Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Louis Kamookak 1959-2018, historian

Visions of the North notes the recent death and remarkable life of Louis Kamookak, OC, of Gjoa Haven, Nunavuk, who by becoming a historian of his own people and their accounts of the past, became one of the most consequential historians of the Franklin expedition and its fate.
He guided numerous parties to sites vital to the history of Franklin, Rae, and other key figures, from the days of the Franklin Probe, through to Dave Woodman's searches, the first Parks Canada search with Robert Grenier, the St Roch II expedition with Ken Burton, Ken McGoogan's re-tracing of Rae's surveys, and beyond. He was there for the recent rediscovery of both of Franklin's ships, and was personally brought to the site of HMS "Erebus" by Parks Canada to perform a traditional ceremony of remembrance. His work preserving Inuit oral traditions extended far beyond the Franklin story; he was the central contact for the Inuit Heritage Trust's work on traditional Inuit place names in the region around King William Island (Qikiqtaq), and helped to collect numerous oral histories of all kinds from the Gjoa Haven elders. He was just as much at home with younger Inuit, guiding them on expeditions on the land that retraced traditional routes and knowledge.
Photo from Visions of the North: Kamookak at Crozier's Landing, 1998.

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