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CBC Inuktitut language podcast Inuit Unikkaangit reunites Inuit with their stories

Host and archivist Mary Powder reunites Inuit with stories from CBC North’s vast Inuktitut language archives by replaying them for the descendants of the original storytellers, some of whom are hearing them for the very first time.

Host and archivist Mary Powder replays them for the descendants of the original storytellers

Through the podcast Inuit Unikkaangit, archivist Mary Powder reunites Inuit with these valuable teachings by inviting listeners to join her as she replays them for the descendants of the original storytellers, some of whom are hearing them for the very first time. (Quentin Sala, Kristine Audlaluk-Watsko | Design: Brooke Schreiber/CBC)

ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ    ᐊᑐᐊᕈᓐᓇᕐᑕᐃᑦ  ᑎᑎᕋᖅᑕᐅᓯᒪᔪᖅ 

The CBC North archive holds thousands of hours of recently digitized interviews and conversations with Inuit, in Inuktitut, going back decades. This vault of material includes stories about the land, animals, medicine, respect and more.

As a catalog, it reflects Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit — Inuit traditional knowledge and principles — and through the podcast Inuit Unikkaangit (which means: Our Stories or Inuit Stories), archivist Mary Powder reunites Inuit with these valuable teachings by inviting listeners to join her as she replays them for the descendants of the original storytellers, some of whom are hearing them for the very first time.

Stream all episodes out now


Meet the Host

Mary works with the team cataloging material in Inuktitut, her first language. Her family is from Grise Fiord — ᐊᐅᔪᐃᑦᑐᖅ 'the place that never thaws' — Nunavut's most northern community. (Walter Strong/CBC)

Mary Powder is an archivist with CBC North's Indigenous Language Archive Project, which is digitizing decades worth of CBC content in eight Indigenous languages and will be making it available on demand to the public.

"Inuit Unikkaangit is not about me, it's about Inuit stories and how it's important to keep these stories," says Mary. 

"Inuit didn't learn with pen and paper. Inuit learned from stories and hands-on day-to-day for survival. 

"Inuit have so much to offer and we can learn from each other."

Get episode 1

Simonie Alainga & his son, Pitseolak Alainga (CBC)
Simonie Alainga tells a story about the oddities he's observed with shadow people and little people. When Mary plays the story for Simonie's son Pitseolak Alainga, he tells her how Simonie did most of his storytelling and teaching on the land.

Get episode 2

Nauya Tassugat & his daughter, Rebecca Panikpa (CBC)
Nauya Tassugat tells a story about working hard, getting your dog team ready and the importance of helping others. When Mary plays the story for Nauya's daughter Rebecca Panikpa, she remembers the caribou and seal skin clothes she wore as a girl, and the work her dad did to harvest those animals.

Get episode 3

Previously unknown storyteller Philip Qamanirq & his daughter Audrey (CBC)
A once unknown storyteller from our archives tells a story about how to interpret the wind, and the things it can tell you. Listeners to Inuit Unikkaangit identified the man as Philip Qamanirq.  You can hear bonus episode #1 with his daughter Audrey here

Get episode 4

Stephen Kootoo & his daughter, Leetia Kootoo (CBC)
Stephen Kootoo tells a story about how hunters knew when the conditions were right to go hunting. When Mary plays the story for Steven's daugher Leetia Kootoo, Leetia talks about how she was taught this knowledge by her father.

Get episode 5

Isaaki Padlayat & his younger brother, Josepi Padlayat (CBC)
Isaaki Padlayat talks about how Inuit had a simple life before outsiders arrived. No matter how much hardship there was, Inuit were comfortable with their ways. When Mary reaches Isaaki's younger brother Josepi Padlayat, Josepi tells her that his late brother believed Inuit had the skills to survive.

Get episode 6

Previously unknown storyteller Koonoo Ipirq & her daughter Annie Ipirq and granddaughter June Shappa. (CBC)
A once unknown woman from our archives re-tells a story she was told about the Qallupilluk: a creature that would capture children and pull them into the sea. The tale is told to discourage kids from playing on floating ice. Thanks to a family friend she was identified as the late Koonoo Ipirq. You can hear bonus episode #2 with her daughter and cousin here

Get episode 7

Can you help us find this storyteller? (CBC)
Another unknown man from our archives shares his knowledge on the various types of snow, their names, and the differences between them. Mary hopes listeners recognize the man's voice and can help her connect with his family.

Get episode 8

Igah Palluq & her husband, Qaunaq Palluq (CBC)
Qaunaq Palluq tells a story about his parents travelling to another camp during winter and an avalanche that struck as they stopped for a break. When Mary plays this story for Qaunaq's wife Igah Palluq, Igah shares more about how the family survived the ordeal and the hardship that followed.

Get *bonus* episode 1

Mary connects with the daughter of the unknown storyteller in Episode 3.  Audrey Qamanirq recognised her Dad Philip Qamanirq's voice and called Mary to tell her about him.

Get *bonus* episode 2

Mary connects with the daughter and cousin of the late Koonoo Ipirq.  Koonoo was the unknown storyteller in Episode 6 talking about the Qallupilluk.  Thanks to a family friend who recognised her voice, Mary was able to learn more about Koonoo's story and the impact it had on the kids she told it too.

CREDITS

  • Host: Mary Powder
  • Producer: Peter Sheldon
  • Editorial guidance: Betty Harnum, Patrick Nagle, Mervin Brass
  • Communications and promotions: Jane Tran, Taron Cochrane, Justin Deeley
  • Graphic design: Brooke Schreiber

If you have any additional information about these stories or want to provide feedback, please contact the podcast directly at inuitunikkaangit@cbc.ca.

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