”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.”
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 Corporation, TVOntario, Saskatchewan Communications Network and with the participation of the Canada Media Fund and the Rogers Documentary and Cable Network Funds.