Between Repulse Bay, on the Arctic Circle and Pelly Bay, to the north, lies Kamichee Bay. It was here John was born on September 18th, 1944. At age 9 John moved with his family to Repulse Bay. One of his earliest memories was his first taste of candy at the local Hudson Bay store. He recalled fondly, "It was so good!!”

John commented about living on the land, “I was taught by my father, uncles and close relatives about surviving on the land. When you know how to act and behave in different situations, you don’t have problems. For instance, I was taught to recognize when being too close to walrus and polar bears because they can become very dangerous. They will react a certain way and you must be aware of the situation to avoid the danger.”

In 1970 John married Uluta. The couple raised three sons and adopted a girl. John’s unique hat was purchased by his wife in 1978 from the Hudson Bay store. John initially didn’t like it, preferring his fur hat but began to wear it in the spring when the weather was warmer. In 1996 while out camping, it got torn, so Uluta, with no material to repair it put on a patch instead. She planned to put material on later but John suggested she keep adding patches to it instead. Others began giving John patches for his hat. Uluta says, ‘patches came from everyone and everywhere.’

John, a cancer survivor, is a healthy, friendly fellow who enjoys spending time on the land and as acting Lay Minister for the local Roman Catholic Church.


Back to Portrait Gallery

John Ivalutanar
Inuit, Repulse Bay
Image size: 11 x 13 inches
Edition size: 575