Meet Louie Kamookak: champion of the Inuit oral tradition

Wonderful to see that my friend Louie Kamookak — Inuit historian, Franklin expert, and public speaker — has set up a website (click here). I’m looking forward to catching Louie in Ottawa on April 12, where he will participate in a panel discussion about Franklin and the Inuit oral tradition. It will be hosted by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.  My
own favorite story about Louie harks back to 1999. It starts with us beating south along the west
coast of Boothia Peninsula in his motorboat. We were returning to Gjoa Haven
after placing a plaque honoring  explorer John Rae. Louie said that, before
we recrossed Rae Strait, he wanted to check out a spot he knew, where sometimes
the hunting was good.  We entered a small bay, hauled the boat
up onto a sandy beach, and climbed a ridge to scan the horizon. I saw nothing, but suddenly Louie said: “Caribou!”
The animal must have been 120 yards away. Louie dropped to one knee, put his
gun to his shoulder, and fired. Nothing happened. I thought he had missed. But
then, the caribou dropped down dead where it stood. We raced across the tundra. Louie was
jubilant: “Straight through the heart!” He skinned that animal, put the massive
carcass on his back, and staggered with it back to the boat. “Meat will last
all winter,” he said. And that’s just a part of who Louie is. To the great tradition of Inuit
explorers, adventurers, interpreters, and story-tellers — a lineage that
Eenoolooapik, Tattannoeck,
Ouligbuck father and son, Tookoolito, and Ebierbing — today we can add another name: Louie Kamookak.


  1. Rocky Mountain Custom Leather on February 1, 2022 at 5:16 pm

    Such remarkable experiences you've had! (I wish I'd been there to nab the hide.)

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