Attending this weekend’s indoor market at Campbell River Common is an Inuit artist with a tragic but inspiring story.
Annie Aculiak was born on May 20, 1958 somewhere near Port Harrison in northern Quebec on the Hudson Bay.
She is considered to be one of the last Inuit person to be born in an igloo on Canadian soil. She was born a twin at the Aculiak camp close to Sanikaluak Island in Hudson Bay. Unfortunately, her twin did not survive.
Aculiak is a survivor of Canada’s notorious resident school system. At the age of four, she was taken from her father’s camp to the children’s boarding home in Port Harrison. She later dealt with serious health issues such as tuberculosis and suffered physical and mental abuse at the hands of church and government employees.
At 4 feet, 5 inches and under 85 pounds, Aculiak was forced by her mother to marry a cousin in 1982. In 1995, after the death of her mother, she left her husband after finding out he was her cousin and she moved to Montreal. In 1998, she was lured to Vancouver with a promise of a better life, only to end up in harm’s way. She was rescued from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside by an outreach worker from B.C. Search.
Nine months later, she married her rescuer and due to her serious health condition, she and her husband relocated to the Sunshine Coast where they reside today.
Her artwork is in collections at Buckingham Palace, Rideau Hall, the Vancouver Maritime Museum, Nunavut General Assembly and with Queen Beatrice of Holland.
She will bring her artwork to the market at Campbell River Common on Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
See Aculiak’s work at www.AnnieAculiak.com