|Victoria was born around Chantry Inlet in the Back River area and does not know her exact age. In her early teens her parents brought her to a camp for an arranged marriage. Not knowing the older man was to be her future husband, Victoria left, walked all night and arrived back at her own camp the next morning. She returned with her parents and married the man named, Moses.
The end of the 1950’s was a particularly difficult time for the inland Inuit, periods of starvation being commonplace. “We lived mainly on fish because the caribou did not come often. If not for my mother-in-law who helped us, we all would have perished.” During the 1960’s, while Moses was gone for medical treatment, providing for her family became an enormous undertaking. The times were indeed so difficult that Victoria is most reluctant to talk about them. Eventually Victoria was forced to leave for treatment, sadly leaving her daughter and baby behind. She returned 1 1/2 years later in a very weakened state.
Other than being with her grandchildren Victoria’s greatest love is to be on the land. All her children are excellent fishers but according to them she is the best by far and will spend an entire day jigging for fish.
Our initial meeting that sunny day in Baker Lake in 2003 was brief. Victoria’s shyness was obvious but her eyes displayed her indomitable spirit. That, necessary for survival in Canada’s far north, truly describes Victoria Arqnaaluk.