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Photo Seal Hunting Idlouk Kadlu Pond 1952

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Nutaraq: Recollections of the Past

Quotation:
Cornelius Nutaraq
As I was growing up, my father told me that a pisiksi had its own characteristics. If your target was close by, then you had to pull on the bow differently than if the target was further away. He taught me these things. If your target was close by, then your bow was vertical. The further away it was, the more horizontal it would be. When we were growing up, there were no caribou in the Mittimatalik area. He told me that the only way that they hunted caribou when he was young was with a bow and arrow.

I was so very proud to be able to provide my mother and my father with something they could eat. As a child I always wanted to eat ptarmigan and fish eyes.

Travelling and Surviving on Our Land, Chapter 2, p. 42.
Presentation:
In chapter two, Kunilusi Nutaraq tells us about his childhood in Mittimatalik and several of his travels around this area as an adult. Nutaraq’s mother died in labour and he was adopted by Noah Killaapik and his wife Martha Qumangaapik. He recounts the long and hard process for him to accept the fact of his adoption, although he was very well treated by his adoptive family.

As a child in Mittimatalik in the 1930’s, Nutaraq interacted with Qallunaat: missionaries and employees of the HBC. Nutaraq’s father, who was working for the HBC’s manager, would make toys for his little boy, like a qukiuttaujaq (crossbow) or an illuuq (slingshot). Nutaraq explains how different toys ended up being real hunting tools. For example, the pisiksi (bow) his father gave him as a toy helped him catch his first ptarmigan.

Nutaraq would hunt around Mittimatalik with his father and, as an adult, operated his own dog team. He remembers several distant travels he undertook, and a particular trip he made with the minister. Travelling on the land could be difficult. These trips would involve camping in different places. It was preferred to join other groups of people and camp among them as they could all pray together.