Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Life Among the Qallunaat” as Want to Read:
Life Among the Qallunaat
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Life Among the Qallunaat

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  83 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Life Among the Qallunaat is the story of Mini Aodla Freeman’s experiences growing up in the Inuit communities of James Bay and her journey in the 1950s from her home to the strange land and stranger customs of the Qallunaat, those living south of the Arctic. Her extraordinary story, sometimes humorous and sometimes heartbreaking, illustrates an Inuit woman’s movement betwe ...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published March 1st 2015 by University of Manitoba Press (first published January 1st 1978)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Life Among the Qallunaat, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Life Among the Qallunaat

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  83 ratings  ·  14 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Jul 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, inuit
Interesting, especially the inside views of Inuit attitudes to raising children and respecting elders, how one learns, what one says, how and when. I was intrigued by the references to noises made by parents to express their love to their children. What would they sound like?

Also, the descriptions of quallunaat or white culture from the author's perspective are insightful.

I found the overall structure of the book a bit choppy and repetitive (which is why it took a while to finish), but well wort
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this, didn't want it to end. I learned so much about Inuk culture and life in the North. Mini's story of course played a huge part and I appreciated so much the details and nuances of her culture. I never knew! Why do some Westerners think only *they* are the civilized people?
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An honest, simple, and vital memoir of an Inuk woman's experiences during a time of massive transition in Canadian Inuit communities. The editors did a great job at retaining Aodla Freeman's voice. An important yet subtle work that has finally found a readership after its original publication in 1978.
Re-edited and reissued by The University of Manitoba Press’s First Voices, First Texts series, bless their hearts. This is a wonderful, highly readable memoir by Aodla Freeman, an Inuit woman born in 1936 in an island community in James Bay in what is now Nunavut, Canada.

She writes about growing up in the North, experiencing the early paternalistic overtures of southern white Canadians (the qallunaat), learning from her family and community, growing up, going to residential school, getting TB a
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Today I’d like to highlight an Inuit author who has seen a lifetime of change in her own family and in Canada’s Inuit north. If you are not familiar with the Inuit word “qallunaat,” it literally translates as “those who pamper their eyebrows,” but figuratively refers to those who live in the south or in non-Inuit environments.

I have met and come to know many Qallunaat … and learned to be cautious with them. Some are nice and kind, but none want to see or understand my Native culture. Some don’t
Helga Grose
Jul 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Aodla Freeman's telling of what life was like growing up in James Bay, along with her sharing of the culture and traditions that guided her through her formative years, made for a wonderful read.
Mary Arkless
This book was originally published in 1978, but the Canadian government feared what it might say and bought up more than half the copies and hid them in a cellar. It had received glowing reviews, but the lack of books in circulation meant it could not possibly become a best seller. A couple of years later, an official read the book, realized Canada had nothing to fear (no horrible secrets were revealed), and the bunkered copies were allowed into circulation. Canadian literature is the poorer for ...more
Mar 02, 2017 rated it liked it
I had to rewrite this review as I feel I didn't do the book justice.

I feel like "Life Among the Qallunaat" is a must-read book, that it is incredibly important as a piece of Canadian, Inuit and North American cultural history; however, I felt like Mini Aodla Freeman's writing at times made the book a drag. It felt much longer and drab than it was meant to be - my rating is a reflection of that.

I read it from a Qallunaat-living-in-a-modern-Inuit-village point of view. It was interesting to see ho
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book! I loved hearing the realities behind the nomadic lifestyle of the Inuit people, how at that time things were changing, and how people were coping with those changes. Mini told her life story in excellent episodes spanning from childhood until her move to Ottawa to work as a translator.
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to say.. the descriptions of her experiences from when she first arrived in Ottawa are incredible! To experience for the first time, an elevator or other modern conveniences we take for-granted! Even restaurants stymied her. She couldn't comprehend that someone would cook what she picked from the list. The culture shock is breathtaking!

It's been a while since i read this, so i can't give a better review other than i LOVED it! I think this is a must read for ALL CANADIANS and other people
Jun 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is a memoir of an Inuit woman (about 19 years old) who was hired to be a translator in Ottawa. She was put on a train and given instructions and then was on her own. Her simple descriptions of her days trying to figure out traffic lights, elevators, escalators and city buses are a fascinating glimpse into a culture I knew very little about.
Apr 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
It was definitely interesting but too much detail about the Inuit way of life.
rated it liked it
Apr 25, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Jul 04, 2018
rated it liked it
Sep 04, 2015
rated it it was ok
Sep 17, 2017
rated it really liked it
Apr 06, 2018
rated it liked it
Jan 23, 2018
rated it really liked it
Mar 18, 2018
Rachel Taylor
rated it it was amazing
Mar 27, 2018
rated it it was amazing
May 19, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Jan 13, 2019
Jenna Albert
rated it really liked it
Jan 26, 2019
Grayson Thate
rated it it was amazing
Mar 02, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Aug 19, 2015
Erin Jex
rated it really liked it
Jan 05, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Jun 07, 2017
rated it it was amazing
Nov 13, 2017
Mattias Törnquist
rated it really liked it
Jul 05, 2015
Sunçe Selçuk
rated it it was amazing
Jan 04, 2019
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
“She greeted me very happily and asked if the children had been bad. To me, that was a strange question--in my culture, we expect children to be bad and good, and that parents will teach them the difference.” 0 likes
More quotes…