Published fifty years ago under the title Harpoon of the Hunter, Markoosie Patsauq's novel helped establish the genre of Indigenous fiction in Canada. This new English translation unfolds the story of Kamik, a young hero who comes to manhood while on a perilous hunt for a wounded polar bear. In this astonishing tale of a people struggling for survival in a brutal environment, Patsauq describes a life in the Canadian Arctic as one that is reliant on cooperation and vigilance. In collaboration with the author, Valerie Henitiuk and Marc-Antoine Mahieu return to the original Inuktitut text to provide English readers with a more accurate translation. With a preface by Patsauq and an afterword from the translators, this edition offers a fresh and contextualized interpretation of a cultural milestone. Whether revisiting this classic or discovering it for the first time, readers will find in Hunter with Harpoon a sophisticated coming-of-age tale illustrating a way of life not as it appeared to southerners, but as it has survived in the memory of the Inuit themselves.
Markoosie Patsauq (1941-2020) was a writer, retired pilot, and community leader. He lived in Inukjuak, Nunavik. Valerie Henitiuk, translation studies specialist, is provost at Concordia University of Edmonton. Marc-Antoine Mahieu is professor of Inuktitut at the Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales, Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, and consultant for the Kativik school board in Nunavik.