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Kiviu's Journey

Six part Inuktitut mini-series produced by the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation, written and directed by Martin Kreelak.

Kiviuq is a legendary figure across the North. His stories are told in many ways in many dialects. The stories of Kiviuq hold Inuit tradition together. From Alaska to Greenland elders tell stories about Kiviu and his journey home from exile.

In this series we make a switch. Just like Inuit tell the stories of Kiviu’s journey home, now Kiviu tells the stories of Inuit elders and their journey to Nunavut.

These are personal stories of dislocation and discovery told through legend, art and the land.

One of the last Inuit elders in Baker Lake, Amarok Samson Quinaanaaq is more than 80 years old. Amarok grew up on the land and his ears are not adapted to the noise pollution of Baker Lake. Every spring he needs to get away from the noise and dust of town so he takes his family to a small camp further up the lake. Being at the camp energizes him and makes him happy. There he finds time to ell Kiviuq stories to his grandchildren.

Kichekat is Amarok’s real home even though he hasn’t seen it for 40 years. This is where his memory lives along with the relatives who died there. He loves this place so much that he made a song about it. But his wife, Tululik remembers the hunger and cold from the hard times when they used to live here. Even so, they are very glad to be here with their son Basil and some of their grandchildren. Maybe now this generation will carry on precious memories of Kitchekat after they are gone.

Victoria Mamgosulakuk is an elder, artist, and storyteller from Baker Lake. The stories we hear of Kiviu are only a little part of all that there is to hear. The real original story of Kiviu’s journey goes on and on. Some great storytellers have long gone, their knowledge and that art of storytelling is buried with them. But the stories still live and we can visualize Kiviu stories in new ways. Now there are wall hangings and drawings to help tell the stories. Today Inuit artists tell their stories in many forms through their imaginations, carvings and drawings.

Established in the early 1800s, the little town of Chesterfield Inlet is one of the oldest communities in the north. It is the birthplace of Pelagie, the first Inuit Grey Nun in history. Pelagie served with the Grey Nuns for 20 years before she finally left. As an Inuit nun she found the rules a little too hard to follow. Many things happened behind closed doors at the residential school in Chesterfield Inlet. Sister Isabelle, who is about the same age, is a Grey Nun who served with Pelagie. Sister Isabelle still lives in Chesterfield Inlet where she looks after handicapped children.

Janet Kigusuik and Victoria Mamgosulakuk are two sisters who grew up on the Back River. They moved to Baker Lake in the early part of the 1940s and they’ve lived there ever since. But their art is still inspired by the land where they were born and where they grew up together. In those days Inuit went through a lot of hardships, enduring cold and sometimes hunger. But they also had happy times and warm feelings. Inuit expressed their feelings through their songs. Today these two sisters express their feelings through their drawings. To collectors their work is unique Inuit Art. But to the sisters it is the perspective of their life experiences and dramas from their childhood.

Maurice Kukkiak is one of the elders from Chesterfield Inuit. He’s a well-known hunter who lives in the modern world with trucks and Hondas. He remembers the early part of his childhood, his uncle who was a great Shaman and the hunger they endured together. Kukkiak’s memories are kept alive through the songs of his father, Qilaq, the Great Song maker.

Aaluk is the sister of Kukkiak. She has seen the changes too. She remembers the hardships. Aaluk herself finds it a lot easier to live in a settlement where your neighbor can give you a helping hand.

Kukkiak says being a full-time hunter is a hard life. Sometimes hunters don’t come home to their loved ones, but Kukkiak suffered even greater hardship and almost died when he worked in a mine near town so now he’s gone back to being a full-time hunter and his life is on the land. Saqvakjuak is the place where he and his parents endured hardships. This is where he is able to feel his ancestors and be with them in spirit. Kukkiak often comes here to hunt and refresh himself.


Six part Inuktitut mini-series produced by the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation in co-production with Words and Pictures Video, written and directed by Martin Kreelak