Photo Essay Portraits of Women in Nunavut A special companion to Lisa Gregoire’s “Madam Premier”By André FrançoisSeptember 12, 2012 From the January/February 2011 magazine Comments Print/PDF Four-year-old Jenina savours a seal bone at lunchtime in Iqaluit, Nunavut’s largest city. Monica Nuqingaq, Jenina’s foster mother, takes a smoke break before preparing bannock. It’s a rare moment to herself: in addition to taking in children like Jenina, she’s raising six of her own. Kate Darling moved her three kids and her husband over 800 kilometres from Igloolik to Iqaluit, so she could attend nursing courses at Nunavut Arctic College. Julie Alivaktuk, outside her grandmother’s house in Pangnirtung, a community of 1,500 just below the Arctic Circle. She leaves for college in Ottawa next fall. Alivaktuk enjoys a cup of homemade arctic tea with her uncle Joavi, a hunting guide. The family has lost several members to suicide, which is ten times more prevalent here than elsewhere in Canada. Salia Nakashak sews up holes in a sealskin before stretching it over a wooden frame to dry, which takes about a day. Nakashak and her daughter Alookie (shown) will tailor this skin for outerwear or sell it to a local trapping association. Pond Inlet resident Arlene Komangalik shows off a photo of her youngest son. Like many Nunavummiut, they were both born far from home, at Qikiqtani General Hospital in Iqaluit. Leah Inutiq, who works for the territorial government, visits with her son Qilaluqaq, recently returned from university in Ottawa. Inutiq’s collection of ulu knives hangs next to her stainless steel refrigerator—a juxtaposition of traditional and modern that’s typical in the territory. André François has published three books of photography. He is working on a photo documentary about world health.