Home > Winds of Change > Travelling and Surviving on Our Land > Living on the Land in Tununiq, the Mittimatalik Area

photo couleur tea on the land

Preparing bannock in the igloo during a community celebration

Seal hunting camp near Grise Fiord.

Living on the Land in Tununiq, the Mittimatalik Area

Quotation:
Cornelius Nutaraq
The moon was used in a lot of ways. It can still be used today. The moon was used as a guide for finding your way and for other things I have not talked about yet. When the moon becomes full, it becomes complete. We call it ulak. We also say ulaqusijuq when the moon is nunguppaliajuq, warning. The half moon is called qullikkuminaqtuq because it looks like a qulliq. As it wanes further, it is called alungajuq. Then it disappears, and it starts waxing. Taqqiila is the term for when there is no moon. As the moon is just beginning to grow, the tides are not as strong. When spring starts, the moon is thin. In the winter you see the moon more often. We use the term taqqinikpuq when there is a new moon. Different people call it different things. When it looks as if it is lying on its back, it is called nalajaaqtuq. That means that the weather will be bad. When you see it again and it is more upright, they say that the weather will not be bad as it becomes fuller. We used the moon for different things. We also know when the tidal currents would be strongest, ingirraniqtusijuq. As the moon wanes, the currents lessen, and the tide is not as strong. It is not just used to help you find your way.

Travelling and Surviving on Our Land, Chapitre 4, p. 111.
Presentation:
In chapter four, Nutaraq tells us about his own experiences of living on the land. He describes how travellers can find their way using the stars, the moon and the features of the land. He talks a little bit about the different phases of the moon, and their influence on the land and on people. The moon was a way to tell time and to predict when the children would be born. Inuit gave different names to the months of the year depending on what would usually happen on the land. Nutaraq remembers the names of the months and shares the meanings of those names.

Living on the land sometimes meant relying on a good tent and Nutaraq explains how to make an ittat, a tent made of sealskins. Caribou skins and sealskins would also be used for clothing, and Nutaraq describes the different kind of clothing you would wear if you were a child, a woman or a man. Caribou skins would be hard to come by as caribou migrated when Nutaraq was a child and only returned when he was in his seventies. For that reason, Nutaraq tells us mainly about his experiences hunting seals or walruses. He also tells us a little bit about whale hunting. Nutaraq also remembers different trips he undertook. He evokes two trips: one with an Anglican minister (Ajuriqsuijiruluk/ C. T. Daulby) from Mittimatalik to Ikpiarjuk, and another time when he accompanied a catholic priest (Ataata Mari/ G. Mary-Rousselière) who did archaeological digs in the 1970s.

Finally, Nutaraq tells us about the different changes he experienced in his life. He remembers the sad and happy times and gives advice about how to go through the hard times.