|Johnny Nakoolak was born in 1925 to Masa Iktukak Mangiuk and Tommy Nakoolak in Kiklinuq, northern Quebec.
His earliest memory is hunting by dog team with his father. Johnny was so young he was tied onto the komatik to prevent him from falling off. When not hunting on land Tommy employed a Peterhead boat to hunt walrus, seal and whale plus animals such as caribou and polar bear.
Johnny is the oldest of his family which included four brothers and three sisters. All his sisters were adopted out. For a period of time his family lived on the Nottingham Islands, 80 miles east of Southampton Island, but in 1946 the Nakoolaks settled in Coral Harbour.
In 1972 Johnny married Elizabeth Ijukak. The family raised four sons. Johnny is a powerful individual, evidenced by his solid stature and muscled arms and hands. At age 84 he still enjoys hunting by boat on Hudson Bay.