Dedicated to the memory of Bill Edmunds.
Before the snowhouse we stood,
you cradling me in your arms,
sharing with me memories of a different time a time of hardship, of loss, and of struggles,
of warmth, laughter and brotherhood.
A bitter bone-chilling wind shrieked furiously around us.
I cried out with Fear, yet you planted your feet, clad warmly in sealskin boots, firmly on the frozen ground.
Unconquerable, you would not yield.
Inuk—”a man, pre-eminent.”
You comforted me with tales of your childhood in Labrador,
telling me about your family, and mine,
stories of our culture, a way of life unknown to me.
Lore and Legend.
I imagined a warm fire crackling in the snowhouse, and a foreign scent wafting through the crisp, clean air.
I heard The People speaking in a clipped, quick tongue…
I blinked my wide and questioning eyes and you smiled gently down upon me,
bestowing a single kiss of brotherhood on my forehead.
Only today, years after your death, do I freely and fully understand my heritage, my people, myself.
“Akka” means uncle in Inuktitut