The show ‘Hunting with my Ancestors’ is a television series featuring Zacharias Kunuk as host, hunter, and filmmaker.
Known for his previous work in Inuit television and film, such as Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, Kunuk is now trying to capture never before seen hunting trips in the Arctic.
‘Hunting with my ancestors’ was first created about 10 years ago.
“I made so many movies, I barely remember,” Kunuk said while trying to recall the timeline of one of his numerous projects.
The show, available online at Isuma.tv, presents a variety of hunts, offering traditional knowledge on how every harvest is made possible.
“So far we’ve hunted a bear, bowhead whale, caribou, seal, walrus and Arctic fishes on the show,” the filmmaker said. “The bowhead whale hunt was the hardest one to film, just being on the boats and trying to coordinate all the hunting and filming gear all at once was a challenge.”
The show presents Inuit hunters in one of the most inhospitable environments on Earth, often sharing hunting practices never broadcast before.
Kunuk brings viewers along on an Arctic journey with Inuit Elders and youth as they follow ancient hunting practices established thousands of years ago, adapted resourcefully and effectively to the world today.
“We bring the youth along the hunts to pass the traditional techniques down to the next generation,” said Kunuk. “In episode three, Neil Annaqalak Qauna was only 14 years old when he successfully harvested his first polar bear during our dog-team bear hunt. The Elders were very proud of him and he learned a lot that day.”
Amid the backdrop of rapidly changing conditions in the Arctic — global warming, mining and development, increasing government restrictions and the impacts of global media on Inuit language and culture — Kunuk explores the enduring practice of hunting as being at the core of Inuit identity.