|Rhoda was born in 1933 on the northern part of South Hampton Island to Mary Tarlik and Joe Curley. As a child Rhoda was determined not to be left out amongst her male siblings and cousins. She began trapping fox when she was 9 years old and sewing kamiks at age 12. Rhoda did not attend school as there was no opportunity to do so.
Rhoda married Harry Gibbons and had two children. 1952 found them at Maguse River where her father was helping missionaries translate a bible at the local Mission. It was during the 3 years at Maguse River many family members died from disease, including Joe Curley and her husband. Afterwards, Rhoda and her family relocated to Arviat.
In 1954 Rhoda married Johnny Karetak. Rhoda’s family continued to grow. In 1963 she spent 1 1/2 years in a sanitorium for treatment for tuberculosis. There she received a basic education. Rhoda has maintained a busy lifestyle. She raised her large family and cared for other people’s children. She sewed all her children’s clothing.
Rhoda has always been involved in traditional cultural activities and as such has continually promoted Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (traditional knowledge). She is the past president of the Inuit Cultural Institute, has been cultural advisor to the Nunavut Government and has worked for the Department of Education on curriculum development to include the Inuit perspective. The common thread through Rhoda’s many achievements and awards is her desire to, ‘keep Inuit culture alive.’ With that aim, she has been a tireless advocate.
Rhoda Akpaliapik Karetak