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The Ancestors Are Happy

True Tales of the Arctic

The Ancestors Are Happy
David F. Pelly By (author)
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Crossfield Publishing

Limited ***

5.5 X 8.5 in
276 pg

HISTORY / General


The Ancestors Are Happy is a masterfully woven tapestry portraying a landscape of stories, which also offers a compilation of personal tales from Inuit informants whose lives collectively span the 20th century, a period of remarkable transition for the North. It draws on the author's experiences and encounters over forty years of living, travelling, and learning in Nunavut. David Pelly's lucid text is rooted in oral—history collected from Inuit elders, for which work he was awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal. Readers will be carried on a journey across Canada's Arctic, into the land itself, and into the lives of a memorable array of northern characters. At the core is an exploration of Inuit cultural tradition, the hallmark of Pelly's celebrated writing career, which includes nine previous books as well as hundreds of magazine articles. The ancestors are happy, say Inuit elders, when the stories from the land are told, and retold, and thus preserved.


"You will learn something from David's work ? he writes about the real stuff."
— The Honourable Peter Irniq, First Commissioner of Nunavut

"David Pelly is one guy who has learned to talk to our elders and listen to stories ... Nobody could have done a better job writing down my mother's memories of her childhood than David Pelly."
— Manitok Bruce, former cabinet minister, Government of Nunavut

"Pelly captures the spirit and history of the land and its aboriginal mysticism."
— Canadian Geographic

"He writes with respect and clarity, which allows the reader to learn in a truly honest and insightful way."
— Paul Okalik, First Premier of Nunavut

Author Bio

David F. Pelly is a seasoned Arctic writer, a modern—day explorer of the North's cultural and historical landscape. He has been travelling, living and writing in the Arctic for more than 40 years. David led his first Arctic expedition in 1977, beginning a northern career spanning the decades since. In addition to his writing, he has worked with biologists and archaeologists in the field, developed and written documentary films, served as co—curator of Inuit art exhibitions, and assisted with numerous community—based cultural projects across Nunavut.