Légendes / si4ᑳᑐᐊᑦ / Legends For each first animal they got, Inuit had some custom to perform. Everyone used these customs. These would be considered maligak, something that is followed, like laws are today. Today, they are hard for us to understand. A young person who made his first catch of an animal – a seal or any other – would give it to his sanajik, the person present when he was born. Normally, this would be the midwife or the one who had cut the umbilical cord at the young hunter’s birth. Most Inuit born in Nunavik had a sanajik, someone to whom they could bring their first catch. The sanajik would say thank-you for the gift, speak words of encouragement and express pride in the young hunter. In Ungava, this person was called arnaqutik, which translates as “one’s woman.” “I would have to present her with something from part of it, making sure she got everything she wanted from that animal,” said Tivi Etok, who was born near Kangiqsualujjuaq in 1929. “They were cut up and shared among a family, including the pelts and furs of seal and caribou.” If the arnaqutik lived far away, parts of the first animal would be dried and stored, not to be eaten but to be given to one’s arnaqutik at a later date. Inuit believed that these customs truly worked in practical ways. Even though hunting could be difficult, if someone was selfish and did not share from their first catch, their luck would change from good to bad. These practices are ancient traditions that are disappearing today. n 25 KANGUQ Hiver/Winter 2016 Peter Murdoch / Avataq Cultural Institute Levi Qumaluk près de Puvirnituq, années 1950-1960. ᓖᕓ ᖁᒫᓗᒃ, ᐳᕕᕐᓂᑑᑉ ᓴᓂᐊᓂ 1950-60ᓂ. Levi Qumaluk, near Puvirnituq, 1950s-1960s.