John Adjuk was born in 1913 in the Back River region of Nunavut. He grew up learning how to hunt and fish on the barrenlands. A resourceful young man, John rescued a girl from starvation who eventually became his wife. Monica and John have been together ever since.

Life took a turn for the worse, however, in 1949. Starvation was imminent so the Adjuk family (now 4 of them) began a three month trek to Perry River on the coast. It got so severe on the journey caribou hide was consumed after the hair had been scraped off. Eventually they arrived at their destination and remained for 5 years. In 1955 they returned to Garry Lake but in early 1958 the family of five was evacuated to Baker Lake when famine struck the land.

Agnes Turner, born in 1947, learned much from her father. “My father taught me how to hunt and survive on the land. ‘Use your common sense at all times. If you do not you will get lost. Survival skills are mental, physical and psychological.’ He also taught me life skills. ‘The best teacher is going to be yourself.’ He taught me how to deal with people when I grew up. He said, ‘God made you an Inuit. Be proud of who you are.’

In March, 1964, the Adjuk family, which now included 6 daughters, moved to Whale Cove because it was thought the hunting and fishing was better. I met John several times and admired his humor and intelligence. His portrait provoked laughter and the comment, “I look like an English gentleman.” John Adjuk, the oldest elder of Whale Cove, passed away in 2006 much loved and respected in his community.

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John Adjuk
Inuit, Whale Cove
Image size: 11 x 13 inches
Edition size: 575