwest Territories(in the 1970’s). He was the only one, who seemed to help a lot of survivors.

Peter Irniq: Now that we have Nunavut, and with the education system that we got from there, did this help us to achieve Nunavut?

Serapio: Since obtaining Nunavut, we didn’t seem to have receive anything, such as a house to recognize the creation of Nunavut. If we would have had a building to recognize then, it would have seemed that we got Nunavut, it would have been a symbolic gesture.

Peter Irniq: What do you think about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, whereby we can go and tell stories about what happened to us, as former students and survivors? They are supposed to be traveling all over Canada to hear stories from us? If we can talk to them, would you go and talk to them?

Serapaio: I would try to go and talk to them, yes.

Peter Irniq: Why?

Serapaio: In part, we were not at all prepared by anyone prior to going to go to school.

Peter Irniq: Do you think, all Canadians have a right to know about what happened to us?

Serapio: Once we have an agreement on similar stories to tell, then I think, it could move forward. I am speaking about Metis, Indians, Inuvialuit, Central Arctic People, if we don’t all agree on what to say, then we would probably have some difficulties. They would be in a similar situation as me.

Peter Irniq: Since, we were taken away as little children, from our parents, and our parents suffered a great deal, as a result. Would you agree to have your little children taken away at that very small age?

Serapio: If it will take a long time to be like it used to be, I would not agree to have them sent away. I have learn my lesion from this. I would not agree to have them sent away for 10 months, at the age of five years old. I would not at all have them sent away.

Peter Irniq: Those of us that went to school there, we say, “we will not allow anyone to be treated the way we did”, is this a good message to tell the other communities?

Serapio: It might have a useful message.

Peter Irniq: How much?

Serapio: We Inuit are not the same as people. For example some of us may not have voiced our opinions about this. Here in Iglulik, Qablunaat are not at part of the community. Sometimes, it gets difficult, when you notice that some people are not trying at all, to be part of the community. I guess, if I was never abused, I would not mind so much, but having been abused, I have to make notice of this.

Peter Irniq: I don’t have any more questions, do you have anything else to say?

Serapio: I don’t have anything else to say. I just wanted to say, but want to say, thank you. However, it is difficult to meet with the other people now, even healing journey is very important, but I would be happy to see those, who can, get back to where we met, I would not mind this at all.

Peter Irniq: You mean, meeting again in Chesterfield Inlet for another reunion?

Serapio: Yes.

Peter Irniq: If this happens today, it would provide a lot of help, is that true?

Serapio: It would surely, help a lot! At that time when we first met, we were too embarass to speak about issues(related to sexual abuses). Now, we know better and can be supportive to each other. Some have passed on. So, if we can have another meeting, we would be able to move ahead, much bigger.

Peter Irniq: When you first went to that school in Chesterfield Inlet, was that your first time ever, entering a classroom? What was it that you remember, about inside that classroom? Do you have a good memory about them?

Serapio: I remember them very well. There were little toys, beautiful little toys. They were designed for those who knew how to use them. There were needles, for making fish nets. There were toy qamutiik(toy sleds), and learning about some Inuit things, was a lot of fun, even though, it was very small part. Making fish nets and learning how to do them at the same time, was a lot of fun, and especially since you got to own them afterwards. We tried very hard to make them nice. It was so much fun making nets, that I used to finish the entire spool in one day.

Peter Irniq: Who did you have as your teacher for that, a Qablunaaq?

Serapio: We have an Inuit teacher for learning those all Inuit-oriented training.

Peter Irniq: For all the others, were they all Qablunaat?

Serapio: Yes, for all the other things, we had Qablunaat teachers.

Peter Irniq: Do you remember drawings inside the classroom, that were made by Inuit students?

Serapaio: I remember, we made Inuit cultural drawings that were to be put in a book, to be sent to Ottawa. I was extremely lucky to draw one of those and won some money for a prize, even though, it was not a lot of money, but it became very huge and useful. That drawing must have made some impression on me, I did make some money from drawings later on.

Peter Irniq: When you were at that Residential School in Igluligaarjuk, were you happy?

Serapio: It was happy, although, it was not a happy time all the time. But, when we were to be returning home, it was a very happy time, as we were often very homesick. It used to be around May 10, when we would be stopped from schooling. There were students from quite a few communities. Part of the problem at that time was, the weather, it was not always nice. As a result, some people who were waiting to go home, would have to wait. Sometimes, it was not pleasant, when it was your turn to go back, but due to weather, you had to reschedule.

Peter Irniq: When we were about to go home, we used to be told by our supervisors, that “you really had a good time this year here, be sure to come back next summer, make sure, you tell your parents about that” do you remember being told about this?

Serapio: Absolutely! At that first year perhaps, all the students went home, and we ended up not being able to go for sometime. We were made to feel very free at that point. We could sleep in as long as we wanted to. You finally followed whatever you wanted to do. You could take whatever you wanted to eat, as much as you can. That was one time experience that I truly noticed, perhaps because, we were going to be going home soon.

Peter Irniq: Do you remember all the food that you had to eat at the Turquetil Hall?

Serapio: Yes, I remember them all very well. But, the fish we had, froze only with the coldness of the land, so part of them would get rancid. Eating them boiled like that, they were not delicious. The ones I used to hate most was when we would go out on the land, and they used to give us sardines. They are something that we would not eat at all, at home. One time, I ate one of those and it was so rotten that I became very sick and went into the hospital that very evening. I had food poisioning as a result. Luckily, there was a doctor there, and during that particular year, he was in a plane crash. Since that time, there was never a doctor again. That was the worst food that I ate at that time.

Peter Irniq: Did you eat Inuit food?

: Yes, fish only. Only, once in a blue moon, we had a bit of caribou meat. There was no marine mammal food, except for arctic char.


Filmmaker: Zacharias Kunuk

Filmmaker Contact:


isuma [at] isuma [dot] ca

Year of Production: 2008

Country: Canada

Region: Arctic

See more

More from this channel: Jon's Working Channel

    • 1h 56m 16s

      Peter Irniq Testimony

      uploaded by: Zacharias Kunuk

      chaîne: Truth and Reconciliation

      Click on 'Read More' for English Translation of Testimony by Peter Irniq, May 2008

      English Translation of Testimony by Peter Irniq, May 12, 2008, Iglulik, Nunavut

      Peter Irniq: We had a terrible Hudson’s Bay Trader back in 1956, like many of these people, were terrible. That summer in 1956, the Dew Line ships came and when left later on, they left a whole lot of material. Some things like pellets beach along the shore line, so one day, my father and Celestino and his father, walked over to where these pellets were beached, with the idea of taking them back to our tent. When we got there, the two adults, Celestino’s father and my father tie up the pellets with a seal skin rope, and Celestino’s father, started to pull the pellets back to his tent. Right at this point, this Bay Manager came along with his Jeep. With his was his girlfriend, even though, he was married. Well, me I took a beached light bulb, that was no longer going to be used, as I wanted it as my toy. Just when the Bay Manager was coming up, my father said to Amarualik, who was pulling the pellets, back to his tent. “He’s coming to get you!” meaning, the Bay Manager. He dropped his load and ran like heck to his tent, running away from the Bay Manager. My father waited for the Bay Manager to stop. When he stopped, he ordered my father not to touch the pellets. “Don’t touch those pellets, they will be used again.” My father responded in Inuktitut that translated into something like this: “You are a big lyer!” Then, he pointed to the woman inside the jeep and said to the Bay Manager, “she will be used again, stop being with her!”

      That night Amarualik came over to visit and while drinking tea, they had a great big laugh about what happened that day. All they wanted to do was to use the pellets for qamutiik(sleigh) cross bars. The thing was, nothing was going to happen to the two men or the two of us boys. They were also not going to re-use the burned out light bulbs.

      Zach Kunuk: Perhaps, you could tell a story about where you were born.

      Peter Irniq: Yes, I was born in Naujaarjuat(A place of plentiful seagulls fledgelings) Lyon Inlet. My parents are known around here in the Amittuq, particularly by Elders. My father’s name was Angutitaq and my mother’s name was Katak. My sister’s name was Iguttaq. My older brother’s name was Ipuittuq Ivaluqut. Prior to my birth, they used to live around here. They lived here, perhaps from around 1940 to about 1946. At that particular period of time, they traveled by dog team from Gjoa Haven’s Utkuhiksalik(Back River) to Naujaat’s Ukkusiksalik(Repulse Bay’s Wager Bay). They lived there for a time, then they traveled this way through Naujaat-Repulse Bay, Sanirajak(Hall Beach) and then to Iglulik. They traveled all the way here, by dog team only. They used to talk a lot about people from this Region. When I became an adult, I got to meet the people they met and I used to say to myself, “oh those are the people, that my parents used to talk about”.

      Over there, we never lived really in the community of Naujaat – the Settlement, as we were true Inuit, living off the land traditionally. We were true Inuit, with truly living the Inuit traditional ways. For example, for those watching us, we lived much like the ones that Isuma Produced sometime ago, Nunavut Series. The ones you guys made. At these scenes in the spring time, that is exactly how we used to live. We used to look for eggs, when there were eggs. And also, we hunt young mature seals, called Nattiat in the spring time as well. We went fishing, when it was time to fish. My father fished with kakivaak(fish leisters), that is how, he used to catch fish. He used to do this on the rivers and on the lake ice. He used iqaluujaq(fish inviter without a hook). As you pull the iqaluujaq up and down, just like jigging for fish, the fish would come, and my father would spear the fish down below, with his kakivaak. He used to catch a lot of fish, along with my brother-in-law at that time.

      I grew up in a place called Nattiligaarjuk(a lake that has seals) Committee Bay. We used to fish there and we also used to fish at saputit(fish dam) built across the rivers to trap the fish, from going up stream. We fished just like in the films that you made. I used to participate in fishing, when I was just a little boy. When I started to learn how to fish at saputit, it was always hard to get some kakivaak material, such as muskox horns. That is what the kakivaak were made of. So, instead of using the precious kakivaak that the adults were using, my father used to make me kakivaak out of old fox traps. He fashioned them just like the real thing. We had no muskox around Naujaat either, so it was hard to get the real stuff to make the kakivaak. There is still not much muskox, perhaps you see one in the long run.

      Up there, when we would fish at saputit in the mornings and in the evenings, there would be lots and lots of fish(Arctic Char). We would be spearing all the fish. I was a young boy at that time around 1952 or 53. When I was fishing inside the saputit, the water used to go up to my chest, so I was pretty small, fishing with my father and my brother in law. When my father and my brother-in-law were wading in the saputit, the water was just up to their knees. I guess, I was pretty small then. When I would spear a fish, I would pull the wooden handle of the leisters, towards my mother, who was on the dry land, then she would pull the fish on to the dry land. That was how I used to catch fish.

      I remember when we were fishing one evening. It was so much fun and it was so wonderful! I remember being hit by a big fish, right behind my knee or at the back of my knee. That hurt really, really bad. When the fishing was finished that evening, my mother and I decided to look at my leg, I had a really big bruse(sp). Ouch!! It was painful! The reason for this was that the fish were swimming very fast all over, inside the saputit.

      I also remember another story. It was a beautiful day and when we looked at the saputit from our tent, the fish were almost jumping up above the water. There were so much fish! I remember it was a beautiful day, sunny and hot. As a rule, my mother woke me up very early, so that we could all go fishing. When everyone else had left to the saputit to fish, I stayed behind. I was thinking that I didn’t wanted to leave the nice warm bed inside the tent, after all, I was a young child. I was going to go along with everyone but I decided not to go, as I really wanted to stay in bed. The bed was too cozy to leave!

      After the fishing was done, everyone had came back to the tent. My mother was extremely angry with me. She was trying to teach me how to fish at saputit, and teach me how to fish. She then, spanked me quite a few times on my bum. That hurt very much. Every since then, I learned my lesson and tried to be obedient as I did not wanted to be spanked again. We Inuit, when we were spanked once, we would learn a great deal of lesson. Spanking was one of the ways of disciplining someone, it allowed us Inuit to be listenful, that was how it used to be.

      The other thing was when the days would now begin to get dark in the evenings, and you could see the stars in the darken sky, and it was now obvious that the fish had stopped swimming upsteam. Now then, the little ducklings were swimming, with their mothers the sea water. My father would have an age-old knowledge, that they are now swimming in the sea, it was time to move inland to search for caribou. At this point, the caribou fur or hair was just right for making clothes, and there is now lots of tunnuq(fat) on the caribou. We would then practice our traditional methods of hunting caribou through “tagjarniq”, “nunarpangniq” in your Amitturmiut dialect, “moving inland”. We would do this on foot and walked many miles in search of caribou for survival of our family, dogs and for our clothing and winter supply of food. As a child, this walking on the land was very boring. Adults would be carrying heavy loads on their backs of our belongingss, such as tents, beddings, etc. The husky dogs on the other hand, would be carrying our other supplies as well on their backs, such as tents, kettles, food we had to survive on. When I would get tired, “kaka” me, by putting me on his back, and carry me, along with all the load that he was carrying on his back. When I was no longer tired, I would again start running back and forth, in front of family.

      Up where we used to live in Nattiligaarjuk(Committee Bay), we lived all of the seasons. At one point, when we were inland, walking on this big sandy area, that extended many miles. Well, as I was walking and running ahead of the others, I noticed a little black spot ahead of me on this sandy surface. I ran towards it and when I got to it, it was one side of muskox horn. It was so old that it had lichen on it. It means, it was there for quite a while. I grabbed it and then here I ran back as fast as I could towards my father, mothers and other members of my family, to show off my find. I gave it to my father. My father was ever so thankful for me, for finding such a treasure, now, he could make a kakivak out of it. At his spare time, when the days were not good for hunting, he would patiently make a kakivak(fish liester) out of it.

      During this particular period, which was in the fall time, my mother would sew all our caribou clothing, preparing them for winter use. On the other hand, men did cache the meat and fat for the winter supply. I truly love to eat the tunnuq(fat) and marrow. It’s amazing, how much I love to eat the caribou fat and marrow. I used to truly enjoy eating the patiq(the marrow). One time, my mother made me eat lots of patiq. I ate so much of it that, I got sick and had enough of it. Again, she was teaching me a lesson, not to eat too much of it. Since that experience, I don’t like to eat as much patiq as I used to, but still I like them, including the tunnuq. I also enjoy eating “kiksautit” and “iluit”, the caribou guts. These are the most delicious parts of the caribou. I also used to enjoy eating the eyes and ears of the caribou. These were the kinds of things I used to crave for, when I was a little boy. These were the delicacies for the little boys, like myself, when I was a little boy. To this day, whenever I go out caribou hunting on the land, I still eat the ears and eyes of the caribou. To me, that taste of a good delicacy is still there. My thought sometimes instantly returns to Inuit culture and traditions. This is how, I grew up in and around Naujaat.

      In the winter time, I remember my father and others used to hunt seals very traditionally through the “agluit” “seal breathing holes”. They used very traditional hunting methods in those days, using only a downed hair of a bird, as an indicator when the seal would be coming to breathe through it’s seal hole. They also used a small thin piece of metal, which was lowered to the seal hole, to know when the seal would be breathing and then, it was time to harpoon it. They could not see the seal breathing, as all the seal holes were covered with snow during this period of time, which was normally in the month of March, when the days were getting longer. As a young man, I learned the techniques and I hunted using these thousands of year old methods. That was part of my life. In 1961, when my father decided against me going back to a residential school in Chesterfield Inlet, this period of my time was a really awesome period for learning about my own culture. Hunting with “qiviutaq”s birds downs and savgutaujaqs(thin metal) indicator of when the seal was coming up to breathe, these are one of the many things, I learned from my father about my culture. I learned a great deal from my parents, sometimes learning about Inuit myths and legends, listening to them telling stories about these was one of the most pleasant past times.

      I used to ask my father to tell Inuit legends. Sometimes, he would tell a story about Kiviu, Inuit legend, who journeyed through many places. He would tell a story about Sakaliktuarjuk, a poor hunter who fooled every one in the village, that he was actually a good hunter. He would tell a story about Akturraarnaat, an evil mother, whose son was blind. My mother would tell a story about a sister and brother, who became thunder and lightening. These are the things I grew up with, as a young child. I learned about traditional pisiit(songs). My mother, father, my sister and my brother-in-law were very good sings, so I used to listen to them singing, traditional songs. I grew up to become an adult, knowing some knowledge about traditional songs of the Inuit and know how to sing some songs, to this day. I also have some knowledge about shamans. I used to watch my brother-in-law, practicing his healing of the sick. He was a shaman. My brother-in-law used his powers to heal the sick, using his angakkuuni(being shaman) techniques. My father, on the other hand, used to say, that he was not a shaman. Later on, I learned, people used to talk about him, that he was also an angakkuq. He was an extremely good hunter. He used to say, “out there” there must be something that we could see in terms of animals such as caribou. He would repeat this often, to the point where, it was repeated too often. He then, used to tell a story about spirits of angakkuit(shamans).

      He used to tell stories about some Inuit who had birds for spirits. Some other people had other spirits, such as wolves, and Nanurluk(a polar bear spirit). Others used to have human beings as spirits. Sometimes, they used their parents, normally deceased as their spirits, such as mothers or fathers or other relatives. My father used to tell us a story about having a ptarmigan for spirit, and how unpleasant this was, when flying. He said, this is because, they not only fly very fast but flew all over the place. It seemed like, you can hit a hill or something. He said, he used to hear this from other people. He said, other hand, having an ukpigjuaq(an owl) for a spirit, they are very easy to fly with. He said, they would fly high up in the sky and can look both ways. And they could see everything and anything down on the ground. I used to think later on that maybe he was talking about himself. Maybe, he used to fly, but we just didn’t see him fly. This was probably how, he used to know where these animals are, that are “out there”. When he finally goes over to the land, that he was talking about repeated, sure enough, there was caribou. He was like that. I grew up learning by observing all the things about Inuit cultre.

      In the summer time, as children, we used to go down to the beach when the tide was low, looking for Kanajuit(sea scorpions or scanvenger fish with large mouth). Sometimes, we used the go down, when pieces of broken ice were on the beach. We could start to hear the “qallupilluit”, they would be knocking again the ice or the ground. Qallupilluit are spirits, and cannot really be seen by any human being, unless you have extra ordinary powers, such as shaman. My father said, they had feathers like ducks. When we were children, like my friend, the late Simon Aglak, we used to like to go down and look for kanajuit. We used to live on the east side of Naujaat, at Kuugaarjuk, quite a bit of distance from Naujaat. When the tide was low, Simon and I used to look for kanajuit. We used Inuit Traditional Knowledge, looking for these kanajuit. Sometimes, when we would be walking close to the ice, qallupilluq(single) would begin pounding against the ice. When that happens, my mother would yell and say, “you might be gotten by a qallupilluq, come up to the land here”. When you were going to sleep at nights, as long as there was ice around, you could hear the qallupilluit pounding against the ice.

      When we were looking for kanajuit, my mother also used to say, when you are out there, and if you see a “nipisa”(a round-shaped black fish with sticky pad protruding from throat with which it clings on to things, or sticks to your hand, like a scotch tape). My mother would say, the only way to take it off is with an ulu(a half-moon) woman’s knife. One time, when Simon Aglak and I were looking for kanajuit, I lifted the rock to see if there were Kanajuit, and all of a sudden, I saw this fish, I grabbed a hold of it, and it got stuck on the palm of my hand. My mother carefully, took it off with her ulu. That was how, I grew up as a child, with my parents in Naujaat.

      Ever since I can remember, I used to hear about other Inuit from Uqsuqtuuq(Gjoa Haven) Region, Qairnirmiut(the people of Baker Lake area), Talurruaq, my father used to live within those regions. I used to hear about our fellow-Inuit in those areas. I grew up as a true Inuk, living in an iglu in the winter time. While living in an iglu, it can be old at times, especially when there was no oil on the qulliq(Inuit oil lamp). When you live on the sea coast, you used seal fat to light your qulliq. But when you are on the land, or inland, you would have a small oil lamp, that you carried with you. Since there was no seals on the land, my mother would use tunnuq(caribou fat) to light the small qulliq. She used to light the qulliq when she was going to sew our clothes in the evenings. We also used to chew the caribou fat to make candles. We used them for lights in the evenings. This is how I grew up in the Aivilik Region of Nunavut. When I was growing up, I grew up with much happiness and with wonderful things happenings. That was my cycle of life.

      Zack Kunuk: What is it your Inuktitut name?

      Peter Irniq: Taqtu Irniq, those are my Inuktitut names. My mother used to tell a story of her dream, when they lived in Maluk&ittat/Naujaarjuat or Lyon Inlet. She said, she dream’t about this Irniq. That Irniq had relatives in Naujaat as well here in Amittuq. He lived in that area around 1940 or 47. In her dream, my mother said, this Irniq wanted to be named in me. She said, her dream was almost life-like or as though she was awake. We were not related at all. This is why, I was named after that Irniq. Taqtu on the other hand, belonged to a lady relative of ours in Naujaat. When I was born, she named me after that special lady named Taqtu. When I was born and getting older, I remember calling her, “Taqtuuqatiga” “my fellow Taqtu”. This was part of Inuit culture that we practiced. To this day, whenever I talk about her, I refer to her as “Taqtuuqatiga”. This is very important aspect of Inuit culture. I only have two Inuit names. On the other hand, when I was born in 1947 and baptized by a Roman Catholic priest, I was named Pierre. Inuit called the priest Kajualuk(because his big beared was brown) so Inuit called him Kajualuk, translated to “Big Brown”. When I was going to a residential school, I became to be called as Peter, by the Qablunaat(White people).

      Zack Kunuk: When you still a true Inummarik, I guess, you would never pronounce the names of the older people? You would have calling titles for them, “tur&urautiit?”

      Peter Irniq: Yes, particularly, the old, old people, people who were much older than us. They were the fellow-Elders of my parents, my father. We were taught from never to call them by name. Even, if we did not have calling titles for them, we were told not to call them by their names. We respected their Elderships and their ages. It was like honoring them. As children, we were told not to call the older people, those who were older than us, by names. Some we had calling titles for them, and even when they were not related to us for example, we would call them, “my avvakuluk” “my dear little same name”. “My uncle over there”. We had different calling titles for them. “My same-age or equal-age person”. When people were named after certain individuals, we naturally had calling for each other. We were taught to respect and honor. When an Elder came into our tent, and I was sitting down, I was to stand up immediately and allow the Elder to sit down. I was told, do this, without being told.

      Zack Kunuk: When was it that you were sent off to school?

      Peter Irniq: Some Naujaarmiut(people from Naujaat) were sent off to school around 1953, 54 and 55. In those days, they were being sent to school in Igluligaarjuk(Chesterfield Inlet). As for me, I knew I was never going to school. I knew this because, I grew up as a true Inummarik, and knew that I would live an adult life as a true Inuk, a hunter, fisher, and trapper. Ones that are older than I am, they started going to school around 1954-55-57 to Chesterfield Inlet. It was around that time. For me, going to school was something that I was not prepared for as we never lived in a community with other people. My father used to say that living in a community, all you get is welfare from the Qablunaat. He didn’t want to be like that. He always wanted to be close to animals for food and clothing. We lived in Naujaat, I think, only two times, once in 1956 and another time in 1957. At that time, my fellow-youth, were being sent off to a residential school. As for me personally, we living in Tinujjivik(a favorite fishing spot of the Inuit in the spring time, when the fish were swimming down stream). We living there in the summer time and it was in the month of August. It was a time of year when the days were really beautiful, sunny and hot. Tinujjivik is not visible from Naujaat, but if you live in Naujaat, you could see in the distance, the outpost of Tinujjivik. It is around 13 miles west of Naujaat. Tinujjivik is a place for fishing. In the spring time, people would build saputit and when the tide is low, the Arctic Char would be trapped inside the saputit, and that was how we used to fish at Tinujjivik. We would move there in the spring time and moved a short distance to the east, where there are more seals in the area.

      Well, that summer of 1958, we could see a boat coming, with an engine. We could see it very clearly, as it was a very beautiful day. As our custom goes, my mother started to make tea by burning heathers, as this was a summer time. We only used heather and other moss to boil tea in those days. It was such a wonderful feeling that we are having some visitors, so she decided to make tea to welcome the visitors. Then they beached the boat. As they beached, we walked down to the beach to greet the visitors, and all of us, walked down behind my father. But that father, a priest, the late Father Dedier, came off the boat, first. He came off the boat, and said to my father, “Peter Irniq is going to school in Igluligaarjuk so we came to pick him up”. He didn’t even greet my father by shaking hands! I have never seen my father panicked but at that point, he was panicky. So he ordered me by saying, “they came to get you, go put on some nicer clothes”. My mother and I quickly went back to our tent and she made me put on niururiak, a seal skin boots, with the fur outside. I got all dressed up in my best, and off we went to Naujaat. The visitors didn’t have tea. As Inuit, they would have stopped to have tea, if they were regular visitors, then leave after they had tea. I don’t have any idea why this happened the way it did. I wondered, if the priest had told them earlier that, before anything happens, we should leave immediately. I don’t know. When we were traveling towards Naujaat, my goodness, it was lonely. It was the loneliest time of my life! It was too awesome!

      Zack Kunuk: You then, left your parents?

      Peter Irniq: “Yes!”

      It comes back instantly! My parents, my sister and brother-in-law, and my little brother, who died in later years, my niece, I watched them, as we are traveling farther and farther away from them. They were all standing by the shore, seeing me off, until I was no longer visible by eye. Wow! Perhaps, it’s that particular incident, when I was suddenly taken away, it’s been long time ago, since 1958, to me, it comes back quite suddenly, to the time I was a child. That very part, it is very difficult to become adult with. You stayed a child forever! Even though, I am a old person now, but sometimes, you have to returned to it, or re-visit it, instantly. And so, we were on our way to Naujaat.

      Zack Kunuk: How old were you at that time?

      Peter Irniq: Eleven. Yes, I was 11 years old, when I was taken away. So, we were traveling towards Naujaat. I watched my parents, as they were no longer visible by eye sight. They were still standing on the beach. They were also watching until we were no longer visible in the horizon. When we finally got to Naujaat, I was made to go to Angutinguaq family. My father and Angutinguaq were cousins. So I was to stay with this family, according to the wishes of the Roman Catholic Church. They were the adoptive parents of Jack Anawak. We had been here for some days, I guess my parents would watch from where they were, to see if the plane had come and coming to land in the water in Naujaat. Even though, Naujaat was some distance away, they could see airplanes from where they were. Since, they did not see any planes landing in Naujaat, a few days later, my father and my brother-in-law, came over by canoe with an outboard motor. When they arrived, it was so wonderful! Since they arrived, I became relaxed, knowing that I now have a foundation here in Naujaat.

      At that point, Angutinguaq, who I called Haluuruluk. Since they were in the south in 1925, spokes some English, I was to call him, my Haluuruluk(my darn Hello). Now that my father and my brother-in-law here, I had a foundation and practically no more worries and stress. At that point, Father Dedier had said, the plane would be here to pick us up, after three or four days, to bring us to Igluligaarjuk. He said, we were free to do whatever we wanted to do. Now that we are free to do whatever we wanted to do, and there was lots of broken ice in Naujaat at this point. My Haluuruluk had a boat called Uvajuk, it was very tippy so it was called that name. Using Uvajuk, we would go down to the sea, in between the ice, to see if there might have been bearded seals or walruses. We were doing this, while we were waiting for a plane. Once we were out there, they got me to steer the boat, while my father, Haluuruluk and my brother-in-law were on the look out for the animals, maybe polar bears. We waited may be about four days, a single engine plane came to pick us up. And so, we board the plane, and we were now on our way to Igluligaarjuk. It was my first time in an airplane. I remember my father having a discussion with another Inuksuk, when I was much younger child. This man was on an airplane previously. My father had asked him, when the plane was taking off, do you watch the ground? We used to get very few planes in Naujaat in those days. So, this man was telling about an airplane ride he had. He said, when they were taking off, and he was looking down on the ground, he could see that as they were going so fast, he could see stripes of blue, green or red or yellow. Remembering that story, I was looking down on the water as we were taking off. As you know it was my first time on an airplane. I kept on a lookout for green, red or yellow stripes. There was nothing. It was actually a slow airplane. Perhaps, he was exaduating(sp), to make the story more interesting. And when we were going back home, we were taking off from the snow, it certainly was not like that, there were no beautiful stripes. There were about 10 or 12 of us, who were brought from Naujaat to Igluligaarjuk. We traveled to Chesterfield Inlet for about two-and-a-half hours.

      Zach: With a single engine airplane?

      Peter Irniq: Yes, with a single engine airplane. This airplane belonged to the RCMP, the one they used to bring us over. On the side of the airplane was a yellow stripe, with a dark blue paint. The tail of the plane had a yellow paint as well.

      Zach Kunuk: When you are getting close to Igluligaarjuk and the time you were landing to Chesterfield Inlet, can you tell us about that?

      Peter Irniq: I remember this very well! I don’t forget things at all, so I remember it very well. I am an Inuk. I grew up as a real Inuk, at that time. My mother and father, always used to tell me to be looking or observing…always. If you see something, then you will be able to tell me. Look for animals. I used to look around for anything, at that time. When we left Naujaat, it was a beautiful day. We arrived to Igluligaarjuk, it was even more beautiful. Hot! There were some clouds. There were beautiful clouds, with the sun shining. When we got closer, the sea water didn’t seem to be as beautiful. But the land, was beautiful, much like Naujaat environment. The stone formations were beautifully bright! I could see all those each time I look down below me, from an airplane. They very much resembled, Naujaat rock formations. Naujaat has those. When we were getting closer to landing, the land and sea were both beautifully pleasant. That time, we landed at Tasiraaluk(a small big pond). Tasiraaluk belonged to Iguligaarjuk, it was situation just around the houses. We landed there at Tasiraaluk, a fairly big pond. The airplanes landed so it was quite a large pond. The Roman Catholic Church used it for water supply. We beached on a beautiful rocky beach with the plane. When we beached, we all got off. I saw some Inuit there but then, I saw the Sisters, the Grey Nuns, for the first time in my life. They wore long dresses, and their hoods had little “furs”, but with lots of little holes, just like window screens. Some of the nuns were extremely beautiful! When I first started seeing Qablunaat, they were always beautiful. To see the Grey Nuns, they were even more beautiful than the Qablunaat, that I had seen previously, which weren’t many. I started to see the Qablunaat there, some belonged to the Department of Transport and others were priests. I used to think, I wonder if White People had ugly people. They all seemed to beautiful and handsome. The Grey Nuns that I noticed so much being different than most people, were to be our care takers, supervisors. They came to meet us. So, I was standing there, as I didn’t know where to go, nor have any place to go. My fellow Naujaarmiut were there, Paul Maniittuq, John Ninngak Mike Kusugaq, and Katherine and the late Francios Nanuraq. There was also Nick Amautinnuaq and Jose Kusugaq, who we knew only as Amaujaq in Naujaat. When our names were changed by the Government of the Northwest Territories, he became Jose Kusugaq. He was along with us. There was also Agatha from Naujaat. There were others, Maria, Theresie, now Theresie Tungilik. She has his father’s name today. Those are the ones who came here to Igluligaarjuk. There was this little Qablunaaq, he was slightly bigger than I am. As I was 11 years old, I was not that tall. I maybe, was about this height. As he was standing next to me, and kept looking at me and then asked me: “What is your name?” with a French accent. I understood what he said, as the year before in 1957, we were taught some English by the Roman Catholic priest, perhaps for a week or so. We were taught in English about things that were inside the Roman Catholic Mission in Naujaat. “Box” “Seal” “House” so we learned a little bit in English, then. “Fish” I used to tell my father about what we had learned. He used to recognize the words that I told him about. The four of them, including my Haluuruluk Angutinguaq, Tapatai and Savikataaq were in the land of the Qablunaat in 1925. They were in Newfoundland, Halifax and in Montreal. When they returned, they learned some English and were able to speak some English. So what I was learning, he would recognize them once I tell him about them. We were taught by Iksirajuakuluulaurtuq(Formerly Father Franzen), and Father Dedier. So, when he asked, “what is your name”, I understood him. As I answered him, I was extremely timid and said, Peter. Also, I was feeling very strange to see the Inuit of Igluligaarjuk. Everything was too awesome for me!

      From there, we were led by a Sister to the hostel. I walked along with my good friend Paul Maniittuq. Both of us walked in behind a Sister, as we were told to follow her. We were apparently going to the big house, the Turquetil Hall. It was a huge building, green in color. I turned to one side and noticed another big building. These buildings looked really big. I also noticed the Church Rectory, it was beautifully built. When I looked to the west, there was a Statue of Virgin Mary, surround by rocks, it was beautiful. From there, we saw another large building, two-storey, this was a hospital as well as being a home for the Nuns. This one was not to be our home, at that point. The one, we were going to was a two-storey hostel, it was to be our home for entire winter or during all the time, that we were going to be in Igluligaarjuk. We called it Iglurjuaraaluk – a real big hosue. When we got there, we were told to take our clothes off. We were to have a bath. We were deliced. We got our haircuts. We got our haircuts with those old fashioned manual hair cutters. I had a very short hair. In fact, all of us young boys had very short hair at that point. I also noticed that day that the young girls also got a hair cut, by cutting their hair, right across their forehead. They looked so different. It was the firs time I ever saw a bath tub, as we didn’t have bath tubs in Naujaat. It was the first time I ever saw and worn shoes. I put a short sleeve shirt for the first time. That was the first time, I ever put on a foreign clothing like that. Wow, it was so awesome! There were lots of boys and girls, Iglulingmiut, Qamanittuarmiut(Baker Lake) kids, Arviarmiut(Arviat kids), there were many of them. That day was something to remember, that very day in Igluligaarjuk.

      Then when the night time came, we were told to go into our large, huge bedroom. There were many beds. I was given my bed, complete with sleepers or pjamas. I didn’t know a darn thing about these items, as we did not use them in Naujaat. As an Inuk, I slept completely naked, at home. Just before, we went to bed, we were told “to kneel down” and pray. I guess, this was the beginning of praying. We prayed a lot. That evening was just the beginning of our praying. When we woke up the next morning, we prayed firs thing, then just before our breakfast, when we got to the school, we prayed first thing, we used to go to school at 9 in the morning. Right after we said the Lord’s Prayer, “our father who art in heaven…” then we sang, what is apparently a “Oh Canada” song, Canadian National Athem. I didn’t know what I was singing about but just trying to follow along and copied everybody. I was completely unaware of what these songs mean’t.

      We had our teacher, who was a Grey Nun. After that first morning of schooling, we had to pray again, just before we left for lunch. When we got into the dining room of our hostel, we prayed. Just before we left for school, we prayed again. When we got to the afternoon school, we prayed again and then sang, God Save the Queen. We stayed in school during the afternoon for about two-and-a-half hours. Then when the English classes were finished, a Roman Catholic priest came over to teach us catechasm. This activity was also very noticeable to myself, especially, during the early stages of staying there. I was happy with this exercise, as we were able to speak our own Inuktitut language. Whereas at the school, we were told to speak only English. We were completely forbidden to speak our own Inuktitut language.

      At that time, Father Farard used to teach us catechasm. I had some idea about the Bible and the prayer, mostly I’ve learned this from my mother. This was prior to going to Igluligaarjuk. Prayer books were used quite a lot in those days, I even have one at home, one of the first prayer books of the Church. The top page has a drawing of a church, couple of iglus and Inuit. I have the old prayer book. When that priest was teaching us about the bible, I was the most knowledgeable one about it. I knew so much that I won a prize from Father Fafard. This was shortly after, we’ve been there for a short time. For my Prayer Book knowledge, he gave me a green apple for a prize. I didn’t know it was an apple. When you go outside, you can eat it, he said. So, when we got outside, I decided to take a bite out of this apple: Oh, what a horrible taste!! I found the apple so horrible tasting, so I gave it to Marius Qajuuttaq, who was walking with me up to the Turquetil Hall. I told him, I just hated the taste of it so I said, you can have it. A year ago, he has already been to that school, so he like it and found it very delicious! As for me, I ate a lot of Inuit food, such as dried meat, so I totally found dried fish very delicious. So, I gave that apple to Marius. I wonder, if he sometimes thinks about it today.

      Zack: Would you like some break?

      Peter Irniq: Yes, let’s

      Filmmaker: Zacharias Kunuk

      Filmmaker Contact:


      Year of Production: 2008

      Country: Canada

      Region: Nunavut

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      uploaded date: 03-11-2011