|Papaluk was born in October, 1941 in the Garry Lake region, which lies northwest of Baker Lake. Living inland far from the Hudson Bay, the people survived mainly on caribou and fish.
In the late 1950’s starvation swept the barrenlands and the Garry Lake region was struck particularly hard. Papaluk lost her first husband and several siblings. She began living with Maurice Kukkiak, whom Papaluk described as, ‘the greatest hunter of the Kivalliq.’ For a period of time their family lived at an outpost in Daly Bay. When their daughter, Lorraine, got sick the family relocated to Chesterfield Inlet so Lorraine could be cared for at the St. Theresa Hospital.
In Chesterfield Inlet Papaluk married Maurice. Maurice worked for a time in the nickel mine at Rankin Inlet. However, a near death experience made him embrace the old ways and he became a full-time hunter. Maurice passed away hunting seal on an ice floe in 2000.
Now living on the coast, Theresa had to learn the traditional Inuit women's skills regarding coastal marine mammal meat and hides. She learned quickly to prepare skins, sew waterproof sealskin boots (kamiks), while raising her large family. Theresa is known for her exceptional sewing skills. She is a very well respected member of her community.
Theresa Papaluk Kukkiak