What young Akuluk expects to be a dull visit with her grandparents in Nunavut turns out to be an immersive experience in Piusuituqait, or “the traditional ways.”
Hardly has she stepped off the plane from Yellowknife than Akuluk’s mood changes from regret to delight at seeing big Arctic hares by the roadside on the way to a warm welcome from her Anaana and Ataata. Next morning, dressed in a new atigi (fur parka), she ventures out with both to ride an ATV over rolling hills of aqpiit (cloudberries) to the sea. There, following her grandpa’s instructions, she helps to select and gather eggs of mitiq (eider ducks) from a nesting site. Then on her return she finds on her chair an amauti, a woman’s parka with a pouch for carrying babies (or, in her case, her stuffed polar bear Piulua), and falls asleep to dream of speckled eggs and future visits. Wright’s soft-focus illustrations usually center on the round, smiling faces of Akuluk and her family, but background details of dress and the subarctic landscape add atmospheric notes to the episode. The Inuktitut words threaded through the narrative are defined both in context and in more detail at the end. Its focus on an Inuit protagonist who lives south of the tundra and has relatives in Montréal is a valuable reminder to all readers that indigenous peoples are not confined to their traditional territories.
A purposeful but nonetheless evocative glimpse of rural Inuit life inspired by memories of egg gathering in the author’s youth. (Picture book. 6-8)