Rose, born in Wager Bay in March, 1924, was adopted out. Her early life was punctuated by abuse, typical for girls, particularly the youngest. At age 12 Rose would walk the dogs when they would move from one camp to another, sometimes two days travel. The working dogs were trained to carry skins, gear and food.

In 1942 Rose married Leo Ussak in Chesterfield Inlet. The couple maintained a nomadic lifestyle as they moved from camp to camp between Rankin Inlet and Chesterfield Inlet. In 1957 the Ussak family moved to Rankin Inlet so Leo could work in the Rankin Nickel Mine. After the mine closed he began employment as a janitor at the local elementary school.

Every summer the entire family would live at their cabin at the Diana River. Rose hunted and fished with Leo. They would catch seal which Rose would skin and use to make kamiks.

Rose still insists on performing traditional activities. She continues to travel to Whale Cove, 3 to 4 hours by skidoo, to fish. She enjoys drying fish and caribou. In the summer the family now lives at their summer camp at the Meliadine River. If it were her choice, Rose would live on the land all year round. My portrait is of a woman who can take on all adversity. Rose commented, “The hardships I went through made me a very strong person.”

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Rose Ussak
Inuit, Rankin Inlet
Image size: 12 x 15 inches
Not Yet In Print