A cornerstone of Inuit literature first published in syllabic Inuttitut in 1987, translated to French in 2002, then translated again to English in 2014, Sanaaq by Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk will now also have a building in Montreal—“a community and cultural centre, featuring an auditorium, exhibition space, café and library“—named after it.
“‘Mitiarjuk really put us out there, who we are as Inuit – the language, the traditions,’ said Maggie Emudluk, a friend of the family and vice-president of economic development at Makivik Corp. ‘I think it’s really something to be proud of.‘”
Sanaaq is an intimate story of an Inuit family negotiating the changes brought into their community by the coming of the qallunaat, the white people. Composed in 48 episodes, it recounts the daily life of Sanaaq, a strong and outspoken young widow, her daughter Qumaq, and their small semi-nomadic community in northern Quebec. Here they live their lives hunting seal, repairing their kayak, and gathering mussels under blue sea ice before the tide comes in. These are ordinary extraordinary lives: marriages are made and unmade, children are born and named, violence appears in the form of a fearful husband or a hungry polar bear. Here the spirit world is alive and relations with non-humans are never taken lightly. And under it all, the growing intrusion of the qallunaat and the battle for souls between the Catholic and Anglican missionaries threatens to forever change the way of life of Sanaaq and her young family.
Find out more and order your print or ebook copy here.
Available soon in audiobook form!