Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America
September 9, 2000 - Issue 18

How Mosquitoes Were Made
Inuit Traditional Knowledge shared by George Lessard
Stencil print by Kalvak, Holman Island

"How Mosquitoes Were Made" is one of the many examples of Inuit traditional knowledge.
It is part of knowledge being drawn on for "Inuuqatigiit" the principals on which the new K-12 curriculum being developed for our Nunavut schools ... which can be found at this URL ...


Long before the earth was covered with water, there lived a fierce giant that everyone was afraid of. The Inuit hoped that someone would come to help them fight the giant.

One day a handsome man arrived, dressed in fine caribou skins. He looked so strong and brave that everyone knew this man would surely help them. The Inuit told him about the giant. At once, the young man took his bow and arrows and went to the distant caves where the giant lived. Inside the cave, he looked for a place to hide until the giant came home. Suddenly, there were heavy foot steps on the rocks outside the cave. Quickly, he hid under some caribou skins on the bed. The giant came into the house. His head touched the ceiling, and the earth shook as he walked.

"I smell a man," shouted the giant. "I will get my club to fight him." While the giant was outside the house looking for his club, the giant's son came into the house. The young man jumped out from under the caribou skin. The giant's son was the same size as any other boy and, seeing the brave and strong man in from of him, he was very much afraid.

The man pointed his bow and arrow at the boy and said, "Tell me how to beat your father. If you don't tell me, I will shoot this arrow."

"Just shoot at his heel." said the frightened boy.

At that moment, the giant came into his house. Before the giant cold raise his club, the man shot him in the heel. The giant fell onto his face, and very slowly became smaller and smaller.

The young man dragged the giant out of the house, then hurried to the village to tell the good news. Everyone in the village wanted to see the giant who was not really a giant anymore. They all ran towards the distant caves.

As they came near the giant's house, they could see smoke. When they got nearer they could see the giant was on fire. His son stood ready to run. "It was the sun. Look!"

They looked at the fire, then at the sun. There, flying from the fire were thousands and thousands of mosquitoes. The giant, as he burned, was being changed into mosquitoes. 

George Lessard, Media Specialist
Department of Education
Government of Nunavut
Early Childhood & School Services



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