CM . . .
. Volume XIX Number 27. . . .March 15, 2013
This second volume of Inuit folktales, presented in both Inukitat syllabics and English, consists of 11 stories collected, translated and illustrated by the respected community elder and storyteller Mark Kalluak. The stories include pourquoi tales, such as how the sun and the moon came into existence and the creation of mosquitoes, tales of mythical and paranormal characters, and traditional teaching stories. Peppered with Inukitat terms, translated naturally within the storyline, the stories seamlessly move off the page to replicate an oral storytelling session. The stories provide a glimpse into the knowledge base of traditional Inuit culture and belief systems as well as the interaction between Inuit and wildlife. The tales often include instances of violence, authentically reflecting survival techniques in an inhospitable environment.
In many instances, the introduction to individual stories provides source notes for Kalluak’s acquisition of the tales. He repeatedly reminds the reader that “there are many variations of this story because many communities have their own unique version.” He then identifies the community in which this particular story is told. The illustrations are childlike, coloured in warm pastel shades, and evocative of the landscape.
Gail de Vos teaches at the School of Library and Information Studies for the University of Alberta and is the author of nine books on storytelling and folklore.
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