Markoosie Patsauq, 78, first Inuit novelist, in March
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2020-05-14 20:08:11 UTC
He had 37 descendants, including his great-grandchildren. He also wrote short stories.


First half or so:

The man who wrote what is considered the first published Inuit novel, and whose life exemplified both the tragedy and resilience of his people, has died.

Markoosie Patsauq, 78, died March 8 in his home in Inukjuak, Que. — mere months before his classic novel “Harpoon of the Hunter” was to be reissued in a freshly translated scholarly edition, 50 years after it first appeared.

“The novel is a much-loved text in many, many places around the world,” said Valerie Henitiuk, a professor at Edmonton’s Concordia University who worked with Patsauq on the new version.

Excerpts of it were reproduced in children’s readers all around, including Canada.”

“Harpoon of the Hunter” is short but complex.

The tale is told from four points of view, including a polar bear’s. Patsauq flips verb tenses as freely as he alternates between joy and sorrow.

He offers a vivid view of Inuit communities, the relationships between men and women and the realities of their daily lives — which few were better placed to understand.

On May 24, 1941, at a seasonal hunting camp near Inukjuak on the eastern coast of Hudson Bay, Patsauq was of the last generation of Inuit to be born into a traditional life. At 12, he and his four siblings, parents and four other families were forcibly relocated far to the north to Resolute in what is now Nunavut and left in tents on the beach as winter approached.

The federal government said at the time that Inukjuak was hunted out. Subsequent research has suggested the real reason was Arctic sovereignty. Those who survived have called themselves “human flagpoles.”

“It took us many weeks before we were able to get our own food,” Patsauq later told a documentary crew.

“We didn’t know the land. We didn’t even know if we should hunt in the sea or in the land. We were hungry.”

Patsauq was coughing up blood when he later arrived in Resolute, a symptom of tuberculosis. After a year, he was sent — alone — to a sanatorium in northern Manitoba.

He recuperated and learned English. But at 17 he was relocated again, this time to a residential school in Yellowknife.

By the 1960s, Patsauq had married his first wife, Zipporah, and had become a father. He also became the first Inuk to get a pilot’s licence and flew bush planes around the North...


From "Contemporary Authors" (which said he had one son and four daughters):

"Markoosie Patsauq was the first Canadian Inuit to publish a book in English. Originally written in syllabics and appearing in serialized form in the Eskimo newsletter Inuttituut , Harpoon of the Hunter was later translated by the author into English and published as a book. A story of survival and coming-of-age in the perilous world of the Arctic, Harpoon of the Hunter focuses on sixteen-year-old Kamik, who, along with his father and seven others, form a hunting party to kill a rabid polar bear that has attacked their village. During the expedition all the hunters are killed but Kamik, who must struggle to survive. After Kamik is found by a search party from a neighboring village, it is decided that the survivors of his village should join the other settlement. To do so they have to cross a dangerous channel and during the crossing Kamik's mother, as well as the girl he loves, drowns. Left floating out to sea on a chunk of ice, Kamik takes his life by thrusting his harpoon into his throat. While some critics have questioned the accuracy of Harpoon of the Hunter , most have praised it as a grim but realistic depiction of Inuit life and cultural survival. As Seth Bovey has stated: '[ Harpoon of the Hunter ] should be seen as a sophisticated work of fiction that is more than a story of individual survival. It is a story of survival of the Inuit as a people.' "



...It became a publishing sensation, being reviewed in distinguished journals like The Atlantic and the Times Literary Supplement. On a promotional tour funded by the federal government, Markoosie was even interviewed between periods of Hockey Night in Canada from Maple Leaf Gardens.

The book has been translated from English into French, German, Japanese, Danish, Ukrainian, Italian and Estonian, and a French version was retranslated into Hindi and Marathi...

He has an entry in volume 23 of the "Children's Literature Review" encyclopedias.

(check out the Inuit spelling - I assume that's what it is)

(video interview, in three parts - or, you can read the transcript instead)

David Carson
2020-05-14 20:41:47 UTC
Post by l***@yahoo.com
“Harpoon of the Hunter” is short but complex.
I tried to read it, but couldn't get inuit.