The Ancestors Are Happy: True Tales of the Arctic, by David F. Pelly

(6 customer reviews)


The Ancestors Are Happy is a masterfully woven tapestry portraying a landscape of stories, which also offers a compilation of personal tales from Inuit informants whose lives collectively span the 20th century, a period of remarkable transition for the North. It draws on the author’s experiences and encounters over forty years of living, travelling, and learning in Nunavut. David Pelly’s lucid text is rooted in oral-history collected from Inuit elders, for which work he was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and in his meticulous research of historical sources. You will be carried on a journey across Canada’s Arctic, into the land itself, and into the lives of a memorable array of northern characters. At the core is an exploration of Inuit cultural tradition, the hallmark of David Pelly’s celebrated writing career, which includes nine previous books and countless magazine articles. The ancestors are happy, say Inuit elders, when the stories from the land are told, and retold, and preserved.

David F. Pelly is a seasoned Arctic writer, a modern-day explorer of the North’s cultural and historical landscape. He has been travelling, living and writing in the Arctic for more than 40 years. David led his first Arctic expedition in 1977, beginning a northern career spanning the decades since. During that time, he published eight previous books and countless articles about the North, the land, its history, and its people. He has worked with biologists and archaeologists in the field, developed and written documentary films, served as co-curator of Inuit art exhibitions, and assisted with numerous community-based cultural projects across Nunavut.  Much of David’s work has been rooted in the collection of oral-history and traditional knowledge from Inuit elders. In 2012 he was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal “for dedication to the preservation of Inuit oral history and traditional knowledge and for his many works to help increase Canadians’ understanding of the North.”

Weight 0.500 kg
Dimensions 5.5 × 0.6 × 8.5 cm

6 reviews for The Ancestors Are Happy: True Tales of the Arctic, by David F. Pelly

  1. IQW

    Pelly’s latest book is an incredible read. The Ancestors Are Happy focuses on the people of the North; a collection of his personal stories of individual Inuit he’s known while living and travelling in the Arctic for over 40 years. The articulate text brings the reader on a journey across the landscape, hosted and guided by the Inuit elders. It’s a journey worth taking. Everyone should read this book.”

    Kevin Callan

  2. IQW

    An important and delightful read, and a vital historical work to preserve a vanishing culture. Both the climate and culture of the Arctic are changing at a dizzyingly fast rate. It is too easy to forget the past, the world as it once was. Which is why David Pelly’s new book, The Ancestors Are Happy, is a must read. Because to survive in this increasingly urban world, we can’t forget the human power of perseverance and joy within our relationship with Nature, in all its embracing wonder and swirling spring blizzards.

    Jon Turk, author, The Raven’s Gift

  3. IQW

    You will learn something from David’s work – he writes about the real stuff.

    The Honourable Peter Irniq, First Commissioner of Nunavut

  4. IQW

    David Pelly is one guy who has learned to talk to our elders and listen to stories … Nobody could have done a better job writing down my mother’s memories of her childhood than David Pelly.

    Manitok Bruce, former cabinet minister, Government of Nunavut

  5. IQW

    Pelly captures the spirit and history of the land and its aboriginal mysticism.

    Canadian Geographic

  6. IQW

    He writes with respect and clarity, which allows the reader to learn in a truly honest and insightful way.

    Paul Okalik, First Premier of Nunavut

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