Inuktitut writing a book

A page from the notebook kept by Low during his expeditions along the coast of Hudson Bay.

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But it is one of just a handful, and so Sanaaq is sure to garner a lot of attention from southern readers. While it's possible, as Saladin d'Anglure says, that Mitiarjuk had never read another novel, she was fully schooled in the literary traditions of her own territory. Bonds are often formed between people who are not related.

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Both churches had produced a number of religious items for Inuit to read — Bibles, prayer books, catechisms, biblical interpretations. The importance of kinship ties are reinforced by the use of numerous words that do not exist in English.

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Most Inuit today who have seen this scarce book find the syllabic text laughable. Sanaaq may be read as an ethnographic or historical document, but to do so would be to miss the skill and complexity of the storytelling. While this facilitates speed, it is also the cognitive equivalent of living on marshmallows…. When Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk was born in , the Inuit had a primarily nomadic lifestyle intimately tied to the seasons and to the hunt. While it's possible, as Saladin d'Anglure says, that Mitiarjuk had never read another novel, she was fully schooled in the literary traditions of her own territory. Here the spirit world is alive and relations with non-humans are never taken lightly. Therefore, we will never truly know what inspired his fascination with Inuit culture and its many expressions of love. But there was nothing of a non-religious nature to read.

This is one of the most wonderous and charming pieces of writing I have read in years. This is a beautiful novel, whose value to the non-Inuk may be more anthropological than fictional.

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By the late 's, when Mitiarjuk was completing her manuscript, the Inuit had been settled into Quebec is such a vast province. The authors of the English text are anonymous, the texts having been supplied by the Department of National Health and Welfare for part one and the Bureau of Northwest Territories and Yukon Affairs, a branch of the Department of Mines and Resources for part two. Her writing reflects this preoccupation with language, introducing myriad terms used in various day-to-day activities. But these aren't and shouldn't be the only stories. The book maintains a lightness in tone when relaying even the grimmest of events, such as when the hunter Jiimialuk loses an eye to scalding water, only to hear Sanaaq's young daughter ask whether she can eat the fallen cornea the answer is no. Dozens of new manuscripts and out-of-print classics such as Minnie Aodla Freeman's memoir Life Among the Qallunaat await publication opportunities, while lyricists like Elisapie Isaac and Beatrice Deer compose songs in both Inuktitut and English. The lives of the Inuit of Northern Quebec have changed radically over the past century. His mapping of Labrador influenced expeditions after him including that of Mina Hubbard in Taissumani recounts a specific event of historic interest.

This month, however, that's likely to change as the University of Manitoba Press, in partnership with Avataq Cultural Institute, releases the first English edition of Mitiarjuk's novel, Sanaaq.

A syllabic version of that book was planned but never appeared. And a story is the ultimate magic by which this may occur.

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Sanaaq: An Inuit Novel by Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk