We were passing between a dolomite cliff and a lake this evening when Jennie shouted. The shout was re-echoed, whereupon she stopped and repeated it. The echo set her laughing and that too was echoed. This gave her more delight than ever, and she shrieked and shouted and called out in every fashion that she could conceive of. I said to her “What is it?” “A tornraq” (spirit), she replied. “But where?” I asked. “Inside the cliff.” “Is it dangerous?” “No,” she answered, “didn’t you hear it laugh?” (…)
Arctic Odyssey – The Diary of Diamond Jenness 1913-1918, edited by Stuart E. Jenness, Canadian Museum of Civilization, 1991.
Jennie Kanneyuk was the adopted daughter of Higilaq and Ukpukkuaq. She became Diamond Jenness’ little sister when her parents “adopted” Diamond and took him with them on their winter travels on Victoria Island.
Years after the Expedition, when Jennie was suffering from spinal tuberculosis, she hoped her far-away brother would be able to come and see her before she died. That was not possible, but the connections remained and Diamond’s son Stuart, who wrote the book on the CAE, was able to visit Coppermine (Kugluktuk) and spent time with Jennie’s only son, Aime Ahegona.
When I visited Kugluktuk in 2002, I too was guided around the community by Aime. He introduced me to all of the descendents of the people who worked for the Expedition, and translated as I inquired about the memories of those early days in the Arctic. He too has now passed on, but it was a wonderful experience to have met him and heard his stories of the people and places of the Canadian Arctic Expedition.