Walking on the Land

by Farley Mowat

Hardcover, 2000




Toronto, Ont. : Key Porter Books, c2000.


Marking the 50th anniversary of "The People of the Deer", this book brings to life the plight of the Arctic's Ihalmuit, or Barrenground Inuit, a people almost wiped out by famine and epidemics. Photos & maps.

User reviews

LibraryThing member redcedar
another canadian whose work is rooted in the intricacies of land and culture, Mowat’s work Walking on the Land is a painful portait of the north in the 1940s and 50s when white euro-canadians were finally getting around to destroying the lives of the indigenous people there. this book is the story of the Ilhalmiut people who were moved around by the canadian government producing the “unwitting genocide€? that saw people starved and driven to desparate measures in order to survive. mowat’s writing is informed by his desire “to help ensure that man’s inhumane acts are not expunged from memory, thereby easing the way for repetitions of such horrors, â€? - and there is no question this gripping work is a reminder of a past both recent and shameful. very few books make me cry outloud, but this one did.… (more)
LibraryThing member sageness
Gah. Heartwrenching and at times stomach-turning true story of a tiny Inuit community in the 1950s. Published in 2001, Mowat did NOT write this story when he published People of the Deer in the late 50s because this was deemed too horrific.

The GLBT-interest tag is used because the male rural settlement nurse was raping the men and boys of the village -- and they couldn't lock him up because he was the only person qualified to administer care to the ill.

Mowat was about 80 when he wrote this book and he mellowed considerably. There's anger in the book, but mostly helpless grief for the needless deaths of all those people he knew.

What I'm most left with is the impression of 1950s Canada as a place with a fundamental absence of sane leadership. Crazy missionaries. Autocratic RCMP post-heads. Inuit who, against all logic, stayed where they were instead of packing up and moving someplace with food. If there's a rational explanation for any of this, Mowat doesn't give it. And I don't get it. I would sled or canoe or walk until I found a community to take me in; this whole lying down to die thing is almost as bad as the white leadership's criminal neglect of their obligations.

My American frontierism is showing, I know, but honestly. *headdesk*
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