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Reawakening Our Ancestors' Lines
Reawakening Our Ancestors' Lines

Reawakening Our Ancestors' Lines

Revitalizing Inuit Traditional Tattooing

By Angela Hovak Johnston, Photographs By Cora DeVos, Photographs By Meta Antolin

SOCIAL SCIENCE

72 Pages, 11.25 x 11.25

Formats: Cloth

Cloth, $29.95 (US $29.95) (CA $29.95)

Publication Date: November 2017

ISBN 9781772271690

Rights: WOR

Inhabit Media (Nov 2017)

Price: $29.95
 
 

Overview

Photos and stories meant to preserve an ancient, woman-centered Inuit tradition for future generations

For thousands of years, Inuit women practised the traditional art of tattooing. Created with bone needles and caribou sinew soaked in seal oil or soot, these tattoos were an important tradition for many women, symbols stitched in their skin that connected them to their families and communities.But with the rise of missionaries and residential schools in the North, the tradition of tattooing was almost lost. In 2005, when Angela Hovak Johnston heard that the last Inuk woman tattooed in the traditional way had died, she set out to tattoo herself and learn how to tattoo others. What was at first a personal quest became a project to bring the art of traditional tattooing back to Inuit women across Nunavut, starting in the community of Kugluktuk.Collected in this beautiful book are moving photos and stories from more than two dozen women who participated in Johnston’s project. Together, these women are reawakening their ancestors’ lines and sharing this knowledge with future generations.

Author Biography

Angela Hovak Johnston is an Inuk woman who was raised on the land in the Kitikmeot Region of Nunavut until she was sent away to school. Using her Inuinnaqtun name given to her at birth is her way of carrying on a past relative’s name and the characteristics of that ancestor. Hovak has a deep connection to her culture and traditional arts and skills. Now living in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Hovak does some type of traditional artwork every day, from sewing, soapstone carving, jewellery making, tanning hides, and fleshing and preparing skins to her latest type of art, tattooing.Jose Angutinngurniq was born at the head of an inlet after his parents returned from a walrus hunt in the area of Arviligjuaq, Nunavut. He grew up in the Natsilik region of Nunavut, around the Taloyoak area, in a community called Ittuaqturvik. Jose first heard the story of The Giant Bear from his grandfather Alakannuaq, who lived to be very old. When babies were born, the first person to hold the child became the sanaji, the one who forms the characteristics of the child. Alakannuaq formed Jose into who he is today.