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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Proud to be Inuvialuit, written by James Pokiak and Mindy Willett. Photographs by Tessa Macintosh. Fifth House, 2010. $16.95 ages 8 and up

"As the story goes, there were some caribou that were about to cross to a
point of land near where Tuk is today. A young woman was sick, so the people
told her, "Don't look out at the caribou, you're sick. Something might happen to
the caribou." She agreed., but when the caribou started swimming across to the point she peeked, and the caribou turned into rocks. To this day, you can see stone caribou when the water is low. That is how Tuktoyaktuk or 'something that looks like a caribou,' got its name."

I have reviewed this series previously. This is the fifth book published to help young readers learn about the people and their culture, the land and the beauty of the Northwest Territories. This edition takes us along with James Pokiak and his family as they participate in a traditional Beluga hunt.

The photographs are engaging and informative, showing village life as it is lived. They allow us access to family and home life, the people and places of the community and the traditions of the hunt itself. Information is shared throughout the text and and a glossary of terms and further facts are added in the back matter.

As the Pokiak family works to keep their traditions and make a better life for themselves, we are interested observers. It is a most welcome window for all. James is a fine teacher, sharing the many skills and values that he has learned growing up in Tuktoyuktuk. It is his wish to pass his traditional ways on to his family and friends. It has a personal feel and leaves the reader thinking of James as a friend, with a stake in helping further our knowledge of his people and their community. It is a worthy addition to any collection that encourages understanding of present and past Inuit culture.

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