by Neil Christopher
Illustrated by Germaine Arnaktauyok
There is the origin story of night and day, based on a fox who wanted darkness so that it could steal from others, and the one of how sea mammals arose from a woman tricked into marryng a bird spirit. The myths about the origins of the caribou that fill the North and how the land populated itself with babies that were adoped by people of the North are also shared with Kudlu’s children. And then there are the tales of magical igluit (pl. of iglu) that could travel through the air and of the nanurluk, the giant polar bear, which could be so large as to be mistaken for icebergs (see illustration below).
Way Back Then may be short, incomplete myths told within the context of a bedtime story, but it is a larger-than-life (much like the lemming and giant polar bear within) story that celebrates oral storytelling, both in Inuktitut and English here, that will provide parents and educators with the seeds for expanding that storytelling practice to a new generation.