Aviaq Johnston is a young Inuk author from Igloolik, Nunavut. Her debut novel Those Who Run in the Sky was released in the spring of 2017. In 2014, she won first place in the Aboriginal Arts and Stories competition for her short story “Tarnikuluk,” which also earned her a Governor General’s History Award. Aviaq is a graduate of Nunavut Sivuniksavut, and she has a diploma in Social Service Work from Canadore College. Aviaq loves to travel and has lived in Australia and Vietnam. She spends most of her time reading, writing, studying, and procrastinating. She goes back and forth between Iqaluit, Nunavut, and Ottawa, Ontario.
Susan Aglukark is an award-winning singer-songwriter known for blending the Inuktitut and English languages with contemporary pop music arrangements to tell the stories of her people. She has honorary doctorates from several universities and has performed for many Canadian and international dignitaries. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada and was awarded the Governor General’s Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award in June 2016. She lives in Oakville, ON.
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.
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.
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.
Celina Kalluk was born and raised in Resolute Bay, Nunavut, to Zipporah Kalluk and Leonard Thibodeau. Celina has two brothers and five sisters, one sister-niece, and many more beautiful nieces and nephews. She also has four daughters of her own, Jazlin, Aulaja, Saima, and Ramata. Sweetest Kulu is her first book for children. She dedicates this book to all the mothers and fathers of this earth and to our wonderful children. Celina is also a visual artist and has illustrated several book covers and other literacy materials. Currently, she is the Inuktitut Language Specialist and Cultural Arts teacher for grades seven through twelve at Qarmartalik School in Resolute Bay.