Inuit Stories of Being and Rebirth

Gender, Shamanism, and the Third Sex

Bernard Saladin d’Anglure (Author)

The small island of Igloolik lies between the Melville Peninsula and Baffin Island at the northern end of Hudson Bay north of the Arctic Circle. It has fascinated many in the Western world since 1824, when a London publisher printed the narratives by William Parry and his second-in-command, George Lyon, about their two years spent looking for the mythical Northwest Passage.

Nearly a hundred and fifty years later, Bernard Saladin d’Anglure arrived in Igloolik, hoping to complete the study he had been conducting for nearly six months in Arctic Quebec (present-day Nunavik). He was supposed to spend a month on Igloolik, but on his first morning there, Saladin d’Anglure met the elders Ujarak and Iqallijuq. He learned that they had been informants for Knud Rasmussen in 1922. Moreover, they had spent most of their lives in the camps and fully remembered the pre-Christian period.

Ujarak and Iqallijuq soon became Saladin d’Anglure’s friends and initiated him into the symbolism, myths, beliefs, and ancestral rules of the local Inuit. With them and their families, Saladin d’Anglure would work for thirty years, gathering the oral traditions of their people.

First published in French in 2006, Inuit Stories of Being and Rebirth contains an in-depth, paragraph-by-paragraph analysis of stories on womb memories, birth, namesaking, and reincarnation. This new English edition introduces this material to a broader audience and contains a new afterword by Saladin d’Anglure.

Reviews

“The real strength of the book are the dialogues between d’Anglure, Iqallijuq, and Ujarak that provide insights into many of the stories provided by Kupaaq … providing one of the first Inuit commentaries on their own texts.”

– Chris Trott, Etudes/Inuit/Studies

About the Author

Bernard Saladin d’Anglure first began his work among the Canadian Inuit in the 1950s, when he was a young student from France. He later became a professor of Anthropology at the University of Laval, where he taught until his retirement.

Book Details

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