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