|Norman is one of the most colorful characters in Whale Cove. He is a friendly, talkative individual who welcomed me at his large, well constructed cabin, called Fort Norman, just outside town. Norman was born at Padlei, located several hundred miles west of Arviat, in Oct.15, 1932. His father, Norman Ford, with his Inuit wife, ran a trading post for the Revillon Freres Trading Company.
Norman was adopted out to Sam and Nancy Voisey who operated the Hudson Bay post in the vicinity. A few years later, while Norman was still a young boy, the family moved to Whale Cove. Sam Voisey taught Norman to trap, hunt caribou, geese and ptarmigan. Says Norman, “We didn’t hunt on Sundays. That day we rested the dogs and then went out Monday. At sea I hunted seal, walrus and beluga.” As Norman grew older, he acquired his own dog team.
Having never attended school, Norman cannot read or write. On April 4, 1959, he married Theresa. They raised four boys, two daughters and adopted a girl named, Rosie. Norman worked in many communities in the north. In Rankin Inlet he was employed as garbage collector and also worked in the nickel mine for several years before it closed. He later travelled to Churchill where he found work on the sprawling military base.
Although he doesn’t hunt anymore, for health reasons, Norman’s philosophy when encountering animals was note worthy. He recalled, “When I met a grizzly, I said, ‘Hello’ to them and they went away. They want to be alive like us. I’ve never had a problem with animals, even polar bears. Once I followed a polar bear for 5 miles with no gun, just a camera. Whenever he stopped I took pictures of him. I had no problem.” My drawing of Norman shows him wearing a ‘salt and pepper’ hat, a product of Newfoundland.