By Lisa Nault, Army Public Affairs
Ottawa, Ontario —Inuk Elder, Qapik Attagutsiak, was recognized as a Parks Canada Hometown Hero at the Canadian Museum of History. The Elder was commemorated for collecting bones in the Canadian Arctic during the Second World War. The bones were then sent to southern Canada to make ammunition, fertilizer and aircraft glue to support Canada’s war efforts.
Now close to 100 years-old, Qapik addressed the audience of distinguished guests that included her extended family, local school children, and government officials. With the help of one of her daughters to translate, she recounted how it felt living in Igloolik, in the Eastern Arctic, during the time of the war.
“It seemed very terrifying at the time. We had heard rumours about the war that would be happening, but then it became so true when the boats started coming in and they were bringing burlap bags.”
Qapik and many other community members, from what is now a part of Nunavut, scavenged animal carcasses and placed them in these burlap sacks for transport.
It is thought that Qapik is the last living person to have participated in this untold story from Canada’s history.
In attendance at the ceremony, Major-General Derek Macaulay, Deputy Commander, Canadian Army thanked Qapik. He noted that securing allied victory in the Second World War was an enormous undertaking and how important it is to acknowledge those who contributed right here at home in the…