I, Nuligak: An Inuvialuit History Of First Contact / Worlds Collide: The Saga Of Herschel Island

A film by Tom Radford, Peter Raymont & Patrick Reed | Canada | English/French/Inuvialiktun | 70′ / 46′

It is easy to overlook Herschel Island – a tiny speck of land just off the Yukon coast – where the Inuvialuit hunters once followed the great journeys of caribou, polar bears, and whales.  The island lays silently on the margins of geography, entrapped in the footnotes of history, a forgotten place frozen in time.

And yet just over a century ago Herschel Island was a frontier boomtown, branded “the Sodom of the Arctic” by some visitors. A place cohabited by whalers, Inuit, missionaries, and police; a place of contact and conflict; a place where worlds collided and lives were changed forever.

It was on Herschel Island that a young Inuvialuit boy, Nuligak (later named Bob Cockney by the missionaries) came of age—fascinated by Herschel, but equally repelled by the excess of so-called civilization. Through Nuligak’s touching yet tragic life-story, which is expressed through his writings and echoed by his grandchildren’s poignant return to the Island—we are offered a unique view into an often troubling past and a potentially hopeful future.

Produced by White Pine Pictures in association with Bravo!, a division of CTV limited Inc., Knowledge Network CorporationTVOntarioSaskatchewan Communications Network and with the participation of the Canada Media Fund and the Rogers Documentary and Cable Network Funds.

”Radford’s film loosely follows the same trajectory as the book… but bringing the story into the here and now–most powerfully by using Nugliak’s descendents as a link to the present.”

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