Vivi Phoebe Kunuk and her daughter Mary Kunuk are at the origins of the Anana documentary and the
Live from the Tundra project.Mary Kunuk explains:
"For a long time now, I want to make a video program about my mother, Vivi Kunuk. She has been going through very different kind of experiences since she was a child until now that she is in her 6o's.For example, when she was a child, she was raised as a boy. She had to go hunting caribou and seal with her father because she was the oldest child and had no big brother. She would go hunting with her father by dogteam. She had responsibilities like taking care of the dogs, feeding them, untangling their strings and harnesses. She waited for hours at the seal hole for the animal to come up and breath and then she caught it.
She survived through periods of hunger with her parents, sisters and little brothers. She was an adopted child and was different: her natural father was a White man.She is half white and half Inuk and
she was often teased because of her white skin and curly hair.
Traveling with her parents one time she felt from the qamutik , (sled) while she was sleeping. No one
noticed she had fallen and she woke up on the ice, alone in the middle of nowhere. She was about heigth years old only. While singing a hymn she followed the sled track and threw rocks at the caribou she saw, trying to catch one! She was lost for hours before her mother came back to look for her.
When she married my father and started a family with him, they had eleven children all together. She gave birth twice all by herself without any body's help. My father was hunting and my mother was having her baby. She managed on her own while she let her older children baby-sit the younger ones. Out of the eleven, we are now seven. Two of us were adopted from other families and one of our brothers died from a stroke.
Even though my mother was raising her own family, she also raised two or three more families because
they had lost their mothers from illness and sickness. She made clothes for them and for her own. Until they had a step mother, she fed them and raised them as if they were her own children.
My mother now lives most of the time in an outpost camp on Baffin Island with the two grand sons she
adopted. Still managing on her own, still making caribou clothing or seal skins kamiks. There is lot more about my mother, Vivian Phoebe Kunuk. I find her to be a very powerful person who is still strong although she has now arthritis. She never stops.