Neil
Neil Christopher

Neil Christopher moved to Resolute Bay, Nunavut, after teachers’ college. There he worked as a high school science teacher, helping to develop a community school (in the past students were sent to a residential school in Pond Inlet). During his time in Resolute Bay, Neil fell in love with the North—the landscape, the wildlife, and the culture. It was also in those first years in the North, that Neil was introduced to the rich mythology of the Canadian Inuit. Through the stories and artwork of his high school students, Neil began to take an interest in the oral history of the Arctic.For the last eight years, Neil has been researching Inuit myths and legends and has used this research to develop publications for children, youth and adults. Currently, Neil works more as an editor for Inhabit Media Inc., but he hopes to continue his collaborative work with Nunavummiut on children’s books.

From the author:

I was raised on a steady diet of myths and legends. The Minotaur, Medusa and the Kraken were some of the first story characters that captured my imagination. So, many years later, when I noticed a student sketching out a monster during one of my high school classes in Resolute Bay. I took an interest.“It’s of Mahaha,” he told me. “He’s the tickling demon of the Arctic.” And that was it. I was hooked. I began looking from more information on Inuit myths and legend in my spare time. I was especially interested in the supernatural beings that inhabit many of the Inuit stories.

Together with my colleagues, I have been working to ensure that the rich storytelling traditions of the Arctic is not lost. Through anthologies, children’s books, posters, and websites we have been working with Nunavummiut to promote these stories and ensure they don’t become simply part of history, but influence the contemporary culture of the North.

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Aalasi Joamie

Aalasi Joamie was born in Inukjuak, Quebec. Her family moved to Pangnirtung when she was a young girl. In the 1960s, she moved to Niaqunnguuq (Apex, a satellite community of Iqaluit) with her husband and children into their first house. She has lived there ever since.For many years, Aalasi worked as a maternity aid at the Baffin Regional Hospital. Aalasi contributed to Interviewing Inuit Elders: Perspectives on Traditional Health and she teaches traditional plant knowledge workshops at Nunavut Arctic College. She also travels to traditional plant-use conferences nationally and internationally.

From the author:

It is as if I an unable to live without plants. They have been a part of my childhood, my adolescence, and my motherhood. I have taken my toddlers out on walks with me. I have tried to pass on my knowledge of plants to my children. I know which plants are edible, which are harmful and which have medicinal uses. My father also taught me how to use plants as indicators, as a compass is used. By using rocks, the positions of plants, wind and hills, you can find your way back. I have learned the use of these indicators through trial and error.
– Excerpted from Walking with Aalasi: An Introduction to Edible and Medicinal Arctic Plants.

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Mark Kalluak

Mark Kalluak was born in 1942 and raised in the traditional Inuit lifestyle in and around the Tavanie area on the Western shore of Hudson’s Bay. In 1948, he was among many Inuit polio victims evacuated from their igloo homes to Winnipeg for medical treatment. During four long years in the hospital, he literally taught himself to read and write syllabics, and how to read and write a second language: English.Mark has worked in education ever since the first instructional programs were established in the North. He has served as a teacher, translator, classroom assistant and adult educator. He is now the Cultural Heritage Coordinator for the Government of Nunavut’s Department of Education, working to ensure Inuit traditional knowledge is truly imprinted in Nunavut’s new Kindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum.Mark first heard the traditional stories he documents from his mother. He has published (and illustrated) some of these in a variety of collections, beginning with How Kabloonat Became and Other Inuit Legends, published by the Northwest Territories Department of Education in 1974.Mark is a recipient of the Order of Canada. He holds a number of awards and certificates in recognition of his skills as a writer and language specialist. He is also a respected elder in Arviat, where he lives surrounded by his seven children and many grandchildren.

From the author:

I wrote these stories because I know that they would disappear because life is changing and people don’t listen to stories from their grandparents anymore. If more kids knew the traditional stories, they’d be more knowledgeable. These stories help you to think about how you should behave among other people.

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Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley

Born in an Arctic wilderness camp and of Inuit ancestry, Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley is a scholar specializing in world religions and cultures. Her numerous articles and books concerning Inuit magic and lore have earned her a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Of Scottish-Mohawk ancestry, Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley is a folklorist and fantasist, specializing in mythology, magic, and Inuit lore. He has won an award for writing short science fiction (“Green Angel”), but his focus is on fiction and non-fiction for a young audience.
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Anna Ziegler

Anna Ziegler lives in Iqaluit where she works at Nunavut Arctic College as an instructor and regional program coordinator. She is the co-author of Walking with Aalasi: An Introduction to Edible and Medicinal Arctic Plants and Tukisigiaruti Qaujisaqtulirinirmut: A Life Sciences Handbook for Nunavut Educators.