Anguti’s Amulet

Written by: The Central Coast of Labrador Archaeology Partnership

Translated by: Sophie Tuglavina

Illustrated by: Cynthia Colosimo

For ages: 8 years and up

Language: Inuktitut & English

Topics Covered: First Nations People, Indigenous Voices, Culture & Traditions, Family, Community, Love, Historical Events, Historical Fiction.

Summary: This is a two-part book.  The first tells of a young Inuit boy named Anguti and his life, particularly retelling an adventure with his sister. To briefly explain, Anguti and his sister Tukkekina find and kill a seal during a particularly harsh winter, but at the expense of getting stuck on a piece of ice that drifts out to sea.  Anguti wears an amulet that his shaman grandmother gave him, and his courage is renewed because of this.  The entire book is Inuktitut forward, with English translations coming afterwards.  The English version also keeps several words in Inuktitut, emphasizing their importance and teaching the reader over the course of the story.

Although the story is not true, it is based on objects found at an Inuit archaeology site and the story was written by the students and staff that worked at the site.  After the story is over, there is a huge amount of information about the dig site as well as a plethora of photos!  There are photos of the site, some of the objects that were found, and historical photographs.  Drawn maps of the site and the Labrador coast are included in the book, with additional historical context for readers unfamiliar with Inuit life and culture and geographical layout.  There is also a foreword that explains briefly about the book and its contents, as well as explaining the traditional facial tattooing seen on some of the women in the illustrations within the story about Anguti.

Reflection Questions:

  • Do you notice any differences between the Inuktitut and English spelling of words or capitalization?  
  • What do you know about other languages?
  • Do you or a family member speak another language?
  • Has anyone you know ever been up to Canada or the Arctic Circle?
  • What do you think is different in daily life there versus where you live now?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Find out more about what goes into long-term archaeology projects, like the one whose staff wrote this book.  Where are other projects taking place?  What sort of objects are being found?
  • Look for a video or recording of the story, told in Inuktitut.  What do you notice about the pronunciation versus English pronunciation?  A lot of people regard English as incredibly hard to learn, what do you think?
  • PBS just came out with a show called Molly of Denali, about an Indigenous girl.  See if you can find an episode to watch!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

The Central Coast of Labrador Community Archaeology Partnership is a cooperative research and educational venture with the community of Makkovik, Labrador.

Here is some more information about archaeology programs and how they work with Indigenous communities within Labrador!

ccolosimoOriginally from Thunder Bay, Cynthia Colosimo has lived in Labrador for sixteen years where she has worked on a number of community development and heritage projects. She also illustrated Anguti’s Amulet, a story about an 18th century Inuit boy, based on the archaeology of the Adlavik Islands in Northern Labrador. Cynthia has a BFA in drawing from the University of Manitoba and an MFA in printmaking from Concordia University. She is married to an archaeologist and has one child, another aspiring artist.

 

 

unnamedSophie Tuglavina is the translator of the story.  It was extremely difficult to find information about her online, so if you find any let us know!

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