What Pegman Saw: Qausuittuq

Resolute, NU, Canada | © Google Maps

The boy shivered against him. He wrapped one sealskin clad arm around him and pulled him closer.

In the orbit of candlelight opposite, Aput glared, her eyes as dark as the perpetual night.

There was no point in arguing with her again. A hungry wife was an angry wife. However, it wasn’t as if they’d had a choice. And the government man had promised good hunting, in a land free of white ways. He said they could return to tribal life.

But here in Resolute, game was sparse. And who could hunt in this endless night? He peered up at the stars, winking through the vent of the igloo.

“We should leave,” she said.

He forced a smile. “It will get better. Tomorrow will be better.”

She snorted, her eyes narrowing. “How will we know when it’s tomorrow? In a place with no dawn, tomorrow never comes.”

148 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, or to submit your own, click here.

Qausuittuq is the Inuit word for “place with no dawn”. You can read more about the High Arctic Relocation on which this story is based on Wikipedia.

34 Comments

  1. Fascinating stuff, I’ve learnt so much since I started blogging this January.
    What a lot of clever people there are out there bringing really important history to life. I’d never heard of the forced relocations of the Inuit.
    Thank you and brilliantly written as ever!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How very kind of you! I, too, have learned so much by doing this prompt. I hope you consider joining us this week. And FYI, research is not a prerequisite. You’re free to write a piece inspired by what the location makes you think of. Sci fi, fantasy, and wild imaginings are welcome!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I did one in the Faroe islands maybe about a month or so problem is school holidays prevent me for getting anything done!
        http://theministryofshrawleywalks.com/2018/07/07/faroes-really-what-pegman-saw/

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent piece. It’s at once political and deeply human. You capture the sense of inner and outer desolation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re very kind. I was certainly moved by the plight of those first nations people.

      Like

  3. You bring that slice of history to life, Karen. I like the way you close with “In a place with no dawn, tomorrow never comes.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think we zeroed in on the same point in history (and no, I don’t read the other stories before I write my own), but of course, it’s compelling. Quick question: did they actually live in igloos, because I couldn’t find a specific reference?

    Like

    1. Yes it definitely appears we were inspired by that same bit of history, even down imagining a family with a son huddling to stay warm

      I don’t know for sure about the igloos either! I only knew I didn’t find anything to say they DIDN’T live in igloos.

      Like

      1. A friend of mine, from Pangnirtung has a son who goes fishing and hunting… and igloo building is for fun, not living in… not anymore anyway!

        Like

  5. Great job taking what could be a dry history lesson and bringing it to life with a glimpse at the kind of real people it affected. And I love that last line!

    Like

    1. Thanks Joy! Glad you liked it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautifully done, Karen, not just the indigenous people down south got displaced. You would think, with such unforgiving land, they would have been left alone.

    Like

    1. You would think they would. Thanks for reading Dale!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Dear Karen,

    Once more the Great White Race strikes with broken promises. My heart breaks. Wonderfully written.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

    1. Thanks Rochelle. I thought I commenting but just happened to notice it was gone. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh! An eye-opening slice of history. Wouldn’t it be nice if we left other people alone? Pipe dream, I know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sigh, I know, right? We don’t seem to learn a thing.

      Like

  9. I really liked your story Karen, such a strong sense of the moment, and of history. Thank you for taking me there, in all’s its bleakness. I chose the same phrase – place with no dawn – as my title. I write my story before reading anyone else’s, of course !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wow – what are the chances that two writers from this fiction group would have the same title. Dare i say “Great minds think a like”?
      and both pieces were so good and still diverse – muy bueno

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It never ceases to amaze me when that happens–people coming up with the same character names, choosing the same titles, or focusing on the same slice of history. Kind of cool!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. spooky cool….
        ha

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Oh how cool, I see that ‘place with no dawn’ captured your imagination too. I’m off to read yours. Thanks for reading mine!

      Like

    3. Thanks so much for reading Francine. I thought I replied earlier, but seems like some of my comments are missing. Or maybe I only dreamed I replied!

      Like

  10. Thanks for highlighting this period in Canadian history, Karen, and for the link giving more background. It seems the relocations were a cynical act to strengthen claims to sovereignty over those far, Northern areas. It seems at best ill informed, transplanting people to an area whose fauna and landscape are unfamiliar to them. You’ve captured that desperation so well, that claustrophobia and driving need too. And conveyed a little of the marriage at the same time. I hope your family was one of the ones who survived those first months. Well written

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lynn!

      I love the way you characterized their plight. That says it all.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Karen 🙂

        Like

  11. the play on the “tomorrow never comes was interesting”
    but you also really grabbed a slice of humanity that has hope in drab times and I could see the man peeking through the igloo –
    could feel it – and felt his bit of optimism (even if forced and still bleak)
    and then nice take on the history here – I have enjoyed the other posts that gave us some of the history of the forced relocations….

    Like

    1. It’s a sad history, isn’t it. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Karen just a heads up that i resubmitted the “other red barn” piece because my first one got eaten by the internet and is now a 404 page (#7 on the list.). My new one is #16, for what its worth! Plz feel free to delete #7 if you can. I cant figure out how! All the comments are gone too, boo hoo! My Site is working now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no! That’s a bummer. I hope the internet burps it back out, along with the comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. peterkirsch

    This is so heartbreaking.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s