|Southampton Island, located less than 100 kilometers south of the Arctic Circle, is a land of rock, snow and ice. In this inhospitable climate survival for the Inuit depended entirely on the ability to obtain sustenance from land and sea. It was here on the north side at Duke of York Bay, that Marie was born 70 years ago. Shortly afterwards, her family moved south to the settlement of Coral Harbour. Still a child, Marie went to live in a camp with another Inuit couple after her father drowned.
In her early teens Marie moved north to the Aivilik region which lies on the mainland coast. She remembers the whale hunts, when whales would come close to land and generate great excitement in the community. The men would quickly prepare and head out in their boats for the hunt. The families would cheer them on from shore. After the whales were killed and dragged to shore the work of cutting up the meat would begin. These were happy times.
When 15 years old Marie married Joe Nattar. Afterwards the couple moved to Rankin Inlet where Marie raised her family of three children. At that time Rankin Inlet inhabitants were only white men: a Roman Catholic priest and Hudson Bay employees.
I first met this very friendly woman in her home in Rankin Inlet in 2002. She chided me for being bossy when I asked her to come outside for some photographs. Later when we met again I was able to inquire about her life. Because of her generation's great reliance on the land and sea for food, clothing and shelter, Marie experienced much. Marie passed away in October 2003. I believe it was her delightful laughter which comforted all who visited, how she will be remembered