Cooper, Willie

Hunter, elder and author born in Rivière-Marralik (Nunavik) in 1919 and died in Kuujjuaq (Nunavik) in 1986.

Willie Cooper, also known as Kuniliusiapik in his youth, was born in 1919 in Rivière-Marralik (formerly Mucalic River), a village located in Nunavik, between the communities of Kuujjuaq (formerly Fort Chimo) and Kangiqsualujjuaq (formerly George River), in the southern portion of Ungava Bay. He is the son of Mituarjuk, later renamed Harry Cooper.

Willie Cooper’s story forms the text of a trilingual monograph (Inuktitut, French, and English) Memories of a Kuujjuamiut. Souvenirs d'un Kuujjuamiut. Kuutjuamiut aulajijangit, published in 1988 by the Avataq Cultural Institute. A second edition appeared in 1989. This book is based on an interview conducted in the Spring of 1985 with Willie Cooper, who shared his story as an elder from Kuujjuaq (Nunavik). As he realized that elders no longer have opportunities to teach the youth of his community, Willie Cooper wanted to share his knowledge in a more permanent fashion. In his interview, Willie Cooper shares traditional knowledge such as seasonal movements during hunting periods, but also comments on political subjects such as the relationship between Inuit communities, the Hudson’s Bay Company and the police. Author and researcher Jacques Grondin writes in his book review of the title that the publication of this book is a welcome effort "to transmit the knowledge of an elder".

Willie Cooper died in 1986 at the age of 67 in Kuujjuaq (Nunavik).

This biography is based on the available written material during a collective research carried out during 2018-2021. It is possible that mistakes and facts need to be corrected. If you notice an error, or if you wish to correct something in an author's biography, please write to us at and we will be happy to do so. This is how we will be able to have more precise presentations, and to better promote Inuit culture.

(c) International Laboratory for Research on Images of the North, Winter and the Arctic, Université du Québec à Montréal, 2018-2021, Daniel Chartier and al.