Her father’s name is Koagak and mother’s is Elisapee. Elisapee used to carve when Mary was younger. Mary is the oldest of sister Ragalie, brothers Aimo and Joanasie. Like most Inuit carvers, she is self taught and uses only northern stone such as serpentine. Using only manual tools with her work, she found carving at first quite hard to do but gets better every time a piece is completed.
The Inukshuks, she makes represents the ones that were used long ago by the Inuit to hunt the caribou. The Inukshuks were lined in two rows towards a lake where hunters waited in kayaks, while the women and childern chased the caribou into the trap by waving their parkas. Therefore Inukshuks played an important role to the survival of the Inuit for food and clothing.
—from an interview with July Papatsie May 1996
Excerpt courtesy Inuit Art Section, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), 1997.
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