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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


June 14, 2003 - Issue 89


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Nunavut Series on Bravo! and at the AGO
First time a TV channel and museum show the same work

by Isuma News

Credits: photo 1: Detail of the qajaq built by John MacDonald.,photo 2: Close-up of caribou googles

Produced, directed, written, and acted by Inuit
Series starts July 9 @ 7:30pm ET

(Toronto May 30, 2003) Bravo! NewStyleArtsChannel heads North with the premiere of the 13-part dramatic television series Nunavut Our Land on July 9 @ 7:30pm ET. Produced by Igloolik Isuma Productions, each 30-minute episode brings to life the people, setting and continuing story of how Inuit in the Igloolik region of the Canadian Arctic lived on the land in the 1940s. Nunavut Our Land features the creative involvement of Igloolik Isuma president Zacharias Kunuk, director of the 2001 award-winning feature film Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner).

"We are pleased to include this prestigious series in our line-up," said Isme Bennie, Bravo! Director of Programming and Acquisitions. "Through Bravo!, we are extending its reach nationally."

Detail of the qajaq built by John MacDonald.Nunavut Our Land dramatizes true stories of today's Elders, who still remember their early days growing up just before government and settlement life began. Using actors who speak in Inuktitut (with English subtitles), the series recreates a nomadic lifestyle that no longer exists today. Following the lives of five fictional families played by contemporary Inuit, the series takes us through the different seasons of the Arctic year.

Beginning in the immense and beautiful northern spring of 1945, Nunavut Our Land re-enacts first encounters with the priest at Avaja. Inside the church, the sermon is clear: Paul 4:22, "Turn away from your old way of life." Nevertheless, the Inuit continue their age-old traditions of fishing, hunting for walrus, caribou and seal. Home is kept cosy by a carefully tended seal oil lamp. But even here, news of the terrible world war raging outside makes people frightened and uneasy. The series closes on Christmas Day, which for Inuit in 1946 is a strange mix of ritual, some from the old life and some from the new.

Nunavut Our Land was featured as a video installation at last year's Documenta 11, the celebrated quintennial exhibition of international contemporary art. The series has also been screened at other prominent venues such as the Sundance Film Festival and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. It was also recently acquired by the Art Gallery of Ontario. "The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is very excited about the recent purchase of Igloolik Isuma Production's Nunavut series," commented Chief Curator Dennis Reid, "We recognize Igloolik Isuma Productions as one of the most important artistic voices currently at work in this country. Their innovative process and the remarkable videos that result, such as the Nunavut series and Atanarjuat, have pushed Indigenous video art in profound new directions."

Bravo!, a division of CHUM Television, is Canada's NewStyleArtsChannel dedicated to entertaining, stimulating and enlightening viewers who have a taste for a more complex television. Bravo! on the Internet:

CHUM Television is a division of CHUM Limited (TSE SYMBOL: CHM CHM.B,, one of Canada's leading media companies and content providers which owns and operates radio stations, local television stations, specialty channels and Internet properties.

Close-up of caribou googles. Igloolik Isuma Productions Inc. was incorporated in January 1990 as Canada's first Inuit independent production company by founding shareholders Zacharias Kunuk, president; Paul Apak Angilirq, vice-president; Paul Qulitalik, chairman; and Norman Cohn, secretary-treasurer. Isuma's owners remain its core collective production team. Their mission is to professionalize an Inuit style of community-based media production to preserve and enhance Inuit culture, create jobs in Igloolik and represent a distinctively Inuit point of view in the global communications marketplace. Since 1989 Isuma's Inuit style of drama has won awards, recognition and acclaim in Canada and sixteen countries worldwide, including the Camera d'Or at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival for Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner). Isuma on the Internet: and

For more information, artwork and/or screening copies:  

Jennifer Mair
Communications Coordinator
Phone: 416-591-7400 ext. 2724

Jennifer C. S. Lo
Director of Communications
Phone: 416-591-7400 ext. 2761
For information about the Nunavut Series Installation and other programs by Igloolik Isuma Productions:
Katarina Soukup
Communications Director
Igloolik Isuma Productions
Phone: 867-934-8809

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  

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