CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 30. . . .April 6, 2018
According to Sammurtok’s “AFTERWORD”, “This is a story I first heard from my father...who first heard it from his father when he was a child in the early part of the 20th century....It is a story that has been passed down from generation to generation and is thought to be based on true experiences, with evidence of the incident featured in the story....This is a story that focuses on accepting others despite their differences.”
Siuluk, a very tall, strong man, had been often told that he was the last tuniq man alive. Though a friendly person, he had chosen to live alone near an Inuit village. Because of his “friendly giant” gentle nature, Siuluk had often been teased by unkind villagers. On this particular occasion, a group of men taunted him and questioned his strength. In response, Siuluk pointed out a large sheet of rock that weighed about a ton and challenged each of the men to lift it up. When none could even budge the rock, Siuluk not only raised the sheet, but he also set it upright. Seeing the evidence of Siuluk’s strength, the now humbled and embarrassed men never bothered Siuluk again. And the upright rock became the anchor for the story of Siuluk, a story that has been passed down through the generations.
The book’s final page has a colour photo of the author’s father standing next to what is reputed to be the actual rock that Siuluk lifted. Though this touch of fact supporting a legend is a nice addition, some young readers may be disappointed to see that the “real” rock is significantly smaller than that artistically rendered by artist Nix.
Siuluk: The Last Tuniq is a simply told, well-illustrated tale that will definitely speak to children in terms of its intended focus - accepting others despite their differences.
Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.