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i u a pi pu pa ti tu ta ki ku ka gi gu ga mi mu ma ni nu na si su sa li lu la ji ju ja vi vu va ri ru ra qi qu qa ngi ngu nga lhi lhu lha

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Google grabs Inuk artist’s drawing for daily Doodle

Nunatsiaq | June 21, 2023

Categories: news

Google grabs Inuk artist’s drawing for daily Doodle

Search engine’s Canada-wide image honours author Mitiarjuk Attasie Nappaaluk on National Indigenous Peoples Day

Inuk writer Mitiarjuk Attasie Nappaaluk was honoured Wednesday with a Google doodle to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day. (Image courtesy of

By Nunatsiaq News

An iconic Inuk writer and teacher got the Google Doodle treatment Wednesday.

Acclaimed author Mitiarjuk Attasie Nappaaluk received the online honour to mark National Indigenous Peoples Day.

The Doodle — the drawing that shows up every time someone accesses the Google website — was displayed online across Canada.

The image shows Nappaaluk writing in a notebook, with the syllabics for “Google” in Inuktitut.

Google picked Ottawa-based Inuk artist Gayle Uyagaqi Kabloona to create a Doodle recognizing Nappaaluk, who is considered one of the leaders of Inuktitut literature.

“Nappaaluk championed Inuit culture throughout her life,” Google said in a statement about why she was chosen. Her groundbreaking Inuktitut novel Sanaaq became a bestseller around the world. Google called it “one of the first books recorded in the Inuktitut language.”

Nappaaluk began writing ‌Sanaaq in the 1950s but it wasn’t published until 1984, the Globe and Mail reported in 2014 on release of the first English language edition of the novel.

It tells the story of an Inuit family dealing with changes in their community brought on by the arrival of southerners, including missionaries from different churches, in their community in the mid-1800s.

In a 2020 review of the book written for Nunatsiaq News, Inuk scholar Pitseolak Pfeifer felt the book held particular value for Inuit readers.

“To Inuit readers who have little to no experience with Inuktitut or life on the land, this book is a private conduit to discovering blood memories,” he wrote.

Nappaaluk was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2004. She died in 2007 at her home in Kangiqsujuaq. The City of Montreal named a community centre after her novel in 2021.

“Mitiarjuk really put us out there, who we are as Inuit — the language, the traditions,” Maggie Emudluk, a friend of the family and vice-president of economic development at Makivvik Corp., said at the time.

In a news release Wednesday, Kabloona said the Google illustration recognizes Nappaaluk’s place in Inuktitut canon. It features Nappaaluk writing in Inuktitut, with the landscape of her home in Nunavik in the background.

Kabloona said she wanted to “help raise awareness of [Nappaaluk’s] contribution to our history.”

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