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Dreaming an Identity Between Two Cultures: The Works of Alootook Ipellie

Kimberley L. McMahon-Coleman, University of Wollongong

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This article was originally published as McMahon-Coleman, KL, Dreaming an Identity between Two Cultures: The Works of Alootook Ipellie, Kunapipi: Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 28 (1), 2006, 108-125.

Abstract

Alootook Ipellie argues that the harsh reality of life in the Arctic was the deciding factor in the development of Inuit literature. In his seminal work, "Arctic Dreams and Nightmares," his pen-and-ink drawings and short stories focus on the figure of the shaman as an entity powerful enough to mediate complex and conflicting worlds.

This paper examines how the circumstances of Arctic colonisation and the author's early life have influenced his stories. Through close critical analysis, it is suggested that Ipellie's shaman draws on the twin crises of extreme initation and colonisation in order to harness his magical powers. In so doing, Ipellie effectively writes himself as a latter day shaman, using the power of his words and drawings to invoke cultural pride, and resistance to both cultural dispossession and artistic regulation.

Suggested Citation

Kimberley L. McMahon-Coleman. "Dreaming an Identity Between Two Cultures: The Works of Alootook Ipellie" Kunapipi: Journal of Postcolonial Writing 28.1 (2006): 108-125.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kimberley_mcmahon-coleman/3