|Norman was born on the west coast of Hudson Bay between Rankin Inlet and Arviat in 1932. His spent his youth learning how to live off the land and sea. In 1948, sixteen year old Norman moved to Baker Lake and married, Winnie. He and his wife lived, like other Inuit, by moving from camp to camp over the Barren land.
In the winter of 1950 Norman was not able to kill enough caribou during the fall hunt so his family could survive the long, extremely harsh winter. ‘In March, 1950, things were really hard in that part of the country. We lived mainly off the caribou and they did not come in any real numbers that year. I remember going out hunting with my brother and we came back to our camp without having found anything. It was a really tough time for us. Hunting was also difficult because two of my three dogs had starved to death.” Fortunately he and his brother were able to find a satisfactory fishing spot on the far side of Baker Lake; they remained there the entire winter.
The Attungala family moved back to the settlement of Baker Lake where Norman began working for Social Services. He had the responsibility of driving his dog team to the winter camps to determine the health of the people. He witnessed much suffering in the Barren land. “The famine of 1958 was really bad. I would arrive at a camp and no one would be there. I knew then things were bad. They were in such poor condition that the people had gone to find another camp for food or were out looking for food.” Norman was only a young man at the time, these painful memories are still vivid, however.
Several years ago Norman began teaching traditional knowledge in youth groups. His friendly manner and experience has been greatly appreciated.