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The melting of the sea ice near Broughton Island.

The Life Story of Salome Ka&&ak Qalasiq

Salome Ka&&ak Qalasiq
I know he gave some of his powers to my oldest brother. Although he was not his biological son, he loved him. He was named after his father Itinnuaq. He didn’t give me any powers, because I didn’t believe in him so he didn’t want to leave me any. He would tell me that I would learn about things through dreams. When I would dream something, it would happen. That’s what my father told me. (Page 61)
Born near Igluligaarjuk in January 1931, Ka&&ak is the daughter of the angakkuq Anaqqaaq. Her mother was Qakuqtinniq. She was raised « as a boy », which means that she was not confined to the house; she was allowed to go trapping and hunting for the family, and those were things she loved to do. She stopped participating to hunting expeditions after she had her first child.

Ka&&ak’s father was an angakkuq, a shaman, but she did not believe in his powers when she was young. However, she was conscious of a few things and lived some unusual adventures, which she relates in this chapter. Bombarded by questions from the students, Ka&&ak discloses several details about the angakkuit, their powers, their role within the community, their ways and the interdictions they had to follow. She also tells about her husband’s grandfather the angakkuq Qimuksiraaq, who could fly, and his wife, who was also an angakkuq. Ka&&ak’s father did not give her his powers, since she did not believe in them, but he gave her the ability to have dreams that come true. In fact, she was warned in a dream that her son Charlie had died. Ka&&ak started to believe in her father only after she got married, when Anaqqaaq showed her his powers. He made an insect appear in front of her eyes and showed her one of his turrngait, his spirit helpers.

Ka&&ak has had 13 children (some of them did not survive) and now has eight grandchildren, so it should not be surprising that family is a significant topic in this chapter. Students asked Ka&&ak to explain after whom her children are named, following the tradition of naming a child after the deceased person who requests it. She also tells of the hardship she went through after the accidental death of her son Charlie and the fatal illness of her husband. She concludes this part of her story with a lesson: “When we think too much or keep too much inside we can ruin ourselves.”