|Mikitok was born in 1923 to Tommy Bruce (Ukpaqtuq) and Leonie Qavangat on a hill outside Coral Harbour. This Inuit from this region of Nunavut are called, Aivilingmiut, the ‘People of the Walrus.’
Mikitok learned basic survival skills from his father but it was his grandfather, Agotimarik, who taught him advanced hunting skills. When learning to hunt seal Mikitok was trained to get close enough to touch a seal by imitating it. Mikitok understood that an Inuk’s main concern was to be able to survive any season. This included the concept of proper harvesting of the animals.
One summer while living at Duke of York Bay Mikitok travelled with his uncle, Joe Curley, to Repulse Bay to pick up his future wife, Kanayuk. Although they had never met before, Mikitok and Kanayuk were married in 1947 by the H.B.C. manager in Coral Harbour.
When I inquired about surviving on the land and its potential hazards, Mikitok replied, “I have never been in a dangerous situation. I know my skills. I am confident in my abilities.”