Home > North meets South > Inuit Recollections on the Military Presence in Iqaluit > THE OUTBREAK OF WORLD WAR II

Whaler Active 1908


Jimmy Nooshoota

"We had already heard on the radio that there was a war going on before the Americans came to Kimmirut, on the kind of radios that did not require batteries. Airplanes would also drop mail at Kimmirut that was going to the qallunaat, like the traders and the police".
In Chapter One, the Elders talk about the war, about the fear of the Iqalummiut and about the arrival of the first planes and the Americans. The Inuit knew that a war was raging; Napatchie Noah tells us there was no radio in those days, but they could listen to the news at the Hudson’s Bay trading post at Ward Inlet, where there was a wind-powered radio; this is confirmed by Simonie Michael.

According to Jimmy Nooshoota, no one seemed to be afraid, despite the war. Shorty Shoo says that he was not frightened, but his wife Annie was. She says that she was afraid of the planes. Akaka Sataa tells the story of the first time he saw a plane. He does not recall having been afraid; the qallunaat had helped him before.

Inuapik Saagiaqtuq does not recall having heard talk of the war before the Americans arrived. But she very clearly remembers the first time she saw the planes. She recounts an anecdote: her brother, who was part of the group of hunters, ran away towards the lake when he heard the noise of the planes, but ironically, the plane landed on the water.

Anugaaq Arnaqquq talks about the arrival of the Americans and says that they were accompanied by two Inuit, who were acting as guides. The Americans were looking for places to build houses near Kimmirut, but since there was no suitable land, they temporarily set up at Iqaluit around 1941.

Martha Kilabuk tells us that Sheutiapik, the adoptive father of Jimmy Nooshoota, helped the Americans find a suitable place to build houses. Jimmy Nooshoota is happy to be able to speak for the first time about his father’s role in convincing people to move to Iqaluit. He has often asked organizations to press for the recognition of his father as one of the city’s founders.