John was born in 1936 in Baker Lake to Nipisar and Iqquk. As a young boy sustenance was not always available. During one summer month in the 1940’s while living with his aunt John survived on only berries and water. Because John’s parents passed away at an early age he was adopted out to Basil Scottie.

John recalled Basil teaching him how to survive on the land, “My step father was a good teacher, strict, but good. He taught me about the land, the animals and the weather.”

In 1953 John married Martha. Their family soon began to grow. Living on the land was more difficult for the children so in 1966 they packed up and moved into Baker Lake. In town John discovered a talent for carpentry. He began helping carpenters make the ‘matchbox’ houses being constructed for the growing population. He took a permanent position and worked for the local Housing Association for over 30 years.

John has strong opinions regarding how life has changed in the north. “Life was simpler in the old days. The children don’t respect the traditional Inuit way enough. They spend too much time thinking about the white man’s world. Knowledge was passed down and should be continually passed on down to the next generation. That is the Inuit way.”


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John Nukik
Inuit, Baker Lake
Image size: 12 x 14 inches
Edition size: 575