Canadian

Sanaaq

This novel by Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk was translated to English by Bernard Saladin d'Anglure.

Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk, translated by Bernard Saladin d'Anglure

(University of Manitoba Press)

Sanaaq is an intimate story of an Inuit family negotiating the changes brought into their community by the coming of the qallunaat, the white people. Composed in 48 episodes, it recounts the daily life of Sanaaq, a strong and outspoken young widow, her daughter Qumaq and their small semi-nomadic community in northern Quebec. Here they live their lives hunting seal, repairing their kayak and gathering mussels under blue sea ice before the tide comes in. These are ordinary extraordinary lives: marriages are made and unmade, children are born and named, violence appears in the form of a fearful husband or a hungry polar bear. Here the spirit world is alive and relations with non-humans are never taken lightly. And under it all, the growing intrusion of the qallunaat and the battle for souls between the Catholic and Anglican missionaries threatens to forever change the way of life of Sanaaq and her young family. (From University of Manitoba Press)

From the book

The sea had not completely frozen over yet. This provided Arnatuinnaq with a chance to hunt gulls on the water with an ii.She recited the following charm: "My ii, my ii, swallow it, make a mouthful of it, stuff your beak with it, even if you have begun to spit it out! Stick into the inside of its throat, stick into it!"

This is what the Inuit recite when they hunt gulls with an ii.They say they want to make it swallow the ii.

"I got a big gull to swallow theii!" said Arnatuinnaq to herself. "Several times it tried to fly away, but it was firmly hooked to my ii!"

Here is how an ii is used. It is set down on the foreshore and attached to a long line anchored by a stone. A little piece of wood will keep it afloat and the hook is a metal nail smeared with blubber.


From Sanaaq by Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk, translated by Bernard Saladin d'Anglure ©2009. Published by University of Manitoba Press.