One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk compresses Piugattuk’s 96-year lifetime into a dramatized feature film portrait of one day in that life, a 24-hour day when the sun never sets, out hunting seals on the spring sea ice in May 1961, in the Igloolik region of north Baffin Island.
Noah Piugattuk was born in 1900 when Igloolik Inuit still lived as they had for four millennia – self-sufficient and self-sustained, as if they were the only people on earth. Everything Inuit ate and used, the dwellings they lived in, all materials and tools used for clothing, housing, hunting and living, came from the land and animals around them. At the top of the food chain in their challenging, beautiful land, Inuit were professional animal hunters with no word for ‘war,’ no language for hunting other human beings.
Piugattuk passed away at 96 in 1996. He lived to see Inuit sign the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA) in 1994, in which Inuit gave up Aboriginal Title to 83% of their land and 98% of mineral rights, in exchange for the largest indigenous cash settlement in history and Canada’s establishment of the new ‘self-governing’ Nunavut Territory on April 1, 1999. Over the next two decades, accelerated by global warming, Inuit leadership in the NLCA and Government of Nunavut oversaw a multinational mining boom creating impacts and benefits across the new Territory.