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East York people, places, events & insights

Students at new Aboriginal Studies Centre at Eastern Commerce Collegiate wowed by author Michael Kusugak

 

Michael Kusugak elaborating on the setting in one of his books. -JENN WILSON

Michael Kusugak elaborating on the setting in one of his books. -JENN WILSON

\ by Jennifer Wilson \

Michael Kusugak can spin a tale. The beloved Canadian Inuit author captivated adults and children alike during his appearance at the Centre for Aboriginal Studies at the former Eastern Commerce Collegiate school on Phin Ave. in East York on Wed. Nov. 16.

After opening acknowledgements by instructional leader Michelle Corneau recognizing the Toronto land purchase treaty and Louis Riel Day in Ontario, Mr. Kusugak held sway with tales of his childhood in Repulse Bay NWT (now Nunavut), and relating legends of Kiviuk, the “Stoneman” that his grandmother used to tell him.

Kusugak, who these days lives in Rankin Inlet, is a consummate storyteller who can captivate the imaginations of children and adults alike.

Mr. Kusugak holds childen and adults alike spellbound as he relates tales of his life in Repulse Bay and how his stories came to be written.

Mr. Kusugak holds childen and adults alike spellbound as he relates tales of his life in Repulse Bay and how his stories came to be written. -JENN WILSON

The winner of many literary awards, including the 2008 Vicky Metcalf Award for Children’s Literature (given to an author with a strong body of work in the genre) also recounted his time collaborating with Robert Munsch on the 1998 acclaimed book “A Promise Is A Promise.”  Mr. Muncsh stayed with the Kusugak family in Repulse Bay while working on the book, the story of a girl who disobeys her parents and goes fishing on the sea ice only to encounter the Qallupillit, who steal children from the villages to raise them as their own at the bottom of the ocean.

I personally recently read Kusugak’s 2006 book “Curse of the Shaman” recently about a young man named Wolverine who is cursed by a good but cranky shaman soon after birth but is destined to marry the shaman’s daughter. Although it is written for young adults this not so young adult enjoyed it thoroughly.

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