Helen was born on May 11, 1932 on the east shore of North Henik Lake. Her mother, Paalak, taught her meat preparation and sewing and cooking skills. From her father, Pipqanaaq, Helen learned to hunt and fish.

Most of the time she and her family lived alone but sometimes during the summer they lived with the Ihalmiut from Ennadai. Through marriage Helen has many cousins with the Ihalmiut. In 1952 her family was living by the trading post at Padlei and one year later she and James Konek, an excellent hunter, began living together. The couple never married and have seven children.

James hunted on foot and by dog sled much of the Barrenlands. During the winter of 1957 through 1958, the Konek family was starving, however. There were no caribou. During this period the family of four survived on fish, ptarmigan and rabbit. In 1960, the RCMP informed the Konek family, the trading post at Padlei would be shut down. On May 10, 1960, the family of five was put on a plane and taken to Arviat. They obeyed the authorities but did not want to move. James had gotten plenty of caribou so thought his family was quite secure. The caribou meat was brought back and given to the people of Arviat.

Helen is a small, hardworking woman and very good cook. She has never forgotten the land of her birth, nor the date she was relocated. Helen Agaaqtuq hopes one day to walk again the land that for her is but a memory.

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Helen Agaaqtuq Konek
Inuit, North Henik Lake
Image size: 11 x 13 inches
Edition size: 375