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.